David Ayer Explains Joker’s ‘Damaged’ Tattoo In ‘Suicide Squad’

Suicide Squad David Ayer Jared Leto Joker Damaged

One of the more…well, interesting aesthetic choices for the Joker in Suicide Squad was to have a tattoo that read “Damaged” plastered on his forehead. To get all editorial for a moment, it’s not a stylistic decision that I personally like because I find it to be a bit of an eyesore, but other than that, Jared Leto does feel and move a lot like the Joker for most of the scenes in which we see him. Still, it’s a decision that director David Ayer decided upon and I can’t really get angry over it because it’s merely a tattoo.

But since the release of Suicide Squad both in theaters and on home release, David Ayer has had some thoughts on what he would have done differently with the film and with the Joker specifically. This past weekend, Ayer has been answering some questions and giving his take on the assembled cut of Suicide Squad and the finalized version that hit theaters. Among the questions he received was the inspiration behind the “Damaged” tattoo on the Joker. And Ayer admitted that even he considers it a step too far, as you can see in the tweet below:

Now, if David Ayer regrets his decision to put the “Damaged” tattoo on the Joker, that’s his call to make. He’s made quite a number of honest admissions in regards to Suicide Squad and fans, for the most part, have been receptive to his views on the film since its release.

But we aren’t finished here yet. While Ayer may regret the tattoo he chose for the Joker, one user suggested he merely own it. After all, again, while I myself may not be a fan of the tattoo from an aesthetic point of view, there are many out there who do. What one person dislikes may be another’s favorite, as this user put it. And indeed, David Ayer opened up on the explanation for the tattoo, saying the tattoo is meant for Batman after the Dark Knight smashed in Joker’s teeth in retaliation for the death of Jason Todd.

As David Ayer put it, originality and faithfulness to the canon are often at odds. Indeed, many adaptations are criticized for straying too far from canon- even if the director has their own vision in mind- while some feel the adaptation is not faithful enough. Fans are fickle and nitpicky, if you hadn’t noticed. Anyway, here’s Ayer’s explanation for the tattoo:

Perhaps by the time Leto suits up as the Joker once again, the Clown Prince of Crime gets some form of surgery that removes it. It’s the Joker. He probably wouldn’t register any potential pain anyway. But what do you think of the Joker’s “Damaged” tattoo in Suicide Squad? Love it? Hate it? Or somewhere in between, maybe? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Directed by David Ayer, Suicide Squad was released in 2016 and starred Cara Delevingne, Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Ike Barinholtz, and Scott Eastwood. The film is available now on Digital HD, 4K, Blu-Ray, and DVD.

Omari Daniels

Omari Daniels

Guy mostly into journalism and interested in geek culture. So...why not write about it? Get the best of both worlds that way.

  • Thought the Damaged on his forehead was a bit on the nose. But it didn’t kill the character for me. It was more the way Leto played him. He was a bit too cartoonish and over-sexualized for my taste. But at least it was original and a new take on the character.

    • It was the fact that he spoke like the Cowardly Lion dressed as a Street Pimp instead of a Homicidal Clown hell-bent on having a good laugh at someone else’s expense. Ayers depiction was by far the worst on screen and Leto’s performance only exacerbated it.

  • Neuromancer

    The Joker, a hyper realistic almost beast like creature would never sit down and let himself be tattooed for hours on in, Hes hyper sane, not insane or a trend follower, frankly I don’t think the joker would care about personal hygiene or grooming, so It make no sense that the character even HAS tattoos.

    We have yet to see the version from the comics on screen, and no TDK joker was not the definitive joker, leto is the closest we have ever gotten, so Ill give ayer that.

    If they took letos look(without tattoos) and mark hamils personality, we would have the perfect joker.

    But they cant even give us a batman film that isn’t based in our reality or the DC universe, talk about a total *uck Up on WBs end.