“I’m not going to kill you. I’m just gonna hurt you. Really… really… bad.”
The Suicide Squad trailer has been making the rounds, and fans are already stoked about this new Joker. Played by Jared Leto, the trailer gave us a first look at the Clown Prince of Crime in action. And he looks vicious!
But there's a fan theory that could make this already grim series way darker.
The Joker is not actually part of the Suicide Squad
In the comics, the Suicide Squad is a team of villains who have been bribed or coerced into taking on dangerous and deadly missions. The Joker was considered too uncontrollable for the Squad. Is he the villain? Or something else?
This fan theory suggests he's actually a character that longtime Batman fans know well. Can you guess who?
Jason Todd. Aka ROBIN.
Robin and the Joker have a long, twisted history together. The Joker has always been Batman's nemesis, but it's the protegees of the Bat-family that have suffered most at the hands of the villain. In the comics, Jason Todd was the second Robin (the first was Dick Grayson). Jason was killed by the Joker. (The scene from the comics was recently adapted in Batman: Under the Red Hood, which you can watch above). The choice to kill Jason was actually given to the readers- DC gave them a vote and Jason's demise won by a slim 72 vote margin (via) He's later revived and becomes the Red Hood (which is one of the first aliases of the Joker).
Batman Beyond went even more twisted.
Instead of the brutal, bloody beating that the Joker delivered in the comics, he abducted Tim Drake (Robin #3). He used torture and chemical serums to turn Robin into a mini Joker. Because nothing says childrens' cartoon like nightmare fuel.
Now that you've got the history, let's take another look at the Suicide Squad trailer.
First, there's the defaced Robin suit.
The theory by Jason-G169, which you can read in full on Reddit, bases most of the meta on this image (click through to see the full before & after).
"Now the Robin suit, this one is kind of the first pillar of my theory, we see "The joke's on you Batman". What joke is on batman? Could it mean Jason wrote that on his suit after he became a deranged psycho? What i think it means is, after all Jason & Bruce have gone through together, him teaching Jason to not be so angry & teaching him how to be a better person, in the end it didn't matter it was all one huge joke because Jason's fate was to become Joker, his fate was to become the arch nemesis of his father." [sic]
Now, Robin hasn't really been in the DCU. The closest we got was some foreshadowing at the end of the Dark Knight trilogy. Outside of the comics and animated series, we haven't gotten very much Robin. So while people who are familiar with the comics will know all the backstory I outlined above, newcomers and casual viewers probably won't. Would Robin as the Joker have the kind of emotional gravity it needs?
Then there's the gnarly tattoos.
Lots of fans commented on the appearance of Leto's Joker, since he's so dissimilar from what we're used to. There's no outrageously colorful suit, his teeth look damaged, and he's more svelte and fit-looking than any of the previous iterations. And of course, the tattoos have been scrutinized. Here's how they fit into the theory:
"The Tattoo's are my favorite part about this theory, they all mean something. Let's start with his face. Joker has a "J" under his left eye, i think he did that one him self, for most people it mean J for Joker right? But for Bruce it mean J for Jason, whenever he see's Joker he knows he failed this kid, he let him become something worse than the original ever was.Now onto the "Damaged" on his forehead that everyone hates including myself, this one i think the original Joker actually gave Jason himself, he wrote it on there as a reminder for Jason how fucked he is, how much Joker has warped him, how the only Jason that is left is a damaged one, a deranged one.Now onto the right arm of his. First one we see is a huge smile with teeth on his wrist, with the new Joker he really doesn't have the nicest of teeth he has caps, my guess is Joker fucked his teeth up, he either ripped them out or he stomped them until they broke, so when Jason became Joker he wanted a smile, but he doesn't have the beautiful teeth or the huge grinning smile like the original Joker so he gets a tattoo of said smile." [sic]
Obviously all of this is speculation.
But it's totally fascinating- especially since the tattoos look so different from one another. It should be noted that in the video game Arkham Knight, Jason Todd has a "J" for Jason branded under his left eye, so the resemblance is more than a little. uncanny. Jason-G169 goes on to say:
"This one that i'm about to bring up is not confirmed but there is a very good chance it's there. On Jokers right bicep we see a Bird, presumably a Robin, i think we all know what a Robin means in this universe. To Jason this is a reminder of what he once was, he was a Robin he was the son of Batman, he was a hero but now he's the opposite. it's also a huge remind to Bruce just like the "J", that this horrible person was my son, a boy i raised, a boy i failed." [sic]
It's a really cool theory. But would it actually work?
Part of the reason Robin's death(s) have been so tragic is because we as the audience have spent so much time with him. We've seen his relationship with Batman develop and grow. We haven't gotten that in the movies. And the whole revival in the Lazarus pit seems a little too far-fetched to fit into the cinematic universe DC is creating. Then again, a twist like this might be surprising enough to keep somewhat jaded audiences engaged.
Personally, I like this admittedly dark idea. How does everyone else feel?