After a series of teases via Twitter, Suicide Squad director David Ayer and Warner Bros. Pictures finally released the first official image of Jared Leto’s version of The Joker as he’ll appear in the film.
Ayer posted the photo to Twitter on Friday, the 75th anniversary of Joker’s first appearance in comics (in the April 25, 1940, issue of Batman #1) and it’s an understatement to say that the new version of Batman’s arch enemy is a significant departure from what we’ve seen in comics and movies so far.
The Suicide Squad wishes you a Happy Anniversary Mr. J! #Joker75 #SuicideSquad @WarnerBrosEnt @DCComics pic.twitter.com/LZXz0x947Q
— David Ayer (@DavidAyerMovies) April 25, 2015
Covered in tattoos — many of them featuring artwork from Joker’s comic-book appearances — and offering a grin ornamented by a grill of silver caps on his front teeth, Leto’s Joker seems to share only the pale skin and green hair of previous iterations, and it remains to be seen how his characterization will compare with the iconic interpretations of the character produced by Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, and Cesar Romero over the years. It’s also unknown what role Joker will play in the film, which follows a group of DC Comics supervillains who are forced to undertake dangerous missions for a secret government agency.
As is so often the case these days, the image spawned a flood of photoshopped parodies, memes, and commentary on social media in the 48 hours after it arrived online.
Leto’s pose in the photo was frequently compared to Macauley Culkin’s famous Home Alone image.
I don't like the direction @wbpictures is going with #JaredLeto and #TheJoker #SuicideSquad #DCComics #HomeAlone pic.twitter.com/BAoVYWuZTE
— Michael Fewx (@Fewxie) April 25, 2015
While others had some fun with Joker’s fondness for ink.
I don't know what everyone is upset about. That new Joker looks awesome. pic.twitter.com/XisqKWeLU2
— Brian Altano (@agentbizzle) April 25, 2015
And some even pondered what this could mean for Ben Affleck’s interpretation of Batman in the film.
First the picture of the new Joker and now the new Bruce Wayne? Amazing: pic.twitter.com/xi997gBwsY
— Jason Anarchy (@DrinkingQuest) April 25, 2015
There were yet others who tried to offer some context for Leto’s version of Joker in the over-arching history of the character.
This pretty much sums it up #Joker pic.twitter.com/VlHbOj6Bf2
— Connor McLeod (@Connor_Mcleod27) April 25, 2015
Although the general reaction to Leto’s version of Joker hasn’t been altogether positive, it’s worth noting that the initial response to Ledger’s version of Joker from The Dark Knight wasn’t wholly positive, either — and we know how that turned out. Still, with the studio’s take on Superman in Man Of Steel already a polarizing topic among hardcore and mainstream fans alike, it’s quickly becoming clear that Warner Bros. is more than willing to challenge what we know — and will accept — from our favorite DC Comics heroes and villains.
Written and directed by David Ayer, Suicide Squad is scheduled to hit theaters August 5, 2016.
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