When Warner Bros. announced their slate of DC Comics-based films through 2020, one of the biggest surprises on the list was “Suicide Squad,” a very non-traditional type of property. No studio has tried to produce a super villain film as of yet (although Sony is trying with its “The Amazing Spider-Man” spinoff “Sinister Six” and the Suicide Squad has appeared on “Arrow,” which does not share continuity with the big screen DC offerings), but DC Entertainment is taking the plunge, bringing Amanda Waller’s team of conscripted killers to mainstream movie audiences. It’s a gamble to be sure, but a gamble that can pay big dividends for DC as “Suicide Squad” could serve as the introduction to numerous big gun villains for audiences who can then follow their adventures in the other DC film universe releases.
Since the 1980s, the work of creators like John Ostrander, Kim Yale and Luke McDonnell has made the “Suicide Squad” a fan-favorite title. When DC launched its New 52, a new version of the Squad was front and center with some old favorites and new faces added to Task Force X. “Fury” director David Ayer has been tasked with bringing the adventures of Amanda Waller’s band of misfits to life. If Ayer hits the mark, “Suicide Squad” could be the most unique and hard-hitting comic book film on an already loaded schedule, a chance to explore the darker side of the DC Universe with villains comic fans have thrilled to for years but who have not yet become mainstream, plus some very familiar faces including — if rumors can be believed — the Joker and Lex Luthor.
Who will Amanda Waller choose to ally herself with? What killers for hire, monsters and psychopaths will have the distinction of becoming cinema’s first “Suicide Squad?” Choosing among DC Comics’ many master villains, skilled combatants, cold hearted sociopaths — and if the movie follows the comic’s bloody history of Waller’s crew, cannon fodder — is no easy task. Join us as we open some top secret files and find the villains tenacious enough to be part of the cinematic “Suicide Squad.”
There is no Suicide Squad without The Wall, and Amanda Waller has been an integral part of the Squad since the property’s 1987 revival. She is the unit’s prime mover, the woman who dared to put together a group of vicious and desperate killers to do her bidding. It will be interesting to see which Waller appears in the upcoming film: the classic built like an immovable mountain peak Waller from the Ostrander run, or the softer looking but no less tough Waller from the New 52. In live-action, a version of Amanda Waller has already appeared on “Arrow” as the leader of ARGUS, and the character even made an appearance in the maligned “Green Lantern” film, but Waller is at her best as the woman pulling the Squad’s strings. She could potentially be the DC film universe’s version of Nick Fury, a tough as nails military genius who could be a unifying if threatening force to DC heroes and villains alike.
The focal point of the New 52 Suicide Squad has been the Joker’s best girl, Harley Quinn. Quinn has broken free of the constraints of Gotham City and ‘Mr. J’ to become a force to be reckoned with in the pages of “Suicide Squad” and her own madcap solo series. She has become, by far, the most popular member of the contemporary team and the modern DCU. Waller likes control, and Quinn is the wildcard that gives an ‘anything can happen’ vibe to the team. The upcoming movie could certainly use Harley as the central character and focus the film’s marketing on everyone’s favorite cosplay bad girl. Harley could well be the perfect foil for Waller, and in the paramilitary world of the Suicide Squad she could act as the agent of chaos that things very interesting on their first mission. With “Wolf of Wall Street” star Margot Robbie reportedly signed on to the film as Harley Quinn, it looks like Warners is dead set on putting this clown on the big screen for the first time.
Deadshot has been in every iteration of the Suicide, and Floyd Lawton is a perfect soldier for Amanda Waller. He is a man who is utterly devoted to the mission at hand values the kill over his own life. As much as Waller seems like a lock, it’s almost harder to imagine Task Force X without him. “Terminator: Genysis” star Jai Courtney is rumored to be taking on the role, so fans may not have to picture a movie without the team’s nihilistic marksmen for very long. Lawton is a complex killer with his own code of honor and his presence will undoubtedly lend its own unique drama to any “Squad” story. Deadshot could even function as the Boba Fett of the upcoming film, a cold-as-ice killer who steals every scene he’s in, just like he’s done in the comics for decades.
While the DC movie universe is still in its infancy heading into “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” there are some major players who will need to be introduced before it can feel completely legit. Enter Slade Wilson, better known as Deathstroke. Deathstroke is the Batman of the villain set, a determined and brilliant warrior who fights not for justice, but for his own benefit and profit. He is a master manipulator and scoundrel but, like Deadshot, a man who lives by his own code. Imagine Deathstroke and Deadshot fighting side by side, “Dirty Dozen” style, against whatever threats the new Suicide Squad face. Deathstroke’s villainy carried an entire season of “Arrow,” and that same intensity could make “Suicide Squad” a film experience to remember. Establishing Deathstroke in a team film could open the door for him to go toe-to-toe with Batman down the road, and that seems like a major win-win for fans.
Just as iconic as Deadshot and Waller in the annals of Suicide Squad lore — but for very different reasons — is Captain Boomerang. Boomerang is a notorious coward and self serving dirt bag who has been with the Squad since the ’80s. The villain could potentially tie the Squad to the upcoming “Flash” film starring Ezra Miller, as the villain has long been one of the Scarlet Speedster’s major Rogues. The personality clashes between Captain Boomerang and Waller are the stuff of comic book legend, and that long standing feud could transition nicely to the world of film. Unlike teammates Deadshot and Deathstroke, Captain Boomerang is a man without honor who could easily serve as the team’s Judas, or follow a redemptive arc and learn the meaning of teamwork in order to survive.
While this list is largely adorned with major super villains, for the “Suicide Squad” film to be a proper adaptation, there needs to be some cannon fodder as well. Back in the day, Slipknot was a Firestorm villain who specialized in tying knots and nooses (how that qualifies one has a super villain is anyone’s guess). When the Suicide Squad goes into the field, Waller implants each operative with a bomb she can detonates if any member of her unit goes rogue. No one was sure if this was a bluff or not until Slipknot went AWOL during a mission and had his arm blown off. This was a shocking moment that instantly established that Waller meant business. This moment could be replicated for the film to make audiences aware of just how high the stakes are as a member of the Suicide Squad. The film needs a body count, something Ayer can deliver, and it’s likely that marquee villains like Harley and Deadshot will probably live to fight another day and appear in future films. Someone in the film needs to die or get maimed, and based on Slipknot’s history — and “power set” — it might as well be him.
Speaking of cannon fodder, Mindboggler made a few appearances in “Firestorm” before she was conscripted into the Suicide Squad (what’s with Firestorm villains and dead Squaddies?), but after her time with Waller’s crew she never appeared again. After Mindboggler used her power to make others hallucinate their worst fears on fellow teammate Captain Boomerang, he swore his revenge. Boomerang’s subsequent betrayal led to her death, making Mindboggler the first character to perish in the modern Squad era. That same moment played out in the film could define Boomerang as a character not to be trifled with and establish just how dangerous working alongside murderous super villains can be.
Every team needs a big guy, and the Suicide Squad’s bruiser has been King Shark since the beginning of the New 52. He’s a giant man shark who eats people — that should get some attention and drive home just how violent and brutal the team’s world is. Marvel made people fall in love with an anthropomorphic raccoon, perhaps DC can go the other way by terrifying audience with a man-eating shark with legs.
A long standing member of the Suicide Squad, Bronze Tiger brings some much needed diversity to the team. More importantly, the Tiger is a complex character who can hang with any member of Waller’s team physically but employs his own complicated morality. The Bronze Tiger is one of the most dangerous fighters in the DCU, and bringing him into the films could potentially open the door for other DC martial arts legends such as Lady Shiva and Richard Dragon down the line. Tiger has been a Squad member since day one of Ostrander’s run and that rich history alone makes him worthy to answer Waller’s call.
Any actor who attempts to become the first Joker following Heath Ledger’s Academy Award-winning turn in “The Dark Knight” is preparing for a serious uphill battle, and if the rumors pan out that fellow Academy Award-winner Jared Leto is being courted for the role in “Suicide Squad,” WB might be onto something by introducing their new Joker away from Batman to allow for less direct comparisons. Putting the Joker in a fresh new situation as part of a paramilitary squad of super villains could help Leto make the role his own and allow the character to slowly work his way through other DC movies, leading to the inevitable Joker/Batman clash. It would also allow the psychopath to play off the controlled Waller and the disciplined Deathstroke — and perhaps more importantly for Joker to developing big screen chemistry with his moll, Harley Quinn — allowing for just the right introduction to the latest Clown Prince of Chaos.
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