Suicide Squad was what you might charitably call a challenging movie for some. Released a few months after the extraordinarily divisive Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad appeared to have received some overzealous editing in an attempt to distance itself from its DCEU predecessor and to perhaps paint its story of supervillains and antiheroes in a more appetizing, Guardians of the Galaxy style light.
Honestly, I don’t have much of a problem with Suicide Squad and enjoyed it quite a bit on my first viewing, but it’s certainly not a movie that sticks with you, nor is it one I’ve had much of a desire to revisit since. But one thing that always confused me was the use of the Joker in the film. He’s not an antagonist, he’s primarily used in flashbacks, and his appearances in the “present” as a background threat/motivating force for Harley Quinn always seemed a little unclear.
Fans have long suspected that the whole Joker and Harley story was one of the victims of the editing process, and director David Ayer seems to have confirmed that in a recent exchange on Twitter with a fan…
He followed it up by saying that this would have added to Harley’s arc, which was supposed to include more “growth and empowerment.” It’s certainly something the movie could have used. The storytelling shorthand that has long been acceptable when describing Harley’s relationship with the Joker doesn’t really cut it anymore, and audiences demand more from a character they have come to see as a hero. It’s not clear if this would have really solved any of the issues with the Harley/Joker relationship in the movie, but it does seem like kind of a shame that this is one of the things that ended up not making the final cut.
At this point, the idea of an “Ayer Cut” for Suicide Squad seems almost as unlikely as ever seeing the mythical “Snyder Cut” for Justice League. But David Ayer is often quite candid with fans on social media about the process that goes into making his movies, and he’s worth a follow on Twitter. Suicide Squad 2 begins production later this year, but without Ayer in the director’s chair. Instead, he’ll direct a Gotham City Sirens movie. It’s not clear if he’s involved with the planned Joker/Harley Quinn movie as well.