It is no secret that Jared Leto is playing The Joker in the upcoming Suicide Squad film. For this incarnation of the character, the actor’s preparation for the role is a much bigger topic of interest. We’ve been given tiny bits of information about Leto’s transformation into The Joker but today we were given a sneak-peek that will appeal to even the most die-hard fans.
The picture below was tweeted out by Suicide Squad director David Ayer:
If you are unaware of what this picture is referencing, ComicBook.com has provided us with an excellent image explaining the reference:
Still lost? Alright, lets break down the significance of this. *(Spoiler Warning)*
In the picture above, on the right side is the cover of what is considered “THE definitive Joker story,” The Killing Joke. The Killing Joke is a one-shot graphic novel written by the great Alan Moore and illustrated by Brian Bolland. Within this story is what is widely accepted as the Joker’s actual origin story, the shooting of Barbara Gordon, the kidnapping and torture of Commissioner Gordon, and the final pages contain the iconic joke shared between The Joker and The Batman.
With the great caveat stated by the Joker himself, “I’m not exactly sure what happened. Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another… If I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!” The Killing Joke tells the Joker’s origin as a desperate man taking a job with the Red Hood gang in an attempt to get some cash. On this job the group that The Joker is with runs into Batman and the man that will be The Joker falls into a vat of chemicals. This man wakes up from the incident transformed into The Joker due to the combination of the chemicals and the stress put upon him from the life he was living.
This story jumps to the present day where The Joker has unknowingly escaped from Arkham Asylum; he even made it out undetected by Batman. Batman finds out he escaped by trying to speak with him about ending the madness they have been entertaining since they met – only to discover he has spoken to an impostor. Meanwhile, the real Joker has taken over an amusement park and then taken a visit to Commissioner Gordon’s home.
At the Gordon residence, Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) answers the door to a knocking Joker, who then proceeds to shoot her. The bullet hits Barbara’s spine, rendering her paralyzed; an incident that will cause Barbara to stay away from crime fighting for some time, eventually returning in a wheel-chair as Batman’s computer and technology expert Oracle. (Note: since The New 52 Barbara Gordon has recovered her mobility and taken back the role of Batgirl.)
After the shot, The Joker’s men beat and kidnap Commissioner Gordon while The Joker undresses Barbara Gordon and takes pictures of her bloodied body. (Hence the camera-wielding Joker on the cover and the scene that Jared Leto in paying homage to) Back at the amusement park, The Joker further beats and mentally tortures Commissioner Gordon by displaying large pictures that he took of Barbara.
Batman is invited to the amusement park by The Joker himself. When he eventually arrives, he saves Commissioner Gordon and chases The Joker through a fun house. During the chase in the fun house, The Joker has set up many traps for Batman and tries to convince Batman to give up on fighting crime. In his attempt to persuade Batman we get the definitive picture of how The Joker views the world, as a place of inherent madness.
When The Batman finally subdues The Joker and the two are waiting for the Gotham Police Force to arrive, we get the iconic and heartfelt joke that metaphorically explains their relationship; two men escaping from an insane asylum, one jumping to freedom and one afraid to jump. You can find numerous writings, articles, and even full websites dedicated to find the true meaning to the end of this story but they all generally hover around the same scope of meaning.
Now you get a better picture as to why this picture of Jared Leto is significant, whether is was meant to be or not. If Leto and Ayer are using The Killing Joke as an inspiration and want to pay homage to it in the up coming Suicide Squad film, and if they do it correctly, Leto has a chance at being the next great Joker. With this picture they do get some credit for paying homage to The Killing Joke, but everything depends on the finished product. Now this is all pre-production speculation, but this is something that will wake up even the most die hard fans.
Now all that is to be said: Mr. Leto and Mr. Ayer, now that you have teased us like this and shown us that you are doing your homework, Don’t Let Us Down!