The mysteries of Suicide Squad continue to be unraveled even now almost four years after its debut. One of the things from the film that was equally criticized and celebrated was the body art for Jared Leto's Joker, who had countless "hahas," smiles, and other tattoos adorned across his skin. The most obvious of these, and perhaps the most talked about, was the "Damaged" tattoo that was plastered across the character's forehead. Even now people still talk about this completely unsubtle piece of characterization, but if you go deeper there's a perfectly logical and in-character reason for the branding, as confirmed by the director.
It started when Ayer responded to someone making a joke about his use of the tattoo, leaning into it, which prompted a fan to post their theory about its meaning. That account, (which features Jared Leto's Joker as its avatar) wrote: "I think the damaged tattoo is actually pretty ingenious, but only for those who understand. Joker got the tattoo because batman damaged his smile in a failed attempt at revenge for killing Robin. All with the intent to antagonize and infuriate Batman simply by seeing his face." Ayer succinctly replied: "Exactly."
Leto previously said he would still be open to returning to the role while also admitting that it is a bit of a longshot at the moment. Despite set photos for the Birds of Prey movie indicating that this version of the character would appear, Leto's Joker was left on the cutting room floor and all mentions of the Clown Prince of Crime were changed to a more generic looking Joker from the pages of DC Comics.
Exactly https://t.co/dP3JbroS1H— David Ayer (@DavidAyerMovies) May 4, 2020
"It was either going to be a complete Harley and Joker story or Joker has got to be out of the picture," Margot Robbie told ComicBook.com on the set of the film. "I really wanted to see Harley in a girl gang and I felt there was a huge gap in the market for a girl gang ensemble action film. I felt like no one was doing that and I couldn't understand why, especially a comic book movie."
She added, "From the very beginning it was a conscious choice of they have to be broken up at this stage. I have a whole backstory in my head [of] what's happened between what you saw at the end of Suicide Squad and what you see at the beginning of Birds of Prey."
The brief scene shot for Birds of Prey with this version of The Joker wasn't actually played by Leto on set with California-based musician Johnny Goth playing the part. It's unclear if Leto himself or even his version of the character will appear in another DC movie down the line, but the actor has already landed a part as a dark Marvel character and will star in Sony's Morbius next year.