All the trailers for Birds of Prey so far have shown us one thing: Harley Quinn and the Joker are through. The Clown of Prince of Crime and his partner might no longer be together in the latest movie, but that still leaves us plenty of questions. We know the DCEU and its continuity can be quite inconsistent and confusing for some compared to the MCU.

The Birds of Prey

This makes the audience wonder if Harley Quinn’s puddin’ might make an appearance in her latest movie. The most pressing question, however, is which Joker version will make it in the movie if he does: Jared Leto or Joaquin Phoenix? Lucky for us, the jumbled, puzzling mess that is the DCEU does provide some clarity this time in Birds of Prey. We know that the Joker IS in the movie, but not the way most people would imagine it.

What the Joker looks like in Birds of Prey

Disappointingly, Birds of Prey manages to reduce Joker’s visibility even more compared to Suicide Squad. The Joker’s cameo comes in the form of a refurbished Suicide Squad scene, the one in which Harley dives into an acid vat. What we can see is just the Joker’s head, the Jared Leto one, from behind right before Harley makes the leap.

Harley Quinn and "puddin'"

From that point on, there is nothing left of the Joker that could be seen for the whole movie. Even for cameos, it’s pretty underwhelming. Although, the question of “Is Joker in Birds of Prey?” does get an answer for those of you looking hard for it.

Is Joaquin Phoenix in it?

Joaquin Phoenix as Joker

After all, the latest version of Joker by Joaquin Phoenix isn’t exactly in the “proper” DCEU. Even if it was made quite clear by the creators of 2019’s Joker that the movie is not from the same universe, there are many reasons to remain skeptical. For instance, the Batman movies messed around quite a bit with consistency and established canon.

Therefore, it’s not impossible to imagine the latest Joker being there somehow. Although, based on how things are at the moment, Joaquin’s Joker most likely won’t be touching the standard DCEU in the near future.

The Joker's future

The Three Jesters of Genocide

Besides, Jared’s Joker forms a part of the canon for the cinematic universe, though the involvement of the actor himself is a big question mark. We know that Suicide Squad 2 (or rather 2.0, since it’s a total reboot), won’t be featuring Jared Leto or the Joker. The next Batman movie from Matt Reeves also does away with the Clown Prince of Crime.

We don’t know whether Reeves’ Batman is part of the DCEU orthodoxy or takes the route of a universe spin-off like Joker. But nothing so far indicates that a separate Joker like that of Joaquin Phoenix would join the cast of any future DCEU movie.

Keep that frown upside down and wait for the next great Joker portrayal

Final verdict? The future of the Joker in the DCEU is most likely one with a lot of shiny grills and forehead tattoos that say “Damaged”. You might not like how the future looks a fan of the smiling super-villain, but the ship has sailed.

Doesn't mean you should completely count this DCEU Joker out, when Joaquin Phoenix has proven that a character is as good as it is allowed to be. With stronger writing and a fitting actor to fill the role, the Joker can certainly bounce back from the rather disappointing appearance in Suicide Squad. So keep your chin up and just "smile."

Birds of Prey is in theaters now. Check out the latest trailer below.