The director of "Suicide Squad" explains what the Joker's tattoos mean, and it involves Batman
Have you seen Suicide Squad yet? If you haven’t best turn back now, because there are spoilers for the film below — and also, basically the rest of the DC Extended Movie Universe, but we’ll get to that in due time. Right now, it’s time to talk about The Joker.
Yes, The Joker. Jared Leto took on the iconic Batman villain for the movie, and while his appearance in the film was heavily hyped (like, seriously, that’s all we heard about for the last year of our lives), fans left the movie still wanting more Joker. Many scene from the film involving him were ultimately cut, never to see the light of day.
But just because scenes in the movie were cut, that doesn’t mean parts of his backstory were. Do you know how and where and why Joker has all those tattoos? I don’t, and I saw Suicide Squad! The underlying story is still in the movie, we just don’t learn about it during the movie.
There’s a good reason why he looks the way he looks — including his shiny teeth — but we’ve got to turn to Suicide Squad’s director, David Ayre, for the answer.
Suicide Squad is directly related to Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and picks up shortly after the events of that movie. In BvS, we learn that Batman’s boy wonder, Robin, has died. In Suicide Squad, we learn that Harley Quinn played a role in his death, and we can assume that Joker played an even BIGGER role in his death.
This is true. Talking to Empire, Ayer revealed that Joker did kill Robin. And then Batman gave the Joker quite a beatdown over the death of his sidekick.
“This is sort of my personal thing and maybe less about a larger connection,” Ayer explained. “But Joker killed Robin and Batman basically smashes his teeth out and locks him up in Arkham Asylum. It’s in the asylum where Joker would have done the ‘damaged’ tattoo as a message to Batman saying, ‘You’ve damaged me. I was so beautiful before and now you’ve destroyed my face.’ That’s where the grill comes from.”
Oh, cool! [whispers] It would have been cool to actually see that in the movie, too! [/end whisper]
Thinking back on the movie, we did actually see two versions of Joker. When Harley Quinn first plunges into that pit of acid (fun!) Joker has no tattoos, and no shiny teeth, and is a totally different Joker. This was obviously pre-death-of-Robin, before Batman beat him up, before he was sent to Arkham, and before he got his tattoos.
There’s lots of talk now about a possible Harley/Joker spin-off movie, and that would be 💯. Maybe one day we’ll actually get to see this big flashback moment between Batman and The Joker with our own eyes!