As soon as it was announced that Warner Bros. was moving forward with a Suicide Squad movie as the studio’s follow-up DC film to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, folks began wondering just how closely writer/director David Ayer’s villain-centric film would tie into the rest of the DC Extended Universe. We got our answer nearly as soon as filming began, as production of Suicide Squad took to the streets of Toronto where folks snapped photos and took videos of the Batmobile corralling about town, revealing that the Caped Crusader himself had some part to play in Suicide Squad.
We’ve seen bits and pieces of Batman in the trailers for Suicide Squad, and he’s a natural piece of connective tissue given that the film introduces Jared Leto’s iteration of The Joker, but what was the thinking behind the choice? How, exactly, did Ben Affleck’s Batman come to be a part of Suicide Squad in the first place?
When I was visiting the set of Suicide Squad last summer along with a handful of journalists, back when we knew precious little about the film, the Batmoblie set photos were a hot topic, and producer Charles Roven explained their decision to accept the fact that Batman’s cameo wasn’t going to be a secret:
“Well we had to make a choice of do we shoot the movie or don’t we shoot the movie? Do we tell the story we want to tell and block the streets off so the people of Toronto don’t see anything? We just said, ‘OK you’re gonna see what you’re gonna see.’ But he has purpose for what he’s doing, and you couldn’t tell the story of the Suicide Squad—as you mentioned so many of the characters that are in that squad had some interaction with him in order to get into Belle Reve, so you have to deal with that at the very least.”
Indeed, there is a strong Batman connection to many of the characters, not the least of which is Will Smith’s Deadshot. In fact, in concept art we saw during our set visit, the walls of Deadshot’s prison cell said “Die Bat,” so clearly there’s a bit of a grudge. But the decision to put Batman in Suicide Squad was not a Warner Bros. mandate in order to further fuel interest in the movie. That idea came directly from Ayer himself, who admits he really wanted to play with such an iconic character:
“Look, you apply at a job for a DC Comic movie and it’s like, ‘Come on, let me get the toys, please. Let me get the cool stuff.’ I begged for that. That was really, really something I wanted. There’s a lot of information out there, a lot of false information about how these characters play into the A plot. It’s an incredibly complex story with flashbacks and different convergent storylines and things like that.”
As for how Batman fits into the story of Suicide Squad, Ayer revealed that the film offers a unique opportunity in portraying the Dark Knight from an entirely different point of view:
“All the Batman movies have been from Batman’s point of view. He’s the good guy. He’s the hero of his own movie in all the movies we’ve seen. If you look at what Bruce Wayne has done in creating the Batman persona, his idea was to terrorize criminals. It’s sort of psychological warfare against criminals. This wraith that comes in the night and attacks and pulls criminals from society. For the first time, we’re seeing Batman from the point of view of the criminals and he’s freaking scary.”
That in and of itself is an exciting prospect, and while we know Affleck was on set for a very brief amount of time, it’ll be interesting to see just how big of an impact Batman has on the character arcs overall given that he put a lot of these folks away in the first place.
And if you’re afraid those set photos gave away the surprise, Ayer says he’s got plenty more tricks up his sleeve:
“We have had some material exposed by virtue of being out on the streets and working out on the streets, but it’s a sliver. It’s a fragment and it’s all out of context. For me it’s a lot of fun just to see how people try and assemble these pieces because in their minds, they’re a much larger piece of the film than they’re actually saying. But it takes days and days to shoot a scene so it’s how does all this fit together? That’s the big surprise.”
Intriguing indeed, and kudos to all involved for keeping the specifics of Batman’s presence in Suicide Squad under wraps for so long. Peruse more of my set visit coverage in the links below. Suicide Squad opens in theaters on August 5th.
- ‘Suicide Squad’: Over 55 Things to Know about the Ambitious DC Film
- ‘Suicide Squad’: Margot Robbie on Understanding Harley Quinn, Cracking The Joker, and Fighting in Heels
- ‘Suicide Squad’: David Ayer on Shooting on Film, Directing The Joker, and Working in the DC Universe
- ‘Suicide Squad’ Director and Cast on the Intensely Personal Rehearsal Process