After Marvel had been absolutely dominating the box office the past few years, DC is starting to step up to the plate and trying to replicate that studio’s success.
Though Warner Brothers and DC had a huge hit with the Dark Knight trilogy, that series is over and they’ve been struggling to catch up with Marvel ever since. The first movie released in their new cinematic universe was 2013’s Man of Steel, which grossed $291 million at the domestic box office. That doesn’t sound too bad, but keep in mind Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy made $333 million. The movie starring a bunch of characters nobody really knows, including a talking raccoon and a tree, beat the movie about arguably the most popular superhero of all time.
DC now has a massive slate of movies scheduled, one of which is Suicide Squad. This movie seems to be DC’s attempt in some way to emulate the success of Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s also based on a somewhat lesser known comic series, it’s an ensemble adventure, it stars a group of bad characters, and it’s coming out in August. Suicide Squad was also announced as Guardians was dominating the box office, as if Warner Bros. called an emergency meeting after reading about the success of Guardians and scrambled to figure out how to catch up.
A few years ago, barely anyone knew who Rocket Raccoon or Groot were, and now they’re two of the biggest and most lovable movie characters around. Is it possible the same sort of thing will happen with some of the Suicide Squad characters, a few of whom are pretty obscure?
Suicide Squad will follow a team of supervillains who are recruited by the government to go on dangerous missions in exchange for reduced sentences. Like with The Avengers, Suicide Squad consists of characters all from their own individual comics thrown together. Director David Ayer described it as “Dirty Dozen with supervillains,” according to Slashfilm
In preparation for the movie, and in light of the movie’s recent casting news, let’s get familiar with the film’s cast of characters, who we’ll be meeting in theaters next summer.
Deadshot (Will Smith)
Deadshot originates from the Batman comics, originally appearing in July 1950 as a Batman villain. He’s one of the staples of the Suicide Squad; like Guardians of the Galaxy, the team members of the Suicide Squad are often different in their various incarnations, but Deadshot is usually involved. He’s a completely ruthless assassin who is said to never miss his target. He was actually originally introduced as a wealthy billionaire who tries to emulate the success of Batman, but eventually tries to replace Batman and turn to a life of crime. His real name is Floyd Lawton, and of course, he has a tragic backstory. He grew up with an abusive father who one night tried to attack his brother. Floyd tries to shoot his father but accidentally shoots and kills his brother instead.
If you’re wondering how dark Suicide Squad is going to get, another characteristic of Deadshot is how much he wants to die. That’s part of why he joins the Suicide Squad, because he doesn’t care if he lives or dies, and will often purposely get himself into situations that will probably get him killed so he can go out in a blaze of glory. A lot of times when he survives the mission, he’s disappointed when he wakes up in the hospital. Oh, and one time he tried to blow up a kindergarten class. It’s some pretty dark stuff.
What’s so interesting about Deadshot is that he’s going to be played in the movie by Will Smith. That’s a pretty crazy break from what Smith normally does, almost always playing a likable hero. The closest the actor ever really came to straying from this was in Hancock, but even then the studio supposedly forced director Peter Berg to totally change the last act of the movie because audiences didn’t want to see Will Smith playing a bad character. In Suicide Squad, he’ll be playing a flat out bad person, although the film will likely make us sympathize with him in some way.
Deadshot has appeared in a whole bunch of other DC media including on the CW show Arrow, portrayed on that series by Michael Rowe. The character has also appeared on Smallville and in cartoon series likeJustice League and Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman)
Rick Flag Jr. is a soldier and the leader of the Suicide Squad. Technically there are three Rick Flags, to be exact. Originally, the origin of Rick Flag was that he was a fighter pilot in World War II who lost his entire squadron on a mission. After this, he’s so distraught that he begins to go on suicide missions. That’s the origin of the idea of the Suicide Squad, that it would consist of people who no longer really care if they live or die. Later it’s revealed that this actually happened to Rick Flag’s father, and Rick Flag is really Rick Flag Jr. His father was the leader of the Suicide Squadron, the original version of the Suicide Squad.
Later on, the program was brought back and Rick Flag Jr. was asked to head the team along with his girlfriend Karin Grace, Dr. Hugh Evans and Jess Bright. Unlike some of the other characters here there isn’t too much strange about Rick Flag; he’s just a regular soldier who’s tough and often mentally unstable. He was originally going to be played by Tom Hardy, but the actor pulled out due to scheduling issues. Rick Flag will now be played by Robocop’s Joel Kinnaman.
Rick Flag has appeared on screen in Justice League Unlimited and on Smallville. Suicide Squad will be the first portrayal of the character on film.
Boomerang (Jai Courtney)
Boomerang is a villain from The Flash, originally appearing in 1960, and you’ll never guess what he’s known for. Yep, he fights his enemies with a high tech boomerang. He also has a tragic backstory in that he was an illegitimate son and was raised in poverty. He gained a skill for making boomerangs, eventually working for a toy company promoting them. He begins to commit crimes using boomerangs. It might sound lame, but he’s able to throw them at such a high velocity that he’s able to knock people out with them, and he can modify them to have super cool effects like having them explode upon impact.
Boomerang does not get along well with the rest of the Suicide Squad. For one thing he’s extremely racist, although this probably won’t be adapted into the movie, and he’s also kind of screwing things up a lot, considered to be pretty dangerous and dysfunctional. He’s extremely greedy and a pretty big jerk to the rest of his teammates, often manipulating them to get what he wants or straight up just letting them be harmed. For those of you keeping track at home, so far we have a deadly assassin who tries to murder kids, a mentally unstable soldier, and a greedy jerk who blows people up with boomerangs. This movie is going to be insane.
Enchantress (Cara Delevingne)
Originally an artist named June Moone, Enchantress has an evil side which she tries to keep in check. She’s the first character so far that essentially has magical powers. She joins the Suicide Squad with the offer that they’ll help her control her villainous side, like a magical version of the Hulk. Her powers include healing, teleportation, and basically manipulating anything she wants to with magic. She also has a unique connection to anyone else who uses magic, which often comes in handy on missions where she’s able to establish a telepathic connection with another magical person.
June is constantly trying to control the Enchantress side of her, often failing and destroying the mission because of it. In fact, it’s Deadshot’s job to handle June if she gets out of control, and we know from what we read earlier that he’d have no problem doing that.
That’s the basics of Enchantress, though it gets pretty complicated when it’s later discovered that Enchantress isn’t just another side of June, it’s literally a separate being that is fused with her, and an actual demon rips it out from her and June just disappears for over a decade. She later reappears without the Enchantress persona but still with magical powers, but we’re assuming the movie will focus on her before this happens.
Amanda Waller (Viola Davis)
Amanda Waller is a former congressional aide who proposed the Suicide Squad idea, or at least the idea of bringing back the program. Forming and leading the Suicide Squad, Waller often goes against her orders from Washington to get things done. The Suicide Squad tends to not really get along with her, most notably Captain Boomerang. Despite that, they team tends to stay on her side and support her over Washington, so it’s kind of a love-hate relationship.
If we’re comparing this series to Marvel, Amanda Waller is kind of like the Nick Fury of the Suicide Squad, except much more brash, domineering and somewhat selfish. If you’ve noticed, characters with abrasive personalities who are kind of only in it for themselves is a theme of Suicide Squad.
Amanda Waller has been adapted on screen a bunch of times including on Arrow, where she’s played by Cynthia Addai-Robinson. In that show her character is portrayed as emotionless and immoral, willing to sacrifice the lives of innocent civilians to get things done.
The Joker (Jared Leto)
Not much really needs to be said about the Joker. He’s one of the most famous comic book villains of all time, and one of the only members of the Suicide Squad that we actually know going in. There are so many different incarnations of the Joker that it’s unclear what type of Joker we’ll be seeing in Suicide Squad. It’s also not totally clear if the Joker will actually be a member of the Suicide Squad, as he usually isn’t in the times he has appeared in the comic series. The Joker really isn’t a character that is known for working as part of a team, so having him as part of the actual Suicide Squad missions cooperating with everyone would be pretty odd.
Of course, this will be the first time we see an actor play the Joker on screen since Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight, and so Jared Leto has tremendous shoes to fill. A lot of fans felt Ledger’s performance as the Joker was the best ever and could never be topped, so hopefully Leto goes for something completely different with his take on the Joker, not just trying to replicate Ledger’s version. After the psychopathic version we saw in The Dark Knight.
Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie)
Harley Quinn is also pretty well known, though maybe not quite the household name that the Joker is. The character actually first appeared in Batman: The Animated Series and become so popular she was added to the comic books later on. Harley is the Joker’s accomplice/girlfriend, who according to the comics was an Arkham Asylum psychiatrist. She volunteered to do some testing on the Joker and becomes fascinated with him, eventually falling in love. She has superhuman strength and agility too thanks to an antitoxin given to her by Poison Ivy. She’s completely and totally insane, sometimes making the Joker seem like the sane one in comparison.
Suicide Squad will actually mark the first time we ever see Harley Quinn portrayed in a live action movie. She was originally going to appear as a villain in Joel Schumacher’s Batman Triumphant, but after Batman and Robin totally bombed, the movie was cancelled. The character has appeared on Arrowin a brief cameo appearance, but has not yet had a full-fledged role on the show. She also had a major role in the Batman: Arkham Asylum video game.
It’s pretty exciting then that we’re going to get to see Margot Robbie portray her in Suicide Squad. Unlike characters like the Joker who we’ve seen dozens of times, Harley Quinn is brand new for superhero movies, and it’s about time we get to see the character done right on the big screen.