[WARNING: This article contains potential spoilers for Suicide Squad]
Ever comic book superhero has one villain that stands out above the rest, with whom they must be locked in battle for what seems like all time – meaning comic fans were more than a little surprised to hear that classic Batman villain The Joker (Jared Leto) would be introduced in Suicide Squad, as opposed to a film actually featuring the Dark Knight. But the surprises didn’t stop there.
The film that once seemed like a pipe dream is now officially in production, with Jared Leto’s new Joker fully unveiled by director David Ayer. But rolling cameras means even more chances for rumors and details to leak out, as the latest news supports earlier word that Suicide Squad would feature a cameo from Ben Affleck’s new Batman.
WARNING POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOLLOW
Rumors appeared months ago that when Suicide Squad hit theaters just months after Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, it would do so with a cameo from Ben Affleck – not video, lifted footage or images, but Affleck in the flesh. The cameo was most likely set in the film’s final act, when The Joker would be just one incarcerated villain escaping the prison during its climactic battle.
This would, understandably, bring Batman into the picture to track down the Clown Prince of Crime – whom he had presumably helped put away – explicitly setting the stage for a solo Batman movie in which the older Batman seeks out his arch-nemesis – again following Frank Miller’s “Dark Knight Returns” comic series.
Later rumors added to the story, implying that it was The Joker’s past run-ins with Batman that made him of value to Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), since Gotham City’s vigilante was one potential metahuman hero on her radar. If Affleck’s Bruce Wayne truly has hung up his cape for a time – returning to the cowl only after Superman destroys part of Metropolis – then Leto’s Joker (and escape) would work well to both draw Batman into the film, and follow his nemesis out of it.
There has been little word from the studio or set to confirm or deny these suspicions, but now that eTalk has caught Affleck arriving in Toronto, Ontario, Canada – where Suicide Squad is currently filming – there may be fire to this smoke. Affleck’s new role for Warner Bros., and the suspicions that the writer-turned-director may helm a film in Snyder’s shared universe in the near future may also explain his presence, perhaps wishing to speak with Ayer, Leto, or any of the other Batman villains he may one day share the screen with.
That, or he’s simply as curious as anyone to see how the film is shaping up. But a visit during production seems to suggest something more substantial. So it’s less than surprising to see photos of Affleck purported to be on set, apparently in costume as Bruce Wayne:
BATMAN ON THE SET OF SUICIDE SQUAD pic.twitter.com/gWcTbNjZzb— Bart Fear (@BartFear) April 28, 2015
Affleck’s presence may not be an airtight confirmation of a large role in Suicide Squad (at least not until more confirmed sources and images arrive) but it’s likely the closest fans will get for the time being. Now, speculation can turn to the manner in which he will appear: viewing the prison carnage from Gotham? From the Batcave, in costume? What does this mean for the rumors of Suicide Squad being set before Dawn of Justice?
As is always the case, however, Batman’s secrecy is exceeded only by The Joker’s flamboyance. Actor Jared Leto had previously emphasized his desire to “gain a lot of weight” for the role, teasing his transformation early on.
But with the first look at his finished Joker focusing more on the villain’s tattoos and skin tone, Leto took to Instagram to ensure his time at the gym didn’t go unappreciated (and what it means for the role un-discussed):
Once fans of the traditionally slender actor/singer have recovered, Leto’s photo makes it perfectly clear that fans still don’t know what to make of his villain. When the first images of this muscular, V-shaped Joker (rarely, if ever seen in comics, live-action, or even animation) are finally released to the masses, how much of the mainstream conversation and marketing of Suicide Squad will hinge on Leto’s transformation (as was the case with Guardians of the Galaxy‘s Chris Pratt)?
If nothing else, the photo above shows that the first Joker image doesn’t tell the whole story (a fact we thoroughly emphasized in the recent Screen Rant Underground Podcast). It won’t comfort those already skeptical of his new ink (still visible on the actor’s arm), but an actor with Jared Leto’s star power is guaranteed to grab headlines – not to mention keep questions surrounding Deadshot, Harley Quinn, or Boomerang at bay.
What do you think of the new rumors of Ben Affleck’s Batman appearing in the film? Does Leto seem to have given The Joker enough power to give the Dark Knight a run for his money? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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.