Of all the most iconic villains to have ever come out of comic book lore, The Joker is arguably the most familiar and intriguing of the bunch. As a matter of fact, some would likely argue that The Joker is one of the greatest fictitious villains of all time – comic book or otherwise. So extensive is the legacy of the maniacal criminal mastermind, that even those who know virtually nothing about either comic book heroes or villains are often able to identify him at first sight.
It certainly helps that over the years, The Joker has been portrayed on screen by some of Hollywood’s most respected actors, including Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, and the late Heath Ledger. Most recently, Oscar winner Jared Leto has taken on the role for the upcoming Suicide Squad and based on what we’ve seen of this incarnation as well as tales of Leto’s on-set antics, it’s safe to assume that once again, the madness of The Joker is inhabiting yet another acting talent.
When the first images of Leto’s Joker emerged last year, there was some grumbling of discontent, but for the most part, reactions have been positive. As if to quash any further possible criticism of the great villain’s appearance, Suicide Squad director David Ayer has revealed in an interview with Yahoo Movies that all of The Joker’s tattoos tell “a very specific story.” Fans will decipher this story with the passage of time, eventually revealing the entire history of who The Joker is. Said Ayer:
“The tattoos tell a very specific story, and eventually people will decipher them and understand what’s going on, but obviously they’re contentious, any time you do something new it’s contentious. There’s very specific stories and easter eggs in those tattoos.”
Ayer’s efforts to make The Joker a flesh and blood embodiment of the character extend beyond tattoos as well, even imparting history into the madman’s mouth:
“And even his teeth, there’s an entire story behind that which is absolutely canon. It’s putting his history on his body. This Joker is a little more working class, who I believe could live in our world.”
Ever since the first images of Jared Leto as The Joker began to circulate online, fans have been offering up theories as to why he would have metal teeth. One of the most popular theories that remains true to the villain’s canon is that shortly after The Joker killed the second Robin, Jason Todd, Batman beat The Joker to a pulp, knocking out the majority of his teeth in the process. As far as the tattoos go, the internet has had much to say about them. Whether the connection to The Joker’s history through these tattoos will immediately become apparent after one viewing of Suicide Squad or if numerous viewings will be required to crack the code, it’s hard to say at this time.
It seems that no matter how many years separate each new cinematic incarnation of The Joker, there’s always some sort of resistance to his latest appearance. Leto’s Joker may not resemble past versions, but Ayer’s efforts at finding a method by which to stay true to the character are indeed unique.
Back when The Dark Knight was still on its way, there was no small amount of negative opinion surrounding the decision to cast Ledger as The Joker. Some eight years later and Ledger is the definitive interpretation of that character for many. Leto may not rise to the same stature, but there’s a very good chance he’ll be fascinating to watch regardless.
Suicide Squad opens in U.S. theaters on August 5, 2016, followed by Wonder Woman on June 2, 2017; Justice League on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 16, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League Part Two 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.
Source: Yahoo Movies