Well, as the saying goes, everyone has their fifteen minutes of fame, sooner or later. And it turns out the same is true of movie theories spun by fans eager to unravel a mystery or secret that a writer or director has crafted – in the world of comic book blockbusters, it’s even harder to resist. Alas, one massive fan theory has now gone the way of the ‘Ben Affleck’s Batman is actually Deathstroke’ suspicion, and it’s a rumor surrounding the true identity of Jared Leto’s Joker set to debut in Suicide Squad.
Neither director David Ayer nor anyone at DC Films has actually relied upon any real ‘secrecy’ surrounding the Joker’s character in particular – what secrets are there when it comes to one of fiction’s greatest villains? – but Ayer has finally decided to deflate one secret that fans had conjured up in that absence (while also dismissing those reshoot rumors). Not only is Suicide Squad‘s Joker NOT former Robin Jason Todd, but the theory is one that Ayer appears to have laughed off, more than anything else.
For those who haven’t heard the theory, it all started when fans latched onto one of the more shocking aspects of Leto’s Joker design: the tattoos. In particular, the tattoo of a dead bird on one bicep. Considering the armor burned and defaced in the Batcave in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, and the fact that Joker really did kill a version of Robin in the comics, most fans took the story at face value. Joker killed that Robin – Jason Todd – tattooed the dead robin as a way of marking his victory (and torturing Batman further)… and probably lost most of his teeth when they ran into Bruce’s enraged knuckles.
Warner Bros. backed up that theory by confirming themselves that the costume seen in Batman’s lair did belong to Jason Todd. Even so, the “story being told” by Joker’s tattoos was still believed to be far more complicated than David Ayer or Zack Snyder were letting on. What if Jason Todd wasn’t literally killed… but became the twisted villain known as The Joker?
Points for creativity, but the final hammer has fallen in favor of those who felt the theory to be relying on a bit too much imagination, and not enough evidence (as compelling as apparent scars may be). And if there was any doubt, David Ayer laid it all to rest during an interview with Miami’s WSVN-TV during San Diego Comic-Con 2016. When asked about the secrecy and rumors surrounding the production, Ayer was asked for “the most ridiculous rumor” that he had seen online while filming. No surprise at his response:
“That The Joker is Jason Todd… it ain’t the case. He’s not.”
We would hope that that simple statement would put an end to the theories, and it’s worth noting that Ayer delivered his response with a grin on his face – clearly enjoying the lengths some fans had gone to in dissecting his project (as opposed to frustration or dismissal). That isn’t to say that it wasn’t entertaining to consider the possibility: a version of Batman’s sidekick driven to levels of madness that would rival the craziest Joker a fan had seen isn’t just intriguing, but in keeping with some versions of the comics.
But in a film that adheres so closely to the roots and source material of most of its cast of DC Comics characters, it always seemed a little hard to believe that Ayer would go so boldly in such a strange direction (and what it could mean for any “Under the Red Hood” storylines in a solo Batman series). Now, we know why: “it ain’t the case.”
Are you happy to let this theory die, and focus instead on the actual insanity of Jared Leto’s Joker and his long history with Ben Affleck’s Batman? Or do you refuse to give up hope that a betrayal and descent into madness is still the truth of the relationship? Sound off in the comments.
Suicide Squad is scheduled to arrive in theaters on August 5, 2016; Wonder Woman is slated for release on June 2, 2017; followed by Justice League on November 17, 2017; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020. The Flash is without release date.