Much of Jared Leto‘s role as the Joker in Suicide Squad didn’t make it to the final film, surprising even the actor himself. Some of that material left on the cutting room floor lives on through behind-the-scenes materials, but director David Ayer offered fans more information on the original plans for the Clown Prince of Gotham City.
In the film, which follows DC’s “Task Force X” of supervillains executing a covert mission for the government, the Joker drops best gal Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) from a helicopter. The aircraft crashes and it’s unclear in that moment what happens to him (until the ending).
As Ayer explained over Twitter, Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) would have “made a deal with him” so that Joker could “take Harley home and be ‘King of Gotham'” at the end of the film. “Harley stood up to him and refused to betray her new friends,” Ayer tweeted. “The Squad turned on him and he escaped.”
This was meant to highlight Harley’s character arc of “growth and empowerment.” Instead, Harley leaves the chopper crash site; rejoins with Deadshot (Will Smith), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), and the others; and stops Enchantress from destroying the world.
Among the many points of contention with Suicide Squad, critics and fans pointed to the lack of Joker in the film. Addressing the matter in a note posted to social media after the film’s release, Ayer wrote, “Wish I had a time machine. I’d make Joker the main villain and engineer a more grounded story. I have to take the good and bad and learn from it. I love making movies and I love DC [Comics]. I’m a high school dropout and used to paint houses for a living. I’m lucky to have the job I have. I have to give the characters the stories and plots they deserve. Real talk.”
Warner Bros. is currently developing a sequel to Suicide Squad, a Joker-Harley Quinn movie, a Gotham City Sirens film, another Harley-centric spin-off, and a solo Joker film. So there are plenty of other opportunities to flesh out the mad clown.