The initial reaction to all the various tattoos seen on Jared Leto's Joker in the upcoming Suicide Squad was mixed at best. His character is extremely over the top in a way fans haven't seen before, and his inked-up appearance took some getting used to.
Turns out that Joker's tattoos are more than just eye-catching. As revealed by David Ayer in a new interview with Yahoo Movies, each piece of Joker's peculiar appearance tells a story about the character's off-screen past.
"The tattoos tell a very specific story and eventually people will decipher them and understand what's going on, but obviously they're contentious, any time you do something new it's contentious," Ayer says. "There's very specific stories and Easter eggs in those tattoos. And even his teeth, there's an entire story behind that which is absolutely canon. It's putting his history on his body. This Joker is a little more working class, who I believe could live in our world."
Ayer continues by saying that Joker's Suicide Squad look was inspired by real-world drug lords.
"A lot of it has to do with creating a character with some kind of history and footprint in our world and not have this sacrosanct being outside of our continuum, our reality," he says. "If a guy like him really existed today, where would he come from? How would he do business? Who would he know? What would he look like? In my mind, I took a lot of inspiration from drug lords on Instagram. It's a great way to understand the lifestyle of a villain."
Joker wearing his history on his sleeve is an interesting take on the villain that will allow fans to dive deeper into this version of the character's past. It seems the DC cinematic universe is making it a point to include various Easter eggs to past events. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice featured a few references to the Joker, including the appearance of a graffitied Robin costume that implies the sidekick met his end at the hands of the clown prince of crime. Might one of Joker's tattoos in Suicide Squad allude to Robin's death? Perhaps Robin broke some of Joker's teeth, resulting in the metal mouth he can be seen sporting in trailers and images from the film? Maybe Joker simply eats way too much candy?
It remains to be seen exactly how much Suicide Squad will reveal about the Joker's past, but that won't stop fans from piecing together the character's history all the same. Suicide Squad is in theaters Aug. 5.