Not quite a sequel and not quite a reboot of the 2016 movie, Suicide Squad starring Margot Robbie, Will Smith and directed by David Ayer, but instead a stand-alone film, James Gunn of Guardians of the Galaxy fame has switched lanes from Marvel to DC to deliver a new instalment of The Suicide Squad gang. Although Ayer’s Suicide Squad film made approximately $750 million in box offices worldwide, the film was largely seen as a disappointment to fans and critics alike. Gunn’s new film, centered around a gang of problematic antihero misfits and based on the DC comic series of the same name, is due to be released next year, in August 2021. It will see the return of the much-loved Harley Quinn, played by Margot Robbie.
Other returning characters, from the original film, include: Joel Kinnaman’s Rick Flag, Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller and Jai Courtney’s Captain Boomerang. They will also be joined by a plethora of other new and intriguing characters seen in the extensive comic series, including Bloodsport who will be played by the fantastic Idris Elba and Peacemaker portrayed by John Cena. In an exclusive interview for Empire magazine, James Gunn spoke about the previous movie and the brilliance of the characters: “Listen, David Ayer’s gotten trouble for the movie,” he says. “I know it didn’t come out how David wanted it to come out. But he did one really, really great thing, and that is he picked fantastic actors to work with, and he dealt with these actors in building their characters in a really deep and fearless way. It’s something David definitely deserves to be lauded for, and it’s definitely added to this movie.”
On the front cover of Empire magazine’s world exclusive, around fifteen new characters can be seen, all exuding mysterious, chaotic and eccentric qualities. Quoted in Empire, James Gunn spoke to his characters moral compass and how this would alter the storyline “I think you know, from pretty close to the beginning, that all of the Guardians are good – apart from Nebula, who’s the outlier,” Gunn explains. “But in The Suicide Squad, some of the characters end up being good, some end up being terrible. They don’t just get in fights and say they’re going to kill each other, they actually do get in fights and kill each other. You really don’t know who’s going to live and who’s going to die. I was given full freedom to kill anyone – and I mean anyone – by DC.”
In a tantalizing tweet to fans on Twitter, James Gunn wrote: “What two characters do you think are most likely to survive #TheSuicideSquad?” and when fans responded that characters such as Harley Quinn were protected with ‘franchise armor’ his response was: “No character was protected by DC. They gave me carte blanche to do what I wanted. That was one of the things we agreed to before I came to work for them. I wasn’t looking for shock value but I wanted the audience to know anything could happen. #StoryReignsSupreme #TheSuicideSquad”
The Suicide Squad comics too pulled together an expendable gang of misfit supervillains who were forced to undertake tasks and essentially fight crime. The catch was that these characters were essentially villains themselves with problematic approaches, grey areas of morality and chaotic interactions within the team – making for an explosive and intriguing storyline with a wide array of characters dipping in and out of the series, and also plenty of character deaths.
Joel Kinnaman, who plays Rick Flag, told the Hollywood Reporter: “That movie is going to be insane. The script is so funny. Every page of that script was funny, and every page made me laugh,” Kinnaman shares. “James just has this command of that genre, but also over every aspect of comedy and even the marketing. He just understands the world so well, and since he wrote it, he really reinvents not just the concepts, but also the characters. For me, it was like I did my first comedy, but it’s like heavily R-rated. It was a real learning experience for me, too, because I’d never done a comedy in that way before. So I asked James to work with me and teach me this shit. And yeah, we had so much fun doing it. That movie is going to be a fucking monster. Honestly, even though I’m in it, I can’t wait to see it as a fan.”
In an online event in August for DC FanDome, a sneak preview of the film was shown, which included quotes from the cast members and explosive behind the scenes shots of the film.