Recently, Johnny Depp has become a real-life villain. After it was proved in court that calling Depp a “wife-beater” isn’t libelous, the actor was fired from the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise, and his future with the Pirates of the Caribbean series is seriously in question. Amber Heard’s testimony about Depp’s violence, alcoholism, and drug use makes the actor a toxic choice for any role. Yet despite all this Depp would still like to play the Joker in a theoretical sequel to The Batman.
We Got This Covered is reporting that entertainment gossip writer Daniel Richtman says, “Depp really wants Joker role. While talks with WB have stopped, he may resume if he wins trial and thinks it could get him an Oscar.” Johnny Depp seems to believe that since Heath Ledger won for The Dark Knight and Joaquin Phoenix won earlier this year for Joker, the key to winning an Academy Award is to play the Joker.
The first thing that should be noted is that this rumor seems to assume that Joker is going to be a part of a The Batman sequel. While we know that Catwoman, The Penguin, and the Riddler are all part of Matt Reeves’ The Batman, which is scheduled for release on March 4, 2022, there are no announced plans for the theoretical sequel. Even though The Batman was planned as the first part of a sequel, who knows if Joker will be in the next film, let alone one played by Johnny Depp.
Another issue might be that DC already has an abundance of Jokers. Even beyond previous Jokers like Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger, the last few years have seen Jared Leto as the Joker, which will be once again reprised in Zack Snyder’s upcoming cut of Justice League, and last year saw Joaquin Phoenix becoming the character in Joker. Leto apparently is still interested in playing the character, while Todd Phillips has said that he has at least discussed a Joker sequel with Warner Bros. Even though Joker takes place in a different universe than The Batman, a Johnny Depp Joker seems like one Joker too many.
But arguably the most important reason why Johnny Depp being cast as the Joker would be a stretch is that Warner Bros. just fired him, paying him $10 million for shooting one scene. Granted, it will be years before Matt Reeves and Warner Bros. even begin to cast The Batman sequel, if things keep going the way they are now for Depp, it seems extremely unlikely that Warner Bros. would want to take another chance on Depp.
Yet all of this talk about The Batman sequels is very premature. The Batman doesn’t come out until March 2022, while Matt Reeves is also working on a prequel series at HBO Max that seems like it would likely be his focus once The Batman has concluded. At the earliest, it will be several years before the sequel to The Batman is even in the works, much less casting. A lot could change for Johnny Depp, but Warner Bros. has seen what casting such a toxic personality can cost them. The idea of Depp coming back to the studio in such a large capacity seems almost impossible at this point.