The DC live-action universe might have had a rocky start, but Warner Bros. seems to have really hit its stride recently. Aquaman and Shazam! showed what the DCEU could do, while Joker was set outside of the shared universe and broke box office records. The next movie set within the universe is Cathy Yan's Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). The highly anticipated blockbuster recently released its second full trailer, and some fans think it might have included Harley killing off Jared Leto's Joker.
Both Margot Robbie and Jared Leto made their DC debut with David Ayer's Suicide Squad, although Harley Quinn was the clear scene stealer of the movie. She's got two more movies coming up, the first of which being Birds of Prey. The new trailer is narrated by Harley herself, and shows her blowing up Ace Chemical Plant. This is place where Joker christened her Harley, although some DC fans think that Mr. J might have been inside during the explosion. Just check out one reaction to that potential Birds of Prey twist.
As Birds of Prey's subtitle suggests, the movie will be very much focused on Harley Quinn's road to emancipation and independence from her abusive relationship with Joker. And what would be a more powerful way to do this than having the femme fatale straight up killing the Clown Prince of Crime. It's certainly a twist no one saw coming, although that would shut the door regarding Jared Leto's possible return to the DC Extended Universe in the future.
Jared Leto's Joker is one of the biggest sources of criticism regarding David Ayer's Suicide Squad. The comic book adaptation suffered from studio interference, and quite a bit of Ayer's original movie was left on the cutting room floor. The Joker was a big victim to this, and he was mostly a tertiary presence in the villain-centric movie. Add in reports of Leto's bizarre behavior on set, and his version of Mr. J has become fodder for countless jokes. Some fans think that's exactly why Birds of Prey might kill off the character in such an unceremonious way.
Suicide Squad made good money at the box office and even won an Academy Award for Best Makeup. But it was a critical bomb, and failed to truly resonate with audiences the same way its trailer did. While Harley Quinn was a high point, there were plenty of moviegoers who took umbrage with Jared Leto's version of Joker. He was a tattooed Gotham gangster, who didn't fit into the story and had a somewhat cringe-inducing signature laugh. And considering how method Leto approached the role, the misstep hit harder for audiences.
That's no doubt why the theory about Joker dying in Birds of Prey's newest trailer went viral so quickly. There were some folks on social media who went online just to celebrate the concept. Even if it's not actually confirmed.
Not every message was pointed, though. But seeing Ace Chemicals blow up early in the new trailer for Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) was enough to convince plenty of fans. And as such, they took to social media to bid adieu to the DC Extended Universe's official in-universe Joker.
There were also some DC fans who were angry with the idea that Jared Leto's Joker was killed off so unceremoniously. Despite the news being unconfirmed, some cinephiles took umbrage with this aggressive narrative choice. Since Joker was such a small role in Suicide Squad, there was the potential for Warner Bros. to bring back Jared Leto for a higher quality future project. And simply killing him off before his tenure began could be seen a cop out.
In the end, we don't know whether or not Birds of Prey is actually going to kill off Jared Leto's Joker. The trailers do make it seem like Mr. J was the one who broke up with Harley. She simply might have been blowing up Ace Chemicals as a way to get back at him, or destroy that part in her life. It seems like a dangerous place for Joker to have his headquarters, but who knows what Cathy Yan has in store for the upcoming movie.
Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) will arrive in theaters on February 7th. In the meantime, check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.
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Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.