- In honor of the character’s 75th anniversary, director David Ayer Tweeted out the very first official image of Jared Leto as the Joker in Suicide Squad last night. As expected, it’s drastically different than anything we’ve seen in the past and a huge departure from both Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger’s version of the character. That being said, it’s pretty damn awesome and Leto has once again proven himself as an actor who’s capable of a tremendous physical transformation.
Now that we've had some time to take in the character's new look and get acquainted with it, it's time to analyze it a bit further and see if there's any clues as to what Ayer has in store for us once his film hits theatres.
Join us as we look at 5 key takeaways from this first official look at Jared Leto's Joker.
The TattoosThe first and most striking thing worth noting about Leto's Joker is the ink covering his body. Rumors suggested that Ayer's take on the Clown Prince of Crime would be heavily tattooed for Suicide Squad, but few could have predicted just what that would look like.
As unconventional as they may seem, tattoos on the Joker are nothing new. Frank Miller and Jim Lee delivered a tattooed Mr. J in All Star Batman & Robin, though there he sported a dragon tattoo on his back as a nod to Red Dragon's Francis Dolarhyde.
Here, Leto is sporting tattoos that strike up some familiar Joker iconography; the laughter across his chest and arms, the giant grin on his forearm, the deck of cards with the words "All In," the skull and jester's cap (reminiscent of the Joker cards he leaves at crime scenes) and of course, the "Damaged" tattoo on his forehead, which is a tad on-the-nose. He even has what looks like a dead bird on his bicep... a nod to a dead Jason Todd/Robin, perhaps?
Now, the question is, are the Joker's tattoos merely body art, or a sign that he's spent some time in the criminal underworld? Time will tell...
The HairLeto cut his long, luscious locks to play the Joker, opting instead for a shorter, slicked back (and, of course, green) look.
The Joker has sported several different hairstyles over the years, and this look is reminiscent of Alex Ross' design or how Grant Morrison drew him in Batman RIP. It's also another departure from Heath Ledger, who had a dirty green mess of hair, and hues closer to Jack Nicholson's slick hairstyle (minus the actor's dramatic hairline, of course).
The TeethOne of the more interesting things about this design is the Joker's new grill. As you can see, Mr. J has lost his pearly whites and is instead sporting a set of false teeth that make him look more like James Franco's Spring Breakers character than Heath Ledger's smiling Dark Knight antagonist.
The Joker needing false teeth makes complete sense when you consider the many beatings he's taken from the Batman over the years, and this little touch just makes his smile all the more sinister.
Speaking of the smile, it looks far more normal than we've seen on film before. Gone is Nicholson's deformed cheekbones and Ledger's facial scarring, replaced instead with a normal but scary grin and dark lipstick.
The Pale SkinJudging by this new photo, Leto's Joker won't require the same face makeup that Ledgers' did, as his skin appears to be bleached, as it traditionally is in the comics.
Whether the pale complexion is something the Joker does to himself or is the result of a chemical accident, is anyone's guess, but this is just one simple change that will truly set Leto's iteration of the character apart from Ledger's and bring up some memories of Jack Nicholson's take on the character.
The Killing Joke PoseLeto and Ayer already payed homage to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' The Killing Joke in a teaser photo released earlier this month. Now, they've done so again (though more subtly) here.
The purple glove and pose Leto is striking - gripping his head in a fit of laughter - are an homage to one of the most iconic Joker images of all time: the true "birth" of the villain in The Killing Joke.
The Joker we meet in Suicide Squad will already be well established in the DCCU, however, meaning this is likely nothing more than a clever nod to an iconic and beloved image of the famous psychopath, though it COULD give us a glimpse at the psychology that Leto will tap into for his performance.