The first glimpse of Jared Leto’s Joker is no laughing matter. Not only does it give some insight into the upcoming Suicide Squad villain team-up movie, it’s a hint at the wider universe DC is trying to build. Here it is:
First thing’s first: tats. It’s probably the biggest addition to the character who (at least on screen) has always stuck pretty close to his playing card imagery. Here he looks vaguely like a rock star, appropriate considering he’s played by a musician.
However, in the comics the Joker has been through hundreds of different versions and revisions, including some that were pretty into bodyart. Take for instance Frank Miller’s version from All Star Batman & Robin.
Beyond that it’s pretty traditional stuff from the Joker’s 75-year history: pale bleached skin from a chemical accident, Iggy Pop physique, green dyed hair and lipstick. The purple glove is likely a nod to the Joker’s penchant for dressing in natty purple suits and dress gloves, and some of the tattoos could almost have been comic book covers.
This could be a sign that, unlike Heath Ledger’s visceral take on the villain, Leto will cleave more close to the source material. There were worries that all of the Warner/DC expanded universe would follow the muted, depressing style of the Man of Steel, worries not assuaged by the recent trailer for Batman v Superman. Marvel have been successful in their efforts to construct a wider world by including humour and a range of tones, not just grimdark introspection.
Or perhaps this is just one photo from a Twitter feed, and we still have an awful long time before we can make sense of any of it.
Suicide Squad will also star Will Smith, Margot Robbie and Cara Delevingne amongst the ensemble cast of baddies forced to do good (in return for reduced jail time), with Viola Davis and Joel Kinnaman as the government agents tasked with keeping them in check. The film will be released in August 2016.