11:27am PT by Graeme McMillan
'Suicide Squad': No, The Joker Really Isn't A Former Robin Gone Bad
Sorry, DC Entertainment conspiracy theorists — Suicide Squad director David Ayer has gone on record denying the popular rumor that Jared Leto's Joker in the movie is a former sidekick gone bad.
Talking to WSVN-TV's Chris Van Vliet, Ayer said that the most ridiculous rumor he'd heard about his movie was that Leto's Joker was, in fact, Jason Todd — better known to comic book fans as the second Robin, and later the second Red Hood. "It ain't the case!" he said, pointing at the camera. "He's not!"
While the origins of the rumor are buried in the darkest recesses of the fanboy Internet, it quickly gained credibility when the first trailer for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice featured a Robin costume covered in graffiti that seemingly referenced the Joker — "Ha-Ha. The Joke's On You, Batman," it reads — with the owner of the costume later officially identified as Jason Todd.
In comic book lore, Todd's connection to the Joker is well-known; Todd was the Robin killed by the villain as the result of an infamous 1-800 phone vote in 1988, in which comic book fans were invited to choose one of two outcomes for the "Death In The Family" storyline. Given the choice between Robin being seriously injured or being killed by the Joker, fans went for the latter with a narrow 700-vote margin out of over 10,000 votes cast.
This being comics, however, he would later return to life and become an ongoing presence in DC's comic book line in titles such as Red Hood and the Outlaws and Red Hood/Arsenal.
In the video interview, Ayer also addressed rumors that Suicide Squad underwent extensive reshoots to up the humor content of the movie. "I don't think you can do that," he said. "It's like, what, you got a scene where they're all cracking jokes and then you're back in the old scene? It doesn't work like that. The movie was always funny."
Suicide Squad will be released Aug. 5.