Suicide Squad Director Laughs Jared Leto Joker Backlash After Comic Book Inspiration Is Revealed

Jared Leto as Joker in Suicide Squad

Although 2016’s Suicide Squad was a box office hit, the movie’s critical performance left a lot to be desired. Among the critiqued elements was Jared Leto’s Joker, who not only didn’t have much to do in Suicide Squad, but many believe deviated significantly from the source material.

However, if you compare Jared Leto’s Joker to the Clown Prince of Crime from the comics, at least visually speaking, Suicide Squad’s version of the cackling antagonist actually stays true to the spirit of the character in various ways, as director David Ayer recently noted with the below post.

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As you can see, David Ayer was quite pleased that a fan on Twitter noticed all the ways in which Joker’s looks in Suicide Squad called back to the character’s numerous depictions in the comics, with four specific iterations being highlighted: Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, Alex Ross’ illustration from Batman: Harley Quinn, Grant Morrison’s Batman: R.I.P. and Scott Snyder’s Batman: Endgame. Oh, and let’s not forget how Leto posed Killing Joke-style for some publicity shots.

So at least wardrobe-wise, there was precedent for the way Jared Leto’s Joker dressed himself. That said, there’s certainly no denying that The Joker’s best known for wearing a purple suit, as seen in projects like Tim Burton’s Batman, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight and Batman: The Animated Series. So in that regard, Suicide Squad didn’t follow the comics, although Leto’s Joker did come close with that purple, leather trench coat he wore when breaking into the facility that made the micro-bombs injected into the Task Force X members.

Whether or not you liked Jared Leto’s portrayal of Joker in Suicide Squad, one thing that’s been made abundantly clear in the years since the movie came out is that a lot of the actor’s performance was left on the cutting room floor. Sure, a little bit was added back in for Suicide Squad’s extended cut, but there’s still plenty of footage that hasn’t made its way to the public, including an alternate scene where he intimidated Common’s Monster T into killing himself.

For his part, David Ayer continues to defend Jared Leto’s Joker performance, saying that no one has truly seen the full extent of his work on Suicide Squad. However, there is a chance that we could someday see most, if not all of Leto’s Joker scenes. Following the announcement that HBO Max will release Zack Snyder’s Justice League, a.k.a. The Snyder Cut, sometime next year, there’s been talk about giving David Ayer’s original cut of Suicide Squad the same treatment.

For now though, Jared Leto has moved onto another comic book franchise: the Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters, where he’s playing Michael Morbius. We’ll get our first taste of Leto’s Living Vampire next March, although the original plan was for Morbius to come out in July.

As for the DC Comics realm, Task Force X will return to the big screen when James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad opens in theaters on August 6, 2021. You can learn what other DC movies are in the works with our handy guide.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.