Ever since the first promo image of the Suicide Squad's Joker as portrayed by Jared Leto first surfaced courtesy of director David Ayer there's been a lot of discussion about the merits (or lack thereof) of this version. The reaction was largely negative, which is understandable given the radical change to his looks and the uncharacteristic teeth and tattoos.
But making a change to the Joker isn't unheard of, there's already been a ton of different versions of the iconic character, both on screen and in the comic books. As such there's been loads of speculation about the origin of the DC Cinematic Universe's Joker. Is he actually Jason Todd? Will the character take pointers from The Killing Joke as teased by the first images we saw of Leto as the Joker? And seriously what's up with the tattoos?
Jared Leto hasn't really given many interviews about his Joker, we know he's been method-acting it up which was made even more evident by a recent interview in which the Joker seems to have bled through into his band-frontman persona. During a Q&A ahead of the performance of his band 30 Seconds To Mars, Leto let a bit of his character slip.
Someone in the audience wearing a Batman t-shirt asked a question, and Leto responded with "You’re really brave" before letting out a deranged laugh. He continued, "I can’t wait for you to see this – they’re going to lock me away in a box after this movie comes out."
Whether or not you think this is pretty wanky, at least he's giving his all to the role, right? But what exactly is his role? Despite the leaked set photos, numerous cast interview and teases and the full length trailer being released in all of it's glory, we still don't really know that much about this new and controversial version of the Joker.
Could this be because he's not actually a primary character?
The Enchantress Theory
Ever since the first trailer for the massively anticipated Suicide Squad landed a couple months back fans have scoured every inch of the footage for hints and clues about how the big screen adaptation has handled the well-loved characters from the comic books. A prevailing theory has emerged about the antagonists and it's not quite what you might have expected...
The popular theory right now is that Cara Delevingne's Enchantress (a.k.a June Moone) might take central stage as the antagonist in Suicide Squad. This is due to the fact that though she's featured in the cast photo she's never seen alongside the team in the trailer, rather we see her in a cave (presumably the place where she discovers Dzamor, the mystical being who gives her her powers) and performing some kind of ritual, sinking into swampy water in front of a pentagram and looking pretty unhappy about the whole scenario.
Heroic Hollywood posit that the Squad are sent on a mission to stop Enchantress from wrecking havoc with her powers, and this would make a lot of sense given her comic book origins. When she's first recruited into the Suicide Squad she doesn't have full control over her powers.
She was actually initially introduced as a protagonist, a normal teenager given sorcerous powers to fight evil monsters. Like a lot of the Squad members she's not always truly villainous, but during their first mission with them she overtaxes herself and loses control, becoming fully evil for a time and causing all sorts of bother for them.
Whilst operating within the ranks of the Suicide Squad she continues to lose control over her powers, the Enchantress side of June Moone. Madame Xanadu tells her that her lack of control is because she started using her powers too young and she'll eventually loose control all together, being taken over by the evil Enchantress side of her personality.
June later discovers that the Enchantress persona is actually an evil entity from another dimension fused with her, not just a manifestation of her magic side. The persona is ripped from her by a demon but it returns to chase her, trying to fuse the two parts together again.
It would actually be great to see Enchantress as the villain, however unwilling she may be, as we haven't really had any standout primary female antagonists in the Marvel or DC Universes. She's also a really interesting character with the demon functioning as persona and the struggles she goes through to contain the massive power within herself.
Introducing her as member of the Squad gone rogue due to being unable to control the Enchantress persona would be pretty interesting both in terms of the action we'd see and the morality of the issue - will they have to kill June to destroy the Enchantress? The shot of her sinking into the water in the trailer seems to support the fact that she's facing an internal struggle as she appears troubled and scared.
And the Joker? The prevailing theory is that he'll appear primarily in flashbacks detailing Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn origin. He appears in the trailer alongside Dr. Harleen Quinn during the torture scene and again driving a car alongside Harley with Batman on the roof - widely believed to be a flashback scene detailing how Harley was "recruited" into the Suicide Squad.
Of course this is all still wild theorising, so we may all be way off of the mark here. It's pretty neat to speculate on though, but we'll have to wait until Suicide Squad hits cinemas on August 5th, 2016 before we'll know for sure.