New 'Birds of Prey' trailer appears to kill off Jared Leto's Joker

With the guy-heavy super-teams the Avengers and the Justice League disbanded (for now), 2020 is the year where female heroes take over the multiplex in a big way... both in front of and behind the camera.

In a long-overdue first, all four major comic-book movies set to be released this year are directed by women and star some of Hollywood’s leading actresses, including Scarlett Johansson, Gal Gadot and Angelina Jolie.

But it’s Margot Robbie who gets to take the first swing — literally — with Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). Due in cinemas on 7 February, the sort-of Suicide Squad sequel ditches Harley Quinn’s lame male colleagues like Deadshot (Will Smith), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) and, especially, the Joker (the Jared Leto version, not Joaquin Phoenix) in favour of female ruckus-raisers with bad-ass names like Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez).

Read more: How Trainspotting influenced Birds of Prey

With less than a month to go until the film arrives in cinemas, a new trailer hit the web today showing off the united Birds of Prey crew and the team of bad dudes they’re going to be taking down. (Watch the trailer above.)

The Harley-narrated teaser opens with her... um, explosive break-up with “Mr. J,” which involves her steering a truck straight into an Ace Chemical plant — the place responsible for his extreme makeover — blasting it to smithereens.

There’s no on-screen proof of death, but that hasn’t stopped Twitter from effectively burying Leto’s Joker without any “RIP” messages.

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn in Birds of Prey. (Warner Bros.)
Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn in Birds of Prey. (Warner Bros.)

For the record, Robbie has confirmed that Leto won’t be in Birds of Prey, and the fact that the actor reportedly ripped Warner Bros. for releasing Phoenix’s Joker and has since joined Sony’s Spider-verse with this summer’s Morbius suggests he’s given up being the Clown Prince of Crime in favor of a career as a Living Vampire.

The newly single Harley quickly proves a magnet for other Gotham City criminal types, including Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor), who is finally seen modelling the black mask that gives him his super-villain name.

Black Mask also has beef with each one of Harley’s new allies, which leads to the formation of the titular super group.

And it’s a good thing that the Birds of Prey are protecting Gotham’s streets, because the city’s Dark Knight is MIA, presumably undergoing his metamorphosis from Ben Affleck to Robert Pattinson. On the other hand, Bruce Wayne is in the movie... kind of: Harley names her pet hyena Bruce after “that hunky Wayne guy.”

Nice to see that the Cupid of Crime gets the last laugh.

Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) opens in cinemas on 7 February.