They’re a bunch of criminals, they’re all in prison for life, and they’ve got bombs implanted in their necks. The Suicide Squad is the next big project from DC Comics to make the big screen, and one it, and Warner Bros., will be hoping wipes away some of the negativity that surrounded Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
The team itself is a group of anti-social villains who are brought together by government agent Amanda Waller. Their purpose is to carry out missions too dangerous, or too clandestine, for regular special forces troops. On occasion, they’ll be called on to deal with superhuman threats. The movie has assembled an impressive cast, and trailers have hinted at an ensemble movie heavy on the more supernatural side of DC’s continuity, as well as some comedy.
Who though, are The Suicide Squad? Glad you asked…
Floyd Lawton, better known as Deadshot, is played here by Will Smith, and is the de-facto leader of The Suicide Squad (Rick Flag, who we’ll get to shortly, is “in command”, but Deadshot is the most senior member of the non government members of the team. Deadshot is a master assassin, adversary of Batman, but has more recently been adapted into the anti-hero role in the comic book continuity. He’s got a pretty dark past, at one point having a son who was brutally murdered, parents who hated one another and being haunted by a daughter he never knew he had but he knows he can never be with. Deadshot’s primary trait is his disregard for his own life. He doesn’t want to commit suicide, but he doesn’t care if he dies or not. He never misses, and has an unerring aim – meaning he rarely gets on with competitors in his field like Deathstroke and Captain Boomerang (who we’ll also get too later). In the movie, Will Smith will probably be a little more free with the one liners than Deadshot is on the printed page. We also know the movie features his daughter in some way, as she’s appeared in the trailers. It’ll also be interesting to see if his off-on relationship with Harley Quinn is translated to the film, as it becomes a key part of the animosity between Harley and the Joker in the more recent Suicide Squad comics, and also in the animated movie Batman: Assault on Arkham. Expect to see some flirting between Deadshot and Harley at the very least.
Originally created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm as part of the Batman: Animated Series continuity, Harley Quinn is far more than just The Joker’s love interest/sidekick – even though that was what she was always intended to be. Her real name is the improbable Harleen Quinzel. A psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum, she becomes fascinated with The Joker and eventually falls in love with him. She helps him escape the confines of the facility and becomes his partner in crime, donning a jester’s outfit that has been jettisoned in the movie for something closer to her appearance in the Arkham series of games. She became so popular that she was incorporated into the comics and has had several ongoing series of her own, being a foil for The Joker, enjoying a romance with Poison Ivy and more recently being part of The Suicide Squad itself. Margot Robbie is an interesting choice to play her, but from the trailers at least she seems to have got the lunacy of the character right.
A leading contender for the most ludicrous name in comics, George “Digger” Harkness also has one of the most bizarre skill sets: He can throw boomerangs with unerring accuracy – and yes, they do come back. He modifies them to be laced with explosives, have razor sharp edges, and generally be pretty nasty. In the books, he’s half-Australian, half-American, is a perennial enemy of The Flash, and a thorn in the side of Deadshot when he ends up in The Suicide Squad. His scheming, backstabbing side doesn’t look prevalent from the trailers, but his loutish, thug-like behaviour certainly does. Jai Courtney is playing him in the movie, who hasn’t impressed in stony-faced roles in Jack Reacher and Terminator Genisys, but expect him to have more of a laugh here.
Waylon Jones isn’t the type of chap you invite round for tea. Mainly because he’d eat you. Killer Croc has gone through lots of incarnations as an enemy of Batman over the years, from scaly muscled man to huge, reptilian monster. The more toned down approach is the one that’s been adopted for the movie, with Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje operating under heavy make-up as the Suicide Squad’s muscle. Croc is a pretty lonely guy in the books, who has a form of atavism from a young age, slowly devolving him into a proto-reptile. He murders his aunt after she abuses him while bringing him up, and eventually tries to make his way as a crime boss in Gotham City. His early appearances make him out to be a shadowy manipulator, but as his condition has worsened, Croc has become more and more of a blunt instrument, being manipulated by other, cleverer villains like The Joker and Riddler. Croc though, does have a softer side, particularly when it comes to orphans like him. He’ll often be found caring for the homeless and alone in Gotham, but it’ll be his more brutal aspects that’ll come out in the movie.
The name has been used by many DC Comics characters, but the most recent, and most popular, is the one you’ll find in the movie. Chato Santana is a former LA gang member who meets the original El Diablo in hospital, inheriting his power. That power is the ability to generate and direct white hot flames (Hence the “El Diablo” name), His reluctance to get involved in violence sets him apart from the rest of the Suicide Squad, but when riled, he proves one of the most dangerous members of the team due to his natural armaments. The trailers have already hinted he’ll be unsure of his role and may err towards pacifism, which would make an interesting dynamic with the other members.
Not actually a member of the Suicide Squad, but included in the movie mainly due to her mystical abilities and intriguing backstory. June Moone (yep, that’s really her name), has a chequered history within the comics, disappearing for years at a time. She’s appeared in books about the Suicide Squad itself, Supergirl, Green Lantern and John Constantine. She’s imbued with magical powers by an ancient evil that transforms her into an all-powerful mystic. She hovers over the line between good and evil, but more often than not is a baddie – she may even be a wild card in the pack when it comes to who the real villain is in the movie (we know The Joker is just one of them). Cara Delevingne though could do with a little more clothing, as in the promotional material she isn’t wearing a lot.
Not one of the very well known members of DC’s roster, Christopher Weiss has been another on-off member of the Suicide Squad, with his speciality being able to use ropes and grapples to capture and kill targets. He also developed a special adhesive that allows his ropes to become unbreakable. Originally a villain for the hero Firestorm, Slipknot pops up in other people’s books but is most famous for his appearances as Captain Boomerang’s ill fated partner in the Suicide Squad books. In various incarnations, he almost always has his arm broken, burned, maimed or even blown off, so that’s something for Adam Beach to look forward to when playing him.
Again, not actually a member of the Suicide Squad, but the bodyguard of team leader Rick Flag (who we’ll come to next). Katana’s real name is Tatsu Yamashiro, and her long history is borne from fighting her brother-in-law after he murdered her husband and children. The blade that killed them, the “Soultaker”, is now her weapon. It’s possessed of mystical powers that can cut through any material. Her combat skills have come from extensive training from Batman, something that may be alluded to in the movie. She’ll be played by Karen Fukuhara, and will likely be just as much of an active combatant as the other members of the team if the trailers are anything to go by.
Three DC characters have carried the name Rick Flag – all related. Rick Flag Sr. was the commander of the World War II era “Suicide Squadron”, a precursor to the current team in the books, but the more famous version is his son, who carries the same name (or is actually a soldier brainwashed into believing he is, depending on what book you read). Flag Jr. is appointed the field commander of the Suicide Squad by Amanda Waller (someone else we’ll get to next). He had previously commanded “Task Force X” – another precursor to the current set up, and the Suicide Squad’s actual military designation – which was a covert military unit, and hates the idea of being in charge of a group of criminals. He eventually loses his mind and sacrifices himself in trying to stop a bomb detonating. Robocop star Joel Kinnaman plays him in the movie (after Tom Hardy dropped) out it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that a similar fate awaits him.
The master manipulator behind the whole project. The Suicide Squad is her idea, with its aims twofold: One is to further her own power, but Waller is, in her own mind, a fervent patriot, and believes that the superhero community is not to be trusted. Therefore her second motive is to create a contingency against the possibility of Superman and his chums deciding they want to take over the world. Waller though, is not dim enough to believe she could do this with public backing, so her projects inevitably end up in the shadows – with Task Force X being one of them. In some incarnations he desire to be in charge of The Suicide Squad, is because of her involvement in missions where people close to her died, hence she requires expendable troops. Waller is ruthless, and thinks nothing of detonating the bombs the team has implanted in their necks as a way to keep other in line. Her uneasy relationship with Batman is likely to be highlighted in the movie, where she’ll be played by Viola Davis, as The Dark Knight is responsible for capturing many of the criminals involved, only for her to press them into government service.
And now we come to the wild card. The latest actor to take on the persona of the Man Who Laughs is Jared Leto, following in the footsteps of Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, Mark Hamill and many more. Leto’s Joker is influenced heavily by the most recent incarnation of the character in the comics, where writer Scott Snyder has turned him into a terrifying force of nature. The Joker’s connection to The Suicide Squad centres around his relationship with Harley Quinn. He’s the abusive boyfriend who Harley can’t help going back to no matter how badly he treats her. A rivalry with Deadshot, who also sometimes hold Harley’s affections, is on the cards, but the most interesting part of his inclusion in the film will come in his interactions with Ben Affleck’s Batman. Each Dark Knight is defined by his Joker, and much of how successful Leto is will depend on the threat he poses to Bruce Wayne’s alter ego.