The Snyder Cut: What Was Up With The Joker In Zack Snyder’s Justice League?
The Joker may not actually say the now-infamous “we live in a society” line in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, but he does say a lot–all told the Clown Prince of Crime has a scene that lasts several minutes in the “nightmare” sequence, a continuation of a similar vision Batman experienced in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.
In this scene, Batman, Mera, Deathstroke, Cyborg, and The Flash are doing their best to survive the post-apocalyptic wasteland of Darkseid’s siege on Earth. Everything is destroyed or overrun by Parademons and they have to keep moving, as Cyborg explains, because they can be caught if they stand around in the open for too long. Unfortunately, this is when Joker decides to intervene and make sure they do exactly that–though the dream-logic of the nightmare sequence makes it hard to tell exactly how “real” Joker actually is in that moment.
He’s sitting on an abandoned Mad Max-flavored car in a SWAT vest when he begins taunting Bruce for his past failures, specifically his inability to save “an adopted son.” Of course, anyone familiar with DC Comics lore will know that the son he’s referring to here is Jason Todd, the second Robin, who was brutally beaten with a crowbar by The Joker and then murdered in an explosion during a story called A Death in the Family.
While Batman has never had an on-screen Robin in any of the Snyder directed films, this isn’t the first time Robin has been referenced. In Batman V Superman, a brief shot of a vandalized Robin costume was visible, implying that there had indeed been a Boy Wonder at some point or another. In the dream sequence, Joker makes the existence of a Robin canonical.
Batman has had multiple sidekicks over the years, however, and while the story the Joker tells is clearly a nod to Jason, it’s never made explicitly clear which Robin is actually being discussed–either way, it would seem that they’re long dead in this universe, and the guilt Bruce is experiencing has yet to subside. It’s so intense that Bruce even vows to murder the Joker for it while brandishing a gun–though Joker seems very confident that Batman’s bark is much worse than his bite. He offers Batman a truce in the form of a joker card, and says that as long as Batman has that on him, their feud will be on hiatus.
Notably, he also addresses him as “Bruce,” but it’s entirely possible that’s another element of the dream-logic. The vision Bruce is having may be prophetic, but it’s still a nightmare. Though it’s equally possible that this version of the DCEU just has a publicly known Batman–the Snyder Cut also includes a scene with Lex Luthor telling Slade Wilson who Bruce Wayne actually is, and that moment is certainly not a dream.
Either way, it’s not likely that we’ll see a pay off for this particular stinger any time soon. Ben Affleck has officially passed the Batman reigns on to Robert Pattinson for the upcoming film, The Batman, and there are currently no announced plans for Snyder to direct a Justice League sequel. Meanwhile, Jared Leto is not currently signed on to reprise his role as Joker in the upcoming movie, The Suicide Squad.
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