Even amongst a truly eccentric lineup of some of the most disheveled and freakish super-villains in DC's Suicide Squad, one grinning face stands out: the maniacal stare, pale skin and bright green hair of Jared Leto's Joker is one of the most intriguing aspects in a juicy selection of promotional trailers.
The role of the Joker has taken on an aura, intensified by the tragic passing of Heath Ledger after his turn as the Clown Prince of Crime in The Dark Knight (2008), and accentuated by casting uber-method actor Leto for this year's Suicide Squad.
Unsurprisingly, the character has been one of the biggest talking points of David Ayer's upcoming antihero ensemble. While his input has been shrouded in mystery, a number of theories have arisen, attempting to explain the villain's role. Let's take a look at some of the best (or craziest?) below:
1. The Joker Is Robin
This controversial but well-thought-out rumor did the rounds a number of months ago, concocted from a hybrid of Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad material. In the DCEU, it is said that the Joker killed Robin (a.k.a. Jason Todd) prior to events in BvS.
An eagle-eyed Reddit user pieced together an elaborate theory, suggesting Todd was tortured by the original Joker, and then assumed his identity. However, as intriguing as it was, Zack Snyder himself debunked the theory. In an interview with IGN, he said:
"In my mind, it was that Robin had died 10 years earlier, during some run in with a young Joker. To me, it was a fun backstory…to play with. The whole idea was that there had been loss and sacrifice. [Batman] doesn’t really have a life outside of the cave. I thought by including Robin — a dead Robin — it would help us understand he’s been on quite a little journey."
2. The Joker Will Jeopardize The 'Task Force X' Mission
This doesn't delve into the psyche or origin of the Joker, but the theory attempts to explain why he is never seen interacting with the rest of the "Task Force X." Perhaps he deliberately sabotages the group's mission? Or...
3. He IS The Target Of The Suicide Squad
Going one step further again, the Suicide Squad are put together by the Government agency to fight a serious threat, which has not yet been revealed. What if the Joker is the mystical entity the reformed felons are after?
4. He Will Become An Overarching Villain In The DCEU
The Joker is one of the best villains in comic book history, so why not maximize his evil streak and spread it across the entire fictional universe? The downside of this theory is that it could mean he won't feature too heavily in Ayer's flick, becoming more of a slow burner across multiple films.
Although the DCEU has a busy upcoming slate, there has been speculation Leto will slip back into makeup for a solo Joker movie.
5. The Joker Is Dead
Eagle-eyed viewers have broken down the trailer, identifying certain clips that look more like flashbacks than scenes that'll appear chronologically in the narrative.
A byproduct of such a rumor is the suggestion that by the start of Suicide Squad, Leto's Joker is already deceased.
Suicide Squad is released on August 5.