Remember that hot minute last summer when everyone thought the Joker of Suicide Squad, brought to life with ADD-style manic intensity by Jared Leto, was in fact Jason Todd? And by everyone, I mean a few DC fanboys with very active imaginations. The theory posited that the "Joker" of David Ayer's bad guy team-up movie was simply a masquerade worn by a vengeful Todd, who constructed an alias to stage elaborate revenge against Batman.
Beside the fact that it would've been the most absurd thing to happen in the DC universe since Wonder Woman boarded a Turkish Airlines flight for no apparent reason and then promptly got off again (defying the laws of airport security), the theory also kind of ignored the fact that Suicide Squad is not a Batman movie, and if someone at DC had masterminded such an enormous twist, it probably wasn't going to be blown on this movie.
Well, Ayer finally addressed the Todd rumor himself this week — here's what the director had to say about it:
"[The craziest theory is] that the Joker is Jason Todd. It ain’t the case. He's not."
So, that's that. Or is it? One of the things that makes the Joker such an enduring villain is the sense of mystery that shrouds him. In The Killing Joke, he states that "If I'm going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!". That's not just a great line because it's funny, but because it completely encapsulates the threat presented by a man with no known origin story. Knowledge is power, and when it comes to Gotham's Clown Prince, only he has that knowledge, thus giving him the upper hand over his arch enemy each and every time their paths cross.
And while Suicide Squad is not about to reveal where exactly Mr. J came from, that's the kind of high-stakes mystery that future movies in the DCEU could run with. If Jared Leto intends to stick around for the much-hyped, Ben Affleck-directed The Batman (supposedly set in Arkham Asylum and filled with classic rogues) and for another two or three films thereafter, this universe has an excellent chance to build an overarching mystery in much the same way that Thanos' mission to complete the Infinity Gauntlet binds multiple movies in the MCU as Infinity War looms on the horizon.
I'm not saying that we need a twist of Jason Todd proportions — he doesn't need to be somebody else in disguise. But imagine the sheer hype if DC promoted a Joker vs. Batman movie as the event that would finally slice through that multiple choice list to reveal the Joker's true origin story. It would be difficult to get right, and some would consider it sacrilege, but they have a chance here to do something Marvel could never do, because Marvel doesn't have the greatest villain in comic book history.
Was the Joker really plunged into a vat of acid? Has the line between falsehood and reality become so blurred in his head that even the Clown Prince doesn't know the truth of his own origin anymore? Or is he simply wearing a mask of madness, as hypothesized in Batman: Black & White? I don't have the answer — but it's high time we found out.
Check out the Joker-focused Suicide Squad trailer above before the movie hits theaters on August 5, and then tell me...