Is The Joker In Birds Of Prey Or Not? (Spoilers!)
8th February 2020
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Harley has made it abundantly obvious that she and the Joker are done in every trailer for Birds of Prey. The two members of Gotham’s most infamous clown royal family of crime have officially called it quits. But, considering just how strange the DCEU’s continuity and shared universe actually are (at least, compared to the MCU), we can’t fault anyone for wondering if Mr. J is going to show up in some capacity for Harley’s new movie. And, perhaps even more importantly, which version of Joker would be around, given the fact that Joaquin Phoenix is the most recent person to take on the role?

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Thankfully, Birds of Prey has a relatively simple solution for such a weird, tangled web of interconnected stories. Is The Joker in Birds of Prey? Yes–but probably not in the way you’d expect.

In truth, Joker’s cameo in the movie comes care of some re-used Suicide Squad footage. The scene in which Harley is thrown into the vat at Ace Chemicals has been recut for this movie, meaning that we do get to see part of the back of Joker’s head–Jared Leto Joker, that is–just before Harley makes her swan dive. We never actually see his face or any other part of him for that matter–so, as far as cameos are concerned, it’s really not much. Still, it does confirm some things that may or may not have been gnawing at the back of your brain. (Check out our Birds of Prey Easter eggs roundup for more references you might have missed.)

For one, Joaquin Phoenix is definitely not the Joker in the “main” DCEU. Not that anyone involved with that movie ever tried to insist that he was–but still, given how jumbled the landscape is with Batman movies in particular, it wasn’t necessarily outside the realm of possibility. But now it’s looking more like Joker, the movie, is entirely separate from movies like Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Birds of Prey, and Shazam and nothing that happened in it will have any bearing on the DCEU moving forward.

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Second, Jared Leto’s Joker is still, functionally, canon for the larger DCEU, even if the actor won’t be reprising the role any time soon (at least, that we know of). James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad reboot has already released a cast list, and, despite it being huge, Leto was not included. Similarly, Matt Reeves’ Batman film has confirmed a cast that does not involve Joker at all. We still don’t know where Reeves’ film will fall in the DCEU at large, or if it’ll take a similar approach to Joker and remain completely isolated, but those are the two movies in which we’d likely see a Joker appearance if one was in the works.

So, if you’re trying to keep track of who’s who in the DCEU, your best bet when trying to understand what’s going on with Mr. J is to just keep picturing the face-tattoos and diamond grills of Leto’s Joker for, well, the foreseeable future. Trust us, we’re not stoked on it either, but them’s the breaks.

Birds of Prey is in theaters now and according to our Birds of Prey review, it’s a “top-tier action” flick with “witty humor” and a “fantastic ensemble cast.”

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