Before the movie was announced, "Suicide Squad" wasn't a name you'd hear much outside of comic book circles. That's changed rather quickly, and some members of the team, who you'd be hard-pressed to see on anybody's t-shirt five years ago, have begun to permeate their way into mainstream pop culture in a big way. Still, there are a lot of names to keep track of in "Suicide Squad," which can be particularly difficult for those who aren't up on the comics.
With that in mind, CBR is here to break down all the big players in "Suicide Squad." Touching on characters' backstories, notable storylines, and things to look out for in the film, we've got a list of everything you need to know about the baddest of the bad before seeing walking into "Suicide Squad" on August 5.
11 Harley Quinn
Harley Quinn made her debut on the Emmy Award-winning "Batman: the Animated Series," before going on to become a classic member of the Batman Rogues Gallery in the comic books and subsequent animated adaptations. Harley's origin is told in the seminal episode "Mad Love," in which we learn she was once a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum who fell in love with her most notorious patient, the Joker -- ultimately deciding to leave her practice (and sanity) to join the him in his criminal endeavors.
Harley has been a fan-favorite Batman villain since her creation, but under a new take from creators Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, Harley has seen a boom in popularity in recent years, starring in her own successful ongoing series, and various spinoffs, in addition to serving as a member of "Rebirth's" upcoming "Suicide Squad" series.
10 Amanda Waller
Longtime fans understand that despite her lack of super powers or flashy costume, Amanda Waller is the most frightening character associated with "Suicide Squad." The Nick Fury of the team -- if Nick Fury was ruthless, and didn't make eye-patch jokes -- Waller is the hard-nosed government agent who comes up with the idea of Task Force X and its pitch to recruit villains, before going on to assemble the titular team for herself. In the original John Ostrander run of "Suicide Squad," the writer and artist Luke McDonnell introduce Waller as a tough-as-nails, no bullshit boss, who readers genuinely believe has the ability to scare supervillains straight. There's no doubt Viola Davis' portrayal of Waller will have the gravitas needed to make us believe she can stare down some of DC Comics' worst villains in the eyes.
9 Rick Flag
Rick Flag is the emotionally volatile leader of Task Force X who, along with Katana, happens to be the only member of the team who doesn't have a villainous origin. Flag, an elite soldier of the military, was recruited by Waller to lead Task Force X because his father led an earlier version of the project during World War II. Because of the success of the previous Suicide Squad (referred to as the Suicide Squadron), Waller was convinced that the concept was worth resurrecting. It'll be interesting to see if Joel Kinnaman's take on Flag is as emotionally damaged as his counterpart in the comics, or if his father's legacy looms over him in the way it does, to such a damaging extent, in the source material.
8 Captain Boomerang
Captain Boomerang is not a good dude. Originally created as a member of the Flash's Rogues Gallery, Boomerang, AKA George Harkness, is a racist, drunk, and dysfunctional member of Task Force X , who represents the least redeeming of the villains on the team. Oddly enough, before he was a Flash villain and member of Suicide Squad, Boomerang finessed his Hawkeye-like talents of precision while working as a performer. Employed by a toy company, Harkness would promote boomerangs by showing off his uncanny arm in front of audiences. Harkness was ridiculed for his "silly" boomerang abilities, to the extent that he left his job and became a villain in retaliation. Since joining Task Force X, Boomerang has remained a constant presence on the team while popping up occasionally in "The Flash."
Just like Rick Flag, Katana is on Task Force X in order to keep the other members of the team in line. A Japanese warrior, created in the comics by veteran "Batman" creators Mike W. Barr and Jim Aparo, Katana has the ability to trap souls in her trademark weapon, the Soultaker. Karen Fukuhara, the actress who plays Katana in "Suicide Squad," revealed that like her comics counterpart, Katana keeps her husbands soul in her blade, using the weapon as a means to talk to him. Recently, Katana was front-and-center in a series sharing space with Deadshot, with Barr writing her once more, in addition to appearing on"Arrow," where she was brought to life by Rila Fukushima. Katana also featured as a strong supporting character in the under-appreciated animated series "Beware the Batman" (which you should check out!)
Christopher Weiss, aka Slipknot, is a trained assassin who has mastered the use of ropes, which -- when combined with the chemical adhesive he designed to make them unbreakable -- makes him quite deadly. Debuting in 1984's "Fury of Firestorm" #28, Slipknot joined the 2000 Committee, which sent him to kill Firestorm -- but it didn't exactly go as planned and landed him in police custody. This also caught the attention of the Suicide Squad, which enlisted him in their fight against the Manhunters during the Millenium crisis. During the fight, he quickly realized his ropes were useless against the robots and tried to escape; his arm band bomb went off as soon as he was out of range, causing him to lose his right arm, which was later replaced with a bionic prosthetic.
According to Adam Beach, who will bring Slipknot to life in "Suicide Squad," the film's version of the character will be quite like his comic book counterpart. "[He's] basically a guy who's just pissed off to be there," he explained. "He is as worse as the Joker and Deadshot and Harley Quinn."
Enchantress, as her name suggests, brings a level of mysticism to "Suicide Squad." In the comics, Enchantress pretty much a cut-and-dried Dr Jekyll/Mr. Hyde type character who tries to repress her sorceress persona -- which she believes to be the evil part of her -- while holding it together most of the time as June Moone. In the "Suicide Squad" movie, Cara Delevingne is portraying Enchantress as an archaeologist with schizophrenia who believes to be possessed by some entity. It's been noted that Enchantress is the first to be recruited by Waller in the film, so naturally we expect her character to have a major role in the team's overall arc, perhaps as their version of the Hulk, or Scarlet Witch.
4 Killer Croc
You probably think Killer Croc's appearance is the result of some genetic experiment gone wrong -- but you'd be wrong! In the comics, Killer Croc is actually the victim of a rare genetic defect that caused his skin to develop into a dry, scaly hide, beginning at a young age. Croc made his first appearance in the '80s as the original killer of the parents of the second Robin, Jason Todd, and stuck around as a member of the Batman Rogues Gallery. Often portrayed as a straight-up crocodile looking beast, Killer Croc was probably best utilized in the classic "Batman: The Animated Series" episode "Almost Got 'Im." We're interested to see Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje's take on Croc -- whether or not he'll be sympathetic as the monster character on the team -- and what kind of ties he may have to Batman in "Suicide Squad."
3 El Diablo
El Diablo is the alias of gangster Chato Santana, as well as the name of the demon possessing and giving him the ability of pyrokinesis. In the comics, Chato is granted the fiery powers of El Diablo after a near-fatal accident, and is trained to use the powers by the previous bearer of the mantle, a 200-year-old cowboy named Lazarus Lane. Chato ended up in Belle Reve penitentiary, where he was enlisted by Waller to use his pyrokinesis abilities for the benefit of Task Force X. Aside from a few memorable scenes, there hasn't been a ton of El Diablo in the marketing leading up to "Suicide Squad," so we're interested to see how exactly his powers play out on screen, and if the filmmakers decide to keep him around for a sequel...
Deadshot (AKA Floyd Lawton) is an incredibly dangerous mercenary -- the world's greatest marksman, in fact -- who's easily the most self-destructive member of Task Force X. Though he's enlisted into the team due to his criminal proclivities, Deadshot's a perfect fit since he doesn't see life as being worth living. In a way, Lawton is the Wolverine of Task Force X, as the team's trademark gruff loner. The character's backstory -- which includes being forced to kill his brother at a young age, and the loss of his son to a sadistic killer -- is chronicled in the groundbreaking "Deadshot: Beginnings" miniseries by John Ostrander, Kim Yale and Luke McDonnell. The story served as a deep emotional insight into a character that had been depicted with limited dimension up to that point.
He not actually a member of Task Force X in the film, but the Joker factors into "Suicide Squad" in a huge way. The movie sees the return of the Clown Prince of Crime to the big screen for the first time since Heath Ledger's iconic portrayal of the character in 2008's "The Dark Knight." While Ledger leaves big shoes to fill, all signs point to Oscar-winner Jared Leto's interesting new -- equally insane, but 100% more tattooed -- take on the Joker being a heck of a good time. Essentially the film's villain, Leto's Joker in "Suicide Squad" is (obsessively) trying to reunite with his ex-girlfriend, Harley Quinn. As we can tell from the film's trailers, we'll see the pair alone on screen in a flashback sequence, but it'll come at the price of a visit from Ben Affleck's caped crusader.