With Comic-Con International 2016 firmly in the past, it's time to turn our attention to the next massive event in pop culture. While the characters that comprise the DC Comics team might have been the furthest thing from household names just a few short years ago, Warner Bros. and DC Films' "Suicide Squad" movie is poised to be one of the year's biggest hits.
Nearly two years after David Ayer was first rumored as director, "Suicide Squad" finally arrives in theaters this Friday. The movie's final trailer was released at Comic-Con, revealing never-before-seen clips of the Joker and Harley Quinn and giving us the last full look -- and further increasing our anticipation -- before we get to see it for ourselves.
10 A satisfying teaser for the Flash
If the "Justice League" trailer is anything to go by, then Ezra Miller's Flash will be every bit as buoyant and snarky as we've come to expect. According to recent news his rendering of the superheroic Barry Allen will appear in "Suicide Squad," leading us to hope that the cameo will provide a little more insight into the new Leaguer.
All things considered, it seems highly likely that the Flash's appearance will be very brief, since he was reportedly added after principal photography was completed, and is included (presumably) to tie "Squad" back to the greater cinematic universe. As an educated guess founded solely on the cast list, the scene may have something to do with the Flash's Rogues gallery, a cooperative of villains who are intent on menacing Allen, and which happens to include Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney).
Whether tied to Boomerang's origin story or not, this appearance marks a significant gain towards DC's mimicking of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And, it provides another excellent opportunity for further easter eggs and fan service, particularly by way of other Rogues. That might be too much to hope for, but hope, as they say, springs eternal.
9 Harley Quinn and Deadshot Hooking Up (Or Not)
It happens in the New 52 "Suicide Squad" comics that kicked off in 2011 and again in 2014's "Batman: Assault on Arkham" animated feature: Harley Quinn and Deadshot go to bed together. In both cases, Harley has embraced her time on the Squad as the first chapter in a new life, even if that life is a bit more bizarre than most people's. Although Deadshot is compelling as an almost-good guy in both cases, he's not so good that he won't have sex with an emotionally (and mentally) unstable woman if she offers. More surprising is the fact that in both stories Deadshot does little to withdraw from Harley after they become intimate, and even allows her to (occasionally) call him her man.
Now, nothing in the promotional materials can be taken as confirmation that Quinn and Deadshot will get romantic, unless you count him carrying her, or the way she smiles at him sometimes. But it's possible that the Warner Bros. is conscious that marketing the film for its sex appeal is not what audiences are looking for, even if they wouldn't mind it in the final product.
Whether or not it would be a positive move for the character is hard to say, but it's always nice to see a nod back to a character's history. In this case, we're happy either way.
8 More info about what happened to Jason Todd
According to filmmakers, the events portrayed in "Suicide Squad" occur after those in "Batman v Superman." In other words, Robin is already dead. According to recent information gleaned from a tour of "Batman v Superman" memorabilia, the eviscerated Robin suit from the film has been confirmed as belonging to Jason Todd.
While fans briefly hoped that Jason Todd might turn out to actually be the Joker -- and we're all still pretty disappointed that he's not -- the best we can hope for now is more information about what happened to Batman's boy wonder. Did the Joker trap Jason in a warehouse and beat him senseless, as in the classic "Death in the Family" arc from 1988? Is there any chance that the hero might return, and bring us the morally-deficient vigilantism we've come to love and expect from the Red Hood? It remains to be seen.
At the very least, we can hope that the Joker will brag about it.
7 Some connection to Darkseid
It's official: Director Zack Snyder has confirmed that Steppenwolf will be the major villain in "Justice League: Part One," rather than Darkseid. Although this came as a surprise to many, it also doesn't preclude the god-like villain from appearing in the universe later. In fact, we may find that Steppenwolf is actually the leader of Darkseid's vanguard, leading the charge against the vulnerable earth.
In the meantime, it is still possible that the universe that DC is constructing is preparing for Darkseid's arrival, and some of that could appear in "Suicide Squad." It would be appropriate, given that the original Task Force X was founded because Darkseid was threatening the world. In fact, he was threatening the world by undermining humans' trust in superheroes, the heavy-handed theme of "Batman v Superman."
In other words, the cinematic universe is clearly primed and ready for whatever DC feature eventually includes Darkseid. Could the trash vortex in the "Suicide Squad" trailer be a portal throughout space and (potentially) time? Could the Adversary be one of Darkseids emissaries? Or is the Flash somehow responsible, by traveling through time to warn the past of an incoming threat? Whatever happens, we'll find out soon.
6 Interesting cameos in the new Arkham Asylum
Arkham Asylum is inarguably one of the most interesting settings within the DC Universe, though the movies have seldom spent much time there. From what we know, it seems that "Suicide Squad" may attempt to rectify this, as the trailer suggests the prison will be utilized in the dissemination of each character's backstory.
Although it's exciting to return to this gruesome prison for Gotham's worst villains in any context, Arkham might also be the WB's best excuse to hint at future Suicide Squadders, or even just perform a little fan service. There have been rumors that Amanda Waller may be holding Aquaman captive, so keep your eyes peeled. Given the success of the Jason Todd reference in "Batman v Superman," and the significant lead of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as far as connected franchises go, it seems likely that WB would be interested in including as many easter eggs as possible.
Whether or not those eggs will actually come to fruition, however, is another question.
5 The Joker's origin story
Like most important figures from comics, the Joker's backstory is constantly evolving. With every reboot, the character becomes a little bit different. Heath Ledger's Joker, for instance, dwelled somewhere in the periphery of existing mental illnesses, which lent a plausibility to the horror that was hard to shake. By contrast, Jared Leto's Joker, with his acid-green hair and bright purple suit, is more reminiscent of the Joker from the comics, particularly the type who might cut his own face off. It isn't necessarily less horrifying, but it is definitely more sensationalized.
Either way, imagery from the film suggests that this new Joker's origin story may be included in "Suicide Squad." The final trailer released at Comic-Con shows the Joker falling toward a series of chemical vats, as well as pulling Harley Quinn from one. While this might be merely a flashback of Harley's origins, we'd be more than a little upset if we didn't see some of how the DC Films universe is approaching the latest Joker's origin -- which is similar enough that perhaps there's more of a connection than just pasty skin and a shared psychiatric past.
4 The Enchantress as a strong female villain
Although Harley Quinn is undeniably the crowd-favorite wildcard of this summer's blockbuster, she has no claim over the originality of the concept. In fact, the Enchantress may be one of the most dangerous Squad team members in comic history, because her great power is also incredibly unpredictable.
In fact, comic book aficionados will recall that the Enchantress joined Task Force X on a probationary level, provided that she keep her unpredictable powers in check. In fact, Deadshot was eventually charged with the task of eliminating her in the event her power overwhelmed her. This desperate measure was enacted after she lost control defeating Brimstone, another ambassador of Darkseid who threatened the planet. In the comic the Enchantress proves pivotal in accomplishing the Squad's goal, only to become overwhelmed by her own power expenditure and becoming a daunting villain in her own right.
Since the Enchantress is never shown in the company of the team in the trailers, it's very possible she'll be one of the movie's antagonists. Perhaps by the end of the film she will be redeemed, but in the meantime, audiences may get the type of female villain regularly left out of comic book cinema: strong, and truly terrifying.
Now, if only we could find her some more clothes...
3 The (long overdue) cinematic rendering of Paul Dini and Bruce Timm's "Mad Love"
For Harley Quinn fans, there is no text more important to the character's origin than "Mad Love," a comic produced by Quinn's co-creators, Dini and Timm after her initial appearance in "Batman: the Animated Series." In "Mad Love" readers got what they didn't from the cartoon: an actual linear history of Harley's previous life as Harleen Quinzel, an Arkham Asylum Psychiatrist assigned the daunting task of rehabilitating the Joker.
It's a seminal text depicting the effects of the Joker's mental manipulations of an empathetic figure who ultimately abandons her career and her life to follow the Joker into madness. When Harleen falls into the very sort of chemical vat responsible for so many villainous transformations, she emerges as a new woman -- Harley Quinn, the Joker's crazy girlfriend.
According to the trailers that have been released, this summer's "Suicide Squad," will likely cover some of the same ground. If we're lucky, shots of Margot Robbie emerging from a vat of slime are actually flashbacks, indicating that we can expect a bit of "Mad Love" to make the big screen.
2 A Deadshot/Boomerang showdown
One of the most enjoyable scenes in the animated "Batman: Assault on Arkham" movie is the ongoing machismo contest between Deadshot and Captain Boomerang. It makes sense: both men make their living via sharpshooting, and both are stubborn enough to resent competition. The fact that they are villains and murderers doesn't exactly suggest a great deal of sociability.
In "Assault on Arkham," the two enjoy a less-than-friendly game of darts, which holds great cinematic potential in terms of the translation from animation to live action. Based on the trailers for "Suicide Squad" it seems that this rivalry will probably appear in some format on the silver screen, at least in part; Deadshot and Boomerang -- played by Will Smith and Jai Courtney, respectively -- are often shown butting heads. "Easy peasy," says Boomerang, to a tense-looking Deadshot. "Don't make me shoot you," his rival responds. Though it's hard to say whether the bar from the trailers actually boasts a dart board or not, we're confident that they can get creative about their competition.
1 Harley Quinn breaks up with the Joker (for good)
With Harley appearing to move ever farther away from the Joker in her solo books and team-ups, it's almost jarring to see them onscreen together in trailers for "Suicide Squad." Contrary to the message of recent books, which attempt to reclaim Harley from her abusive past, leaked scenes hint that the film will offer insight into their romance, particularly with imagery reminiscent of the seminal "Mad Love."
If the Joker and Harley are driving around in cars together, it certainly seems likely that they are intimate for at least some of "Suicide Squad," though hopefully not all of it. With the "Batman: The Killing Joke" animated adaptation getting critically rejected for unnecessary sexualization and persisting portrayal of sexual assault, it would be good timing for the DC Universe to empower some of its women, particularly someone like Harley, who is now appearing in media focused at children. Harley's position as the victim of domestic abuse makes her problematic as an empathetic figure, a flaw that this movie could help to correct. If Harley Quinn can finally break it off with Mister J, she'll certainly make a better role model, and might just be ready to take on a solo film of her own.
1. At least one head exploding
If you're going to control the most powerful villains in the world, you have to keep them on a tight leash. In the case of the Suicide Squad, this leash takes the form of an implant, which Viola Davis' Amanda Waller can detonate whenever she likes.
Of course, this sort of threat is only effective when tested. In "Batman; Assault on Arkham," for instance, Waller detonated the device on a Squadder who intended to call her bluff. It is almost certain that there will be a similar sort of explosion in "Suicide Squad," as Waller works to establish prison-yard dominance over her team of misfits.
As an added bonus, including a graphic explosion of viscera would be a fitting homage to the history of "Suicide Squad" comics, which were shaped by the idea of the expendable villain. Basically, the original Suicide Squad team was much smaller, and actually expanded to include extra, underdeveloped characters, which allowed for them to be killed off. Forget Chekov's Gun. Waller's Bomb says if you put an explosive decide in someone's head in the first act, it has to go off in the second or third act.
It's not just to honor the dramatic principle. For the Suicide Squad, it's tradition.
What are you hoping to see from "Suicide Squad"? Let us know in the comments!