David Ayer Says Joker Should Have Been The Main Villain In Suicide Squad


There’s something quite refreshing about a filmmaker being very open and honest about the work they deliver – and also something very unusual. In this age of giant studio tentpole projects and high powered marketing machines, it’s most often the case that those involved with a film will predictably either sing its praises, or say nothing at all.  To hear the writer-director of what was once one of the most highly anticipated movies of the DC Extended Universe express regret about his own story in conversation with a fan is nothing short of stunning – but that’s what we have with David Ayer, and his 2016 movie Suicide Squad.

While interacting with a fan on Twitter, David Ayer conceded that he regrets not making The Joker – played by Jared Leto – the main villain of the piece.

The film, as released, featured Cara Delevingne as Enchantress – a very powerful, ancient being who possesses a young woman named June Moone and unleashes a dastardly plot to plunge the world into an eternal darkness. Government agent Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) then assembles “the worst of the worst” – a group of inmates with extraordinary abilities, who are incarcerated in the most secure, secret prison. This ‘suicide squad’ includes Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), Slipknot (Adam Beach), and Katana (Karen Fukuhara) – and their assigned military leader, Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman). The group also finds themselves subject to the external influence of the elusive Joker.

In truth, David Ayer’s comments here do reflect the sentiments of many Suicide Squad fans, who were disappointed by what felt like a lack of The Joker in the story. Given his impressive legend and longevity within the DC comic book source material, it seemed like an odd choice to sideline him as part of the plot – particularly given that rumours exist as to the amount of Joker-based scenes that were ultimately cut from the film.

Leto’s version of the Clown Prince of Crime was certainly something to behold, in the final analysis, but the fact is that his physical absence facilitated a greater exploration of the character of Harley Quinn, played by Margot Robbie. Quinn plays a lead role in the film, with The Joker essentially being her support act – allowing for brief glimpses of her origin and the motivations behind her character. Were The Joker to have played a bigger role, it would necessarily have detracted from the power of Harley Quinn’s character, to the overall detriment of the movie, and the wider DC Extended Universe.

As it stands, Quinn has now been properly introduced into the franchise in live-action for the first time, which can only benefit future series installments. Indeed, even general moviegoing audiences know The Joker of old, but Harley Quinn required a very specific unveiling. Regardless of the wider problems with the story of Suicide Squad – its depiction of Harley remains its greatest achievement.