Initially one of Warner Bros.’ most surprising announcements, Suicide Squad has become one of 2016’s most anticipated films – as well as one of the most talked about entries in DC’s upcoming film slate. At first the idea of a villain team-up seemed to be a strange fit for the studio – given that they are still establishing the DCMU (DC Movie Universe) through superhero face-offs/team-ups. However, as more details have been released, it’s clear that Suicide Squad isn’t just an antihero heist film, but an essential building block in the larger Justice League storyline – one that should introduce a number of key players as well as set the stage for future appearances by iconic baddies.

Still, the most surprising aspect of the production is actually one of the film’s side players: the all new Joker (played by Academy Award winner Jared Leto). For months fans (and skeptics) have speculated on exactly what the actor will look like in character and, recently, Leto began his transformation into the Clown Prince of Crime (by cutting his hair and, reportedly, putting on muscle). Now, thanks to director David Ayer (Fury), we’re getting our first glimpse at what Leto will look like in the iconic role.

Following other behind-the-scenes shots from the Suicide Squad production, Ayer has now unveiled our best glimpse at the Joker so far – with a playful recreation of the classic Batman/Joker story “The Killing Joke”.

Check out the photo below:

Unlike official reveals of Batman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman (who are either confirmed or rumored to appear in Batman V Superman), the latest Joker photo still leaves a bit to the imagination – while at the same time hinting at what viewers should be able to expect from Leto’s Joker.

Without question, Heath Ledger left his mark on the villain in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight (after Mark Hamill, Jack Nicholson, and Cesar Romero delivered their own memorable turns) and judging by the new photo as well as design rumors, it’s evident Ayer (with the help of DC and WB’s shared universe plan) is going in a different direction.

Jared Leto Joker Killing Joke Picture Suicide Squad: Jared Leto Recreates Killing Joke Joker Photo

Whereas Ledger’s Joker was a messy anarchist with greasy hair and smeared makeup, Leto’s iteration is much more clean-cut – the kind of unpredictable and scrappy sociopath that viewers could easily imagine locked away in prison. Of course, the photo isn’t a full reveal of the character and it’ll be interesting to see how the costume and makeup team depict the villain’s oversized smile, bleached skin, and rumored scarring. Nevertheless, comparisons to Frank Miller’s iteration of the Joker (from “The Dark Knight Returns”) appear to be in step with Ayer’s vision.

As for how the character will play into the plot of Suicide Squad, various rumors and speculation have (so far) conflicted – but it’s safe to assume that the character will enjoy some solid screen time (read: more than a simple cameo).

Joker Jared Leto Suicide Squad Dark Knight Returns Suicide Squad: Jared Leto Recreates Killing Joke Joker Photo

After all, Ayer has been hyping Leto’s “transformation” quite a lot – indicating that even if the villain doesn’t have a major part to play in the Suicide Squad heist, he may still be a major crux in the larger story.

Next: Full Suicide Squad Cast Photo Revealed

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will be in theaters on March 25th, 2016; Suicide Squad on August 5th, 2016; Wonder Woman – June 23rd, 2017; Justice League – November 17th, 2017; The Flash – March 23rd, 2018; Aquaman – July 27th, 2018; Shazam – April 5th, 2019; Justice League 2 – June 14th, 2019; Cyborg – April 3rd, 2020; Green Lantern – June 19th, 2020.

Source: David Ayer

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