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David Ayer Thinks Suicide Squad Needed More Joker. Will He Feel The Same About Gotham City Sirens?

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In response to a fan’s tweet, Suicide Squad director David Ayer posted a letter about his experience with the film. In the letter, he suggested what he would do if he “had a time machine” and gave some surprisingly heartfelt acknowledgement of the opportunities he’s been given.

“Would I do a lot of things different?” he wrote. “Yep, for sure. 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 have to give the characters the plots they deserve next time. Real talk.”

Now, I appreciate Ayer’s nod to the lack of story and the way that Suicide Squad‘s oppressive stock characters didn’t get the rounding out and development they deserved. However, the last thing I wanted more of in that movie was Jared Leto’s Joker. Leto has received plenty of criticism, so I don’t need to rehash all the talking points in detail. Instead, I’ll direct you to the TMS review of the film.

Generally, I don’t pay too much attention to directors’ post-mortems, because hindsight really is 20/20. However, Ayer’s Joker suggestion raised some red flags for me, because Ayer will be directing the Gotham City Sirens movie. We’ve previously covered how her really screwed up Harley’s character arc in Suicide Squad, even aside from that relationship’s historically problematic and abusive elements.

To make the perfect Gotham City Sirens movie, the Joker needs to be downplayed and the Harley-Ivy relationship should take centerstage (in a not-for-the-male-gaze way, please). It’s possible that Ayer realizes this, and that’s why he would have made the Joker the “villain” of Suicide Squad. Harley could have ended the movie by betraying and/or leaving him, finally liberating herself in time for a new movie and new girlfriend. For now, though, Ayer has to find a way to get rid of him for Sirens–and based on this comment, I can’t figure out if he’ll want to do that. I just don’t understand how anyone could think Leto would have pulled off a meatier, more significant role, given how cringe-y I found his existing scenes. Does Ayer still want to give him a shot at it?

Still, whatever I feel about Ayer’s aesthetics and ideas, I did appreciate his earnestness. “I love making movies and I love DC,” he said, “I’m a High School dropout and used to paint houses for a living. I’m lucky to have the job I have.”

The full letter is below.

(Via io9; image via Warner Brothers Studios)

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