Ben Affleck and Jared Leto never really got to square off as Batman and the Joker in the DC Extended Universe. Outside of one altercation during a flashback in Suicide Squad, the two archenemies have not gotten the chance to share some quality screen time together. We do know that they will meet face-to-face in Zack Snyder’s upcoming Justice League: Director’s Cut, but will that be the only time these two get to match wits and fists? Well, if a new rumor is on the money, it sounds like there could be a pretty significant future for these iterations of the classic comic book foes.
Mikey Sutton of Geekosity is reporting that HBO is developing an adaptation of Batman: The Killing Joke that would star Ben Affleck and Jared Leto. The comic by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland is widely considered to be the most popular and influential Joker story in all of comic book history. There was actually an animated adaptation released back in 2016, but that did not exactly receive the warmest reception. If the studio decides to draw upon that story for inspiration, fans will definitely be paying close attention to what elements the adaptation would take.
As of now, it looks like Ben Affleck and Jared Leto would be starring in a movie version of The Killing Joke for the streaming service HBO Max. However, Sutton does not clarify what form this project would take. Would it actually be an extended miniseries? We have heard before that HBO Max was planning a Batman/Joker series. Could this adaptation/reimagining of The Killing Joke be tied to that purported project? Or is this a brand new project entirely?
More importantly, would HBO Max’s version of The Killing Joke have Ben Affleck and Jared Leto starring in more of an inspired riff than a straight adaptation? In the DC Extended Universe timeline, we know that the Joker murdered Robin and that storyline has not been explored in the subsequent movies. In the comic, Robin does not even appear and the story is more centered around Barbara Gordon a.k.a. Batgirl, and how the Joker brutalizes and traumatizes her. Could this story point be transferred over so that it actually fits in with a story about the DC Extended Universe’s Robin?
Adding fuel to this fire is the fact that Small Screen is reporting that Zack Snyder is developing a solo Joker movie with Jared Leto. Are these two projects the same or totally different? There is no mention of Ben Affleck in Small Screen’s report, so we just don’t know what the interconnectivity of these two stories might be. We can definitely say that if Zack Snyder was announced as the director of The Killing Joke, a significant section of DC fans would collectively go bananas with excitement.
It definitely sounds like Warner Bros. wants to have Ben Affleck and Jared Leto be a part of their future for the DC film universe. Exactly what form that might take seems like it could be up in the air, but no matter what shakes out to be true, it certainly seems like we could be seeing the two actors return to these iconic roles for a major project in the not-too-distant future.