Well, this was bound to happen.
The new report states that the actor — who famously got a little too into character on the set of Suicide Squad, even gifting Margot Robbie a rat — will reprise the villain in the Suicide Squad sequel and the Harley Quinn spin-off. However, when it comes to the solo Joker movie — which, obviously, would include way more screentime than what he received in his first venture as the Clown Prince of Crime — Leto is out, and someone new is in.
Deadline states that the new Joker won't be connected to any other iteration of the DC villain, and that the origin story will be brand-new as well.
We saw a version of the Joker's beginnings in the 2016 animated film The Killing Joke, which was based on the comic of the same name. In that version of the Joker's story, Batman's enemy reveals he was a failed comedian whose life became "one big joke" when his pregnant wife died the same day he was arrested for a crime to provide for his family.
Here, however, the Joker will reportedly be younger and a resident of Gotham City, circa the 1980s. The film, which is set to be written by Todd Phillips and Scott Silver, is meant to evoke Martin Scorsese movies like Taxi Driver (Scorsese is also onboard to produce the movie). Instead of a superhero flick, it's a crime movie, which sounds reminiscent of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, the movie that brought the Joker back into the public's fascination.
According to Deadline, there will be more where the Joker movie comes from. It will be the "first film under a new banner," set to expand the DC Universe and tell "unique stories" with characters we know and love. It's also possible, therefore, that other actors — like, say, Ben Affleck, who plays Batman, or Henry Cavill, who is Superman — may be replaced over time as well.
It's totally expected for the DC Universe to capitalize on a character as mysterious and popular as the Joker, but it sounds like the film's execution will be anything but. Unfortunately, Leto will have to enjoy the Joker's new movie the way we all will: from the comfort of a movie theater.