A day and change after the first cast photo for DC’s upcoming Suicide Squad film popped up online minus its lead villain, we now have our first look at Jared Leto’s version of iconic Batman villain The Joker. Seen here, a photo tweeted late last night by Suicide Squad director David Ayer, showing off Leto’s dyed-green hair and what looks to be white face paint, obscured of course by the camera Leto is peering through.
It looks familiar for a reason. The photo is a direct homage to the cover of Batman: The Killing Joke, Alan Moore’s seminal 1988 Batman story that explored the origin of the caped crusader’s biggest arch enemy. Notable for its attempt to reconcile 50 years’ worth of contradictory origin stories for The Joker into a single, deliberately incoherent backstory, the comic also saw Batgirl shot in the gut and subsequently paralyzed. She would as a result spend the next 23 years of DC Comics history as the wheelchair-bound Oracle.
Any direct connection between the new version of the Batman mythology being created for the DC cinematic universe, and The Killing Joke, is a matter of speculation only. But it’s notable that Warner Bros. and DC are taking great pains to make it clear that at least tonally, elements are going to be heavily based on the 1980s DC Comics renaissance spearheaded by Moore and Frank Miller. Notably, DC announced the production of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice at Comic-Con 2013 by having actor Harry Lennix read a key passage from Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.