That's right, the Clow Prince of Crime is making its fifth consecutive appearance in an Arkham-verse project (if we count Batman: Arkham Origins, that is). Ever since his introduction in Batman: Arkham Asylum, many fans have considered Rocksteady's version of the Joker to be one of the best portrayals of the character. That is in great part due to Mark Hamil's flawless and chilling performance, as well as his well-written lines.
Thanks to the Joker's insane popularity, it shouldn't come as a surprise he'll make a return in Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. Except there's just one minor problem: Batman's archnemesis is dead in Rocksteady's video-game universe.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League takes place in the same world where all of the events of the Batman Arkham games came to be. Long-time fans of the saga know the Joker met his demise in Batman: Arkham City, the second entry of the franchise. He did make a return afterward in Batman: Arkham Knight but only as a hallucination provoked by Scarecrow's toxins. The real Joker's body was cremated in the opening sequence of Rocksteady's final chapter in the cape crusader's saga. So with this in mind, why are we so sure the Clown Prince of Crime will make a return? Well, take a look for yourself:
While we can't be certain the Joker will be a part of the game's main campaign, he'll be a part of its post-launch content. So how can a man that's already dead make a comeback? Is the Lazarus Pit involved? Will it be an impostor posing as the Joker? Or is there some other explanation involved? Before we can answer any of those questions, there's an important hidden detail in Rocksteady's concept art that needs to be discussed first, which can be seen more clearly here:
The Joker's design is completely different from that of his previous appearances in the Arkham games. Coupled with the fact that the Clown Prince of Crime we all used to know is dead, it's safe to say this is a different version of the famous supervillain.
Alternate realities and Flash re-writing time
As its name indicates, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League sees DC's dysfunctional group of villains actually kill the likes of Batman, Green Lantern, and Superman. However, many fans have theorized Rocksteady wouldn't actually kill its entire universe of heroes in one single project, and that maybe there's some way all of the game's events can be undone before the credits roll.
A popular theory is that Flash goes back in time, re-writing history and preventing Brainiac from ever invading Earth. Maybe this scenario plays just like in The Flash big-screen movie, where Barry's messing with the timeline results in alternate versions of famous DC characters taking the place of the counterparts we all used to know and love. That's why the Joker could be released as post-campaign content since players would need to beat the main narrative of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League first for him to appear as an alternate version of Mark Hamill's character.
Another popular theory is that (like a lot of superhero projects nowadays) the multiverse is involved in some capacity. Maybe the version of the Joker Rocksteady will use in their latest project is from a different Earth than that where the Arkham-verse takes place. Not only is this the best explanation as to how he'll be able to return, but as to why he would look different as well.
Only time will tell how Rocksteady will bring back the Clown Prince of Crime from the death. Good news is we won't have to wait long to figure it out. Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League will release on February 2, 2024, on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.