While it’s known that Jared Leto will be back in the makeup of Gotham’s Clown Prince of Crime for at least one more shot in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, a new rumor suggests that he may continue in the role for a possible DCEU adaptation of one of the DC universe’s most iconic stories.
After months of chatter that Leto might reprise his role as The Joker in future HBO Max projects, with many speculating that his return would come with Ben Affleck as Batman in tow, Geekosity’s Mikey Sutton is reporting that “HBO Max has discussed an adaptation of the classic graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke with Jared Leto as the Joker.”
“Regarding which actor is playing Batman,” adds Sutton, “that is a question mark. HBO Max prefers Ben Affleck in the role; however, it’s uncertain if Affleck would be interested.”
However, Sutton stresses that fans should “keep in mind that this adaptation hasn’t been greenlit yet,” and that “these are simply early talks,” further noting that as such, “Jared Leto hasn’t been approached” for the project
Sutton’s sources tell the Geekosity Editor-in-Chief that HBO is interested in the adaptation not only for its potential to capitalize on Todd Phillip’s Joker film, but also for how it “gives HBO Max a high-profile Joker project for the streaming network” that “can also stand alone.”
Although HBO Max is open to setting it in the continuity of Snyder’s DCEU, there is a loophole in the original story that would enable them to ignore it completely,” Sutton writes. “In the graphic novel, the Joker is an unreliable narrator. Nobody knows his true origin. The accuracy of his tales is doubtful. Such a framing device could explain any inconsistencies in casting and plot.”
“But who could the Joker be telling his story to? Well, every joke needs a Punchline,” concludes Sutton, speculating that the Killing Joke could be framed as Joker retelling the story to Punchline, the villain’s newly-introduced ‘sidekick’ whom HBO Max is rumored to be interested in developing for television.
The Killing Joke came out in 1988 as a one-shot graphic novel written by Alan Moore and drawn by Brian Bolland. Moore, preferring the frivolous camp of Adam West, later disowned the work as too violent.
“I’ve never really liked my story in The Killing Joke,” he said in an interview with Mania.com. “I think it put far too much melodramatic weight upon a character that was never designed to carry it. It was too nasty, it was too physically violent.”
Irrespective of Moore’s appraisal, The Killing Joke remains highly regarded amongst comic book fans and has gone on to inspire numerous contributors to Batman’s extensive lore, including directors Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan.
Like other iconic Batman graphic novels, The Killing Joke was also adapted into a DC animated feature. However, the 2016 was met with intense backlash from fans, particularly due to its portrayal of a romantic relationship between Batman and Batgirl.
Hopefully, HBO Max won’t make the same mistake in live-action.
What do you make of a potential Killing Joke adaptation starring either Leto, Affleck, or both? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!