Now, when the main cast of Suicide Squad - Warner Bros.' upcoming DC adaptation - was officially revealed a few days ago, it's fair to say there was more than enough surprise to go around. After all, when the film is released on August 5, 2016, we're set to see Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Tom Hardy, Jai Courtney and Cara Delevingne team up as an anti-heroic team of one-time criminals, who're roped together to stop some sort of menace.
And that caliber of cast, all put together in one movie? Well, that's pretty darned surprising - and that's before you even add in the fact that Jared Leto is playing The Joker.
The thing is, though, we've all assumed that Suicide Squad is set to be a pretty straight adaptation of the comics, with the Squad being roped together by the mysterious Amanda Waller (who, incidentally, Oprah is reportedly being courted to play) to deal with some unspecified threat.
Which, from everything we've heard so far, it totally is. But what if we've missed something? Something...pretty damned important...
The Joker Doesn't Really Fit the Profile
After all, The Joker has, for decades now, been a psychopathic murderer, with virtually no impulse control, and a tendency to straight up murder people for no good reason.
Or, in other words, he's not much of a team player.
So, unless Suicide Squad is planning on fundamentally altering the character we all know and love (unlikely in a post-Heath Ledger-in-The Dark Knight world), he seems an odd choice to join the team. He is, after all, very much Batman's nemesis, and seeing as Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice is reportedly set seventeen years into The Dark Knight's Bat-career, he's likely to already be the criminally insane clown prince of crime we already know and love.
What Does That Mean For Suicide Squad, Though?
Well, for one thing, it seems to make it pretty darned likely that The Joker won't be a member of the Squad - instead either playing a supporting role, or a directly villainous one.
The only problem with that?
This'll be our first introduction to Jared Leto in Warner Bros.' new DC Cinematic Universe, and from the sounds of it, we'll be seeing him first appear without Batman - despite the general assumption that, as Devin Faraci recently suggested over at Badass Digest:
"In the world of Batman v Superman the Joker already exists, and Superman knows about him. We don't see him in this [Batman v Superman] movie, though."
Now, to introduce The Joker as a supporting character in a non-Batman movie would certainly be a bold move from Warner Bros., but it also seems a slightly unusual one, especially considering the fact that there are a whole seventeen years of back story that we haven't seen.
What if, though, that wasn't the case?
What if Suicide Squad is Set in the Past?
Specifically, at some point in the seventeen years preceding Batman vs. Superman.
So, instead of being a slightly out there choice for a second movie in the new DC cinematic line-up, Suicide Squad would instead act as a prequel, explaining the back-story that led to the events of Batman vs. Superman. That way, not only would the massive audiences that BvS will surely attract have an added incentive to actually go and see Suicide Squad, but they'll have an even more noteworthy storyline to watch when they do.
Suicide Squad Would Act as The Joker's Origin Story
Which would, in one stroke, turn a movie about a relatively unknown and previously un-introduced on screen anti-heroes taking on a villain no-one cares too much about, into a movie all about the very beginnings of DC's most iconic villain. With, of course, an exciting, action-packed heist drama wrapped around it.
Jared Leto would have something substantial to do, The Joker would be established as a major player in the new DC universe - taking his cue from Loki's appearance in Thor, and Suicide Squad would have a far better shot at becoming an established franchise.
It could even solve the minor problem of Jared Leto - despite being the same age as Ben Affleck, at 42, looking so much darned younger than him...
The only problem?
You Can't Have the Joker's Origin Without Batman...
After all, if The Joker begins his story without the involvement of Batman, his obsessive vendetta against the hero loses some of its mythological resonance.
I mean, there's a reason most of the villain's origin stories involve him blaming Batman - often with good cause - for his transformation into The Joker.
What if he secretly is in the movie, though?
Could Batman Be in Suicide Squad?
Is it possible that Batman could, in fact, appear in Suicide Squad?
Well, since Ben Affleck has presumably signed on for a whole lot of movies as Batman, it doesn't seem too out of the realm of possibility.
But, as I discussed elsewhere a few days ago, there's also the distinct possibility that Warner Bros. is planning to limit Affleck to the Justice League 'arc' within their new movies, playing an older, wiser Batman, who helps to found the Justice League - which, seeing as Affleck, with his star very much on the rise as a director, is unlikely to want to spend six months of every year making a Batman movie, doesn't seem too implausible.
And that would leave a space for a new Batman. A younger Dark Knight, say - one designed to fill in the seventeen-year gap between Batman's origins, and the present day universe of Batman vs. Superman.
Which, potentially, is where Suicide Squad comes in - giving DC the chance to test the water with a covert 'Young Batman' movie, before risking a full solo adventure.
The question then?
Who Would Play Batman?
Well, I'm sure we can all come up with ten different young actors who'd make a perfect Batman (and please do in the comments below!) but it's possible that the movie might already have its Dark Knight - and is just currently playing an elaborate game of misdirection.
Remember that sense of surprise - and in some quarters, criticism - about the casting of Suicide Squad that I was talking about earlier??
Well, a whole lot of that had to do with just who the cast are set to play. Sure, Will Smith as Deadshot and Tom Hardy as Rick Flagg make sense, and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn is downright perfect - but a few of the others were a little more...out there.
Specifically, Cara Delevingne as the fairly obscure The Enchantress, and Jai Courtney as the racist, obnoxious, boomerang-throwing Captain Boomerang, who had been widely tipped to be omitted from the movie.
What if Courtney wasn't playing Captain Boomerang, though?
What if Jai Courtney is Secretly Batman?
It'd be one hell of a reveal - and one that would likely annoy the hell out of a whole lot of people - but Courtney could, just possibly, be a carefully hidden surprise super-hero.
After all - what better cover for hiding a covert Batman than by hiring an Australian to play him, but announcing that he's playing a controversial Australian villain instead. He even shares a little of the Affleck chin...
It's...seriously unlikely, but heck, it'd be one hell of a surprise.
Especially if Delevingne then turned out to be Catwoman...