This has certainly been quite the week for comic book movie casting announcements! At the top of the list is Warner Bros.’ confirming the lineup for its upcoming DC Comics supervillain team-up film, Suicide Squad. With each actor now settled into his or her role, we can examine who each of these characters are and what their histories entail within the expendable team of the DC Universe. The Suicide Squad, as you may have seen from the recent Assault on Arkham animated film and the second season of Arrow, are a team of villains assembled by the US Government.
Together, they have to perform high-risk missions with little hope of survival in exchange for the lengths of their jail sentences being reduced. As an added incentive, the government had bombs surgically implanted in their heads. Much like any comic book team, there have been many incarnations of the group over the years, but today’s article will walk you through the individual members that will populate WB’s recently announced film, as written and directed by Fury helmer David Ayer.
The Joker and Harley Quinn
Well let’s go ahead and start with the most popular members of the team, The Joker and Harley Quinn. Played by Jared Leto and Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street), respectively, the Clown Prince of Crime and his main squeeze are usually, first and foremost, Batman villains. In fact, the Joker himself has never been a full fledged member of the Suicide Squad, with Harley only having recently become a member during DC Comics’ big “New 52” reboot that continues to this day. The Joker and Harley Quinn have something of a dysfunctional relationship to say the least, wherein Joker does whatever he wants and Harley pines after him regardless of how poorly she is treated. Harley was originally a psychiatrist, named Harleen Quinzel, in the walls of Arkham Asylum. After having a session with the Joker, she fell madly in love with him and busted him out as the newly costumed villain, Harley Quinn. Harley had made her first appearance in the Batman: Animated Series, only making her debut in the comics years after the end of the show. While Harley will most assuredly be a part of the team, it’ll be interesting to see whether the Joker himself is also part of the core cast, or if he’ll be the antagonist the government sics the Squad on.
Deadshot, to be played by Will Smith, is something of the de facto leader of the team, though to be fair, there are a lot of “leaders” in the Suicide Squad. Floyd Lawton (Deadshot’s real name) is a gun for hire, taking any job that piques his interest, and he usually manages to hit his mark. He first appeared as a vigilante in Gotham City, only to have his true motive revealed: he was using the vigilante status as a lure to kill Batman, forcing the two to clash. Moreso than any other member of the current movie roster, Deadshot is the mainstay/poster boy of the Suicide Squad. Throughout nearly every incarnation of the team, Deadshot has had a role to play and has ran the line between hero and villain on several occasions. He has also started recently developing something of a relationship with Harley Quinn, acting as a stark contrast to the insanity of the Joker. It should be interesting to see if the film plays up a love triangle between the three sociopaths. Deadshot himself doesn’t have any superpowers per se, but he is adept with nearly any weapon he gets his hands on and has two gauntlets that fire off bullets whenever the need strikes him.
Of all the members currently listed, Enchantress is probably the least known of the crew to the general public. But she has the strongest implications for tying together the team with various corners of the DC Universe. To be played by Cara Delevingne (Anna Karenina), the Enchantress is solely entrenched in the roots of the magical/supernatural part of this world. She is a sorceress and a magic user, which normally means her powers can be whatever the writers want her powers to be for any given situation. She also suffers from split personality disorder. One side of her is heroic, usually hanging out with a team of magical superheroes called Shadowpact, while her evil side normally sets into motion events that would land her on the Suicide Squad. In typical Silver Age comics form, Enchantress gained her abilities in a rather corny way, entering into a castle, stumbling upon a magic chamber, and yelling “Enchantress!” It’s doubtful that we’re going to see her burst onto the scene in that fashion, though considering magic is the center of her character, she could very well be the first hint at Guillermo Del Toro’s upcoming Justice League Dark film.
Digger Harkness, played by Jai Courtney (A Good Day to Die Hard), is an a-hole. Captain Boomerang, of all the members of the Suicide Squad save for the Joker, loves his job as a mercenary for hire the most and tends to rub everyone the wrong way. Usually a member of The Flash’s rogues gallery, having even recently appeared on The CW’s Arrow, Digger is a highly trained soldier, proficient in flinging boomerangs at anyone who crosses his path. While a guy who throws boomerangs at people doesn’t really seem like the scariest thing in the world, the boomerangs themselves are extremely varied. From blades to explosives to electricity to acid, Boomerang’s boomerangs are as deadly as Digger is. Though Digger had never really had powers to speak of, his son Owen (who took the mantle at one point in time) had hints of super speed that would allow him to toss those suckers at enemies on the same level as the Flash. Whether they’ll incorporate this into the Suicide Squad film is anyone’s guess, though it would add a nice edge to the character.
Rick Flag and Amanda Waller
Lastly, our final two entries into the Suicide Squad are the ones with no powers and the most altruistic personalities….sort of. Amanda Waller (not yet cast, though reportedly Oprah Winfrey is the top contender) is a hard nosed government agent who created the Suicide Squad, not only in the hopes to accomplish a lot of US Special Operations’ tasks, but also as a possible answer to the Justice League should they ever attempt to attack the United States. Waller doesn’t trust people with superpowers and she only tends to associate herself with them in order to further her own goals. Amanda Waller never goes on missions with the Squad, but will watch over everything transpiring and point them in the right direction, making sure they all play nice.
Rick Flagg, to be played by Tom Hardy, does get his hands dirty and goes on missions with the team. Flagg isn’t a criminal like the rest of the villains, but is a man who’s attempting to do what’s right and comes from a line of “Rick Flaggs” that began in World War II. He tends to clash heads with Deadshot over leadership of the team in the field, so obviously the gang is quite an unruly mob at times with so many insane personalities clashing. Think of Flagg as being the DCU’s Nick Fury, getting into the thick of things while also acting as something of a liaison between the team and Amanda Waller.
Suicide Squad is one of the most distinctive and hardcore choices for a comic book film that we’ve seen as of late. Warner Bros. is proving, with this cast, that they’re ready and willing to go toe-to-toe with the juggernaut that is Marvel Studios with an A-List cast to boot, so it will be interesting to see how this movie not only plays out on its own, but plants seeds for the budding DC Universe as it immediately follows Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Suicide Squad will opens in theaters on August 5, 2016.