How much Joker do we think we are going to get in Suicide Squad? David Ayer’s ensemble supervillain piece ramped up its marketing recently, taking over Empire and dropping numerous character covers, interviews and stills, many of which showed Jared Leto’s renovated take on the Clown Prince of Crime. But a new theory suggests that the Joker might be more like Marvel’s Thanos… a powerful antagonist who is teased for multiple movies before he ever really has an impact.

In analyzing the amount of Joker we have seen in Suicide Squad footage, ComicBook.com focuses on two main scenes that involved Jared Leto’s Joker. We know, from set photos, that he is driving the sports car that has Ben Affleck’s Batman on the roof. And we have seen him torturing someone at the tail end of the main Comic-Con trailer. Maybe it’s Margot Robbie’s Harley, before she has been "converted" into Joker’s deranged love interest. Maybe it’s someone else. But since we recently saw a straight-jacketed Joker sitting opposite Dr. Harleen Quinzel (Robbie) in a photo, what if he’s relegated to flashbacks? Here, watch the trailer one last time, and see how many times you can spot The Joker:

Now, let’s assume that Joker only has two scenes in Suicide Squad. We had initially heard that Leto’s criminal would operate as sort of a Hannibal Lecter type, manipulating things from the safety of his cell. Presumably, Batman captures him at the end of that sports-car scene, and he’s under the thumb of Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) and being used – possibly as bait – to keep Harley and the other members of Task Force X on track. But those who believed that the Squad were being assembled to take down The Joker are probably incorrect. ComicBook believes that Task Force X is going to be hunting Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), not Joker. That makes sense. Joker has been front and center in the marketing (because that makes sense). But do you think he’ll be sidelined in the actual film?

Here’s what I think. I think that the shadow of The Joker is going to linger long and hard over both Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. I don’t think we’ll see Leto’s villain in Dawn, though we’ve seen his maniacal chicken-scratch message to Ben Affleck’s Batman in the trailers. And while I believe he’ll ultimately surface in Suicide Squad, I’m starting to believe that Joker will have a bigger role once Batman branches off into his solo movies… especially if the rumors of the Red Hood storyline end up being true. What do you think? Will The Joker have a much smaller presence in 2016 than we are led to believe? And if Warner Bros. is holding him back, is that a good idea?

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