Whether you like it or not, the next version of the Joker to hit the big screen is an inked, unhinged psychopath with a look that suits his outrageous behaviour. He's no wilting flower, will not be able to blend into a crowd, and that's exactly the point.
Jared Leto's take on the character has already had more than its fair share of criticism - not only because of his look but also because of rumours of odd on-set behaviour. He's quickly emerged as an acquired taste and you could be forgiven for thinking that everything, from design to carefully leaked stories have been designed to provoke a reaction from fans. We're supposed to hate him.
There's definitely a clever plan at play with his look at least: his various outfits are all based in some way on classic comic moments and now David Ayer has confirmed to Yahoo! Movies UK - as suspected - that all of his tattoos refer to key moments in his history.
The tattoos tell a very specific story. And eventually people will decipher them and understand whats going on, but obviously theyre contentious, any time you do something new its contentious. Theres very specific stories and Easter eggs in those tattoos. And even his teeth, theres an entire story behind that which is absolutely canon. Its putting his history on his body. This Joker is a little more working class, who I believe could live in our world.
The real world too plays a part, with the mentality of gang and prison tattoos adopted to tell short-hand tales of what made him.
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. 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. Its a great way to understand the lifestyle of a villain."
Going on the director's logic, every one of Joker's markings has a history on the page, so it's time we decoded exactly where each of them comes from, broken down by where they appear on his body...
Where better to start than the most contentious of all Joker's tattoos: the one emblazoned across his forehead.
There's a theory that suggests that the tattoo was not self-inflicted (after all, look at how perfect the scripting is - there's no way he did it to himself), but was added as a reminder of a moment of inferiority. From there, thinking splits: it could either be the mark of one of Blackwater's more over-zealous guards (the trailers show Ike Barinholtz's Alpha 01 guard to be your typical power-tripper). The fact that Mr J is then seen torturing a guy with a goatee could suggest he seeks specific revenge for that treatment.
Then there's the possibility that the Joker IS Jason Todd, and the Damaged tattoo was added as a brand by the real Joker as a constant reminder of what he did to him.