2016's Suicide Squad introduced audiences to an array of DC villains, including a now-beloved take on Harley Quinn by Margot Robbie, along with a far less well-received portrayal of the Joker by Jared Leto.
The DCEU's Clown Prince of Crime proved divisive for many due to his minor role, personality, heavily-stylized tattooed appearance, and the actor's performance.
But that wasn't enough to stop 2018's Warner Bros. from beginning development on a solo movie starring Leto's Joker, along with a second film in which he would have faced off with Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn.
Suicide Squad Director Reveals Jared Leto's Joker Regret
In a recent tweet, Suicide Squad director David Ayer revealed one regret he has surrounding Jared Leto's controversial Joker in the 2016 DC blockbuster.
"It was Joker trolling Batman after getting his teeth punched in by him."
The DCEU filmmaker went on to express his regret about the tattoo, calling it the "one aesthetic choice [he wishes he] hadn't made" due to the backlash it garnered:
"It’s the one aesthetic choice I wish I hadn’t made. Caught a lot of smoke for it obviously."
Commenting on the controversial tattoo back in 2018, Ayer admitted he does "like it," but noted that "originality and faithfulness to the canon are often at odds:"
"I like it. In my mind it was meant for Batman after he smashed Joker teeth for killing Jason Todd, some people found it alienating. Originality and faithfulness to the canon are often at odds. Batman and Joker are my two favorite characters ever."
Interestingly, this tattoo was no longer present on Leto's Joker when he made his second, and final, DCEU appearance during the Knightmare ending of Zack Snyder's Justice League. The rest of the Joker's tattoos that coated the Clown Prince of Crime's body were covered up through clothing in the scene as well.
Ayer also responded to another follower on Twitter who called Leto's Joker "the biggest letdown since crystal Pepsi," to which the director blamed Warner Bros.' studio interference that famously plagued Suicide Squad:
"That’s what happens when you hack a performance and character arc to pieces. I’m sorry that’s all you were allowed to see. Now your mind is closed to the truth."
Why Jared Leto’s Joker Was Over-hated
The tattoos that coated Jared Leto's Joker were mainly controversial as they marked a major deviation from his comic design. However, they actually fit quite well into the DCEU given how Ben Affleck's Batman was extremely violent, so the "damaged" marker cleverly signifies all the heavy beatings he has likely received.
Unfortunately, Leto never seems like he got a fair shot at the Joker, with his only somewhat major role coming in 2016's Suicide Squad. But even that was apparently torn to shreds by Warner Bros. as David Ayer has said before that Leto was "mistreated" and his true performance was "ripped out of the movie:"
"Jared was pretty mistreated during this. No one has seen his performance. It was ripped out of the movie."
Zack Snyder's Justice League finally gave Leto a real chance at being the Joker, devoid of studio interference, as he got to play opposite Ben Affleck's Batman, albeit briefly. That scene ultimately received far higher praise from fans and critics, leaving many wondering where his character could have gone.
But alas, that's something fans will likely never know, as James Gunn's recasting of Affleck's Batman for the DCU points toward an all-new Joker coming on board. Whoever tackles this role will presumably have to exist alongside The Batman's Barry Keoghan and Joker's Joaquin Phoenix, assuming their stories continue.
Suicide Squad is streaming now on HBO Max.