Major spoilers ahead for Suicide Squad. You've been warned.
The debate about Suicide Squad has already been to some heated places, but the reveal last week that Warner Bros. allegedly produced a competing edit of the movie which wildly modified David Ayer's original cut (and which was ultimately used, taking control away from the director) has become a huge story since Squad's recording-breaking first weekend in theaters.
Anyone who's seen the movie already will know that countless scenes from the trailers, mostly involving Jared Leto's Joker, were left out of the final cut. We decided to splice all of the deleted scenes into one video which tells the story of just how much Joker footage didn't make it.
Check out our 'Ultimate Cut' of The Joker's chopped Suicide Squad scenes below, before taking a deeper dive into one specific scene which turns the Clown Prince's entire dynamic with Harley Quinn on its head in a big way.
The full list, first posted on Reddit, contains 22 allegedly deleted or heavily modified scenes, which should perhaps be taken with at least a pinch of salt. According to the source, June Moone discovering the Enchantress totem during her archeological adventures and being possessed by the ancient spirit was actually intended to open the movie (which would've made the plot similarities with X-Men: Apocalypse even more apparent), but was later cut down and turned into a flashback.
The user also claims that several scenes between June Moone and Rick Flag were cut, which would explain why their relationship felt severely under-developed, and that Killer Croc has a comedy moment in which he vomits up half-digested pieces of goat and then eats them again which was also sliced from the final cut.
The Joker has several deleted scenes, most notably a sequence prior to Harley Quinn diving into the acid vat during which she points a gun at his face, eventually lowering it when he sweet-talks her into submission. Set pics from that scene leaked everywhere at the time, but it never made it into any of the trailers. The decision to play down that abuse feels like an obvious attempt to transform The Joker and Harleys' relationship from something misogynistic (but faithful to the comics and the animated series) into something a little more progressive.
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Most interesting of all is a re-edited sequence which puts a completely new spin on The Joker's apparent death in Suicide Squad when the helicopter goes down. In the final cut, we see the helicopter shot down by Amanda Waller's men, and The Joker then pushes Harley from the ramp, where she falls to safety on a rooftop as he seemingly goes up in a ball of flame.
The Reddit user's deleted scenes list notes that this scene was originally cut differently, the Clown Prince pushing Harley from the ramp before the helicopter is shot down, therefore rendering it an act of violent malice rather than an effort to save her life. That puts an entirely different spin on their twisted relationship, suggesting Ayer's original vision for Harley was to have her be dependent on a man who (as in the comics) attempts to kill her, and explaining why she removes her "puddin'" necklace. Given how much criticism that violent betrayal would've received from critics and audiences, cutting it from the final product feels like a seriously smart decision on somebody's part.
In Ayer's defense, the list also includes a scene in the subway station prior to the final battle with Enchantress in which The Joker breaks in, face half-burned (as seen in the gif below) and attempts to extradite Harley, only for her to refuse and stay with her friends. That would've been a fitting reaction to the helicopter push which would give the Clown Princess some proper agency, but clearly wasn't necessary in the wake of the re-edit.
There were more scenes drastically cut down, including the sequence at the bar in which Harley plays bartender for the squad. In the Blitz trailer Harley banters with El Diablo about his choice of drink, but in the movie this scene skips straight to Diablo's tragic backstory and takes on a much more somber air.
Ultimately it's apparent that heavy-handed studio intervention turned Suicide Squad into a very different movie as a reaction to test screenings and the critical mauling of Batman v Superman. What's done is done, but clearly there are lessons to be learned from the troubled productions of these two movies — and, looking to the future, if Warner Bros. wants Justice League to achieve stronger reviews (and a longer life at the box office), they'll need to keep their hands out of the cookie jar.
Click here to read through the full, detailed thread on Reddit, and check out our original Harley Quinn hears voice video below for a good laugh.