Suicide Squad: From Page to Screen by Jerry Whitworth
Announced last fall and scheduled to begin filming in a few weeks, Suicide Squad is the latest movie in the newly minted DC Cinematic Universe beginning with 2013’s Man of Steel. Observed as Mission: Impossible meets The Dirty Dozen (a precedent established by writer John Ostrander), the Suicide Squad is a covert group of supervillains taking on high-risk assignments for the US government in return for commuting their sentences for their crimes. While the plot is thus far unknown (though a script is rumored to have leaked its story), it would appear to be massive featuring arguably DC Comics’ most well known villain and is rumored to even include Lex Luthor and Batman. The major characters (as well as a few perhaps minor ones) have been cast and announced, though a few notable members like Bronze Tiger, Nightshade, Nemesis, and Count Vertigo may or may not emerge (however, Scott Eastwood, Ray Olubowale, and Karen Fukuhara have reportedly been cast but their roles remain as yet revealed). That said, lets take a look at what characters we know will appear in Suicide Squad.
Largely the pivot of the Suicide Squad, Rick Flagg is a legacy character as a throwback to the earliest version of Task Force X (before criminals were employed as operatives). A soldier with few parallel, Flagg has the unenviable task of coordinating the Squad in the field, the team’s success or failure largely made by his actions and decisions (including deciding if any of his operatives are impeding the mission or attempting escape and thus need to be terminated). At least in the beginning, Flagg viewed the criminals under his command as tools towards an end and loathed having to be their babysitter. However, he also demonstrated a vast loyalty to those that earned his respect with a willingness to put his life on the line for them (including defying the US government and Justice League when they interfered with his sense of justice). During his time in the Squad, Flagg became close friends with Nightshade, Bronze Tiger, and Nemesis and developed a mutual respect with Deadshot. In the upcoming film, he will be portrayed by Joel Kinnaman (RoboCop).
A superstar in the field of “behind closed doors” politics and covert operations, Amanda Waller is the brain behind the Suicide Squad. The mother of the current incarnation of the Squad, Waller (nicknamed “The Wall”) has demonstrated an apathy and perhaps even cruelty in dealing with affairs of State, seeing the prominence of metahumans as a distinct wrinkle in her global operations as the exponentially shifting landscape of terrorism and espionage would tear apart a weaker person. In order for the United States to compete, the supervillain problem was turned into a solution by drafting willing participants for covert work and implanting explosives in them to be remotely detonated immediately for any act of treason (such as trying to escape). Suffice to say, the move had to be kept under wraps from the public and drew the ire of the heroic members of the metahuman community. However, the Wall proved to be someone virtually no one could intimidate, fully aware of her use of fighting evil with evil for the greater good without any apprehension. Waller seemed to be an entity no one had much affinity for, bringing her into conflict with her superiors, subordinates, and, of course, critics. That being said, no one could ultimately argue with her results as despite the misgivings of others, Waller’s strong-arm approach acted as a balance in an erratic world catering to metahumans, super science, and alien visitors. For Suicide Squad, she will be played by Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder).
Floyd Lawton was born into a life of means. Member of the wealthy Lawton family, Floyd’s home life was anything but luxurious. Floyd’s father George was abusive to both him and his mother Genevieve, however mother and father adored Floyd’s older brother Edward. When Genevieve had had enough of George’s cruelty, she convinced her sons to murder him. Instead, Edward shot and paralyzed his father only for Floyd to accidentally murder the brother he loved and idolized (saving a father he utterly despised). The crime covered up, Floyd was forever changed, vowing to never again miss any shot he takes, develop a death wish over the guilt he carries, and seeking surrogate brothers to replace the one he lost. Lawton would eventually end up in Gotham, deciding to become a crimefighter to honor his brother’s memory as the trick gunfighter named Deadshot. Dressed in a top hat and tails, he tried to replace Batman only to decide to use his role as Gotham’s champion to run its organized crime. The plot would fail and Deadshot ended up in jail. Escaping prison and updating his gear to include a metal mask with an electronic targeting sight and wrist-mounted submachine gun gauntlets, Deadshot tried to get revenge on the Dark Knight and failed leading to Lawton’s turn in the Suicide Squad (where he became a fixture of the team). With a sarcastic, bleak outlook, Deadshot often times was critical in the success of Squad missions and eventually affixed something of a surrogate status of brother to Rick Flagg and mother to Amanda Waller. Will Smith (Men in Black) will portray Deadshot in the Suicide Squad film.
A modern day addition to the Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn was psychiatrist Harleen Quinzel at Arkham Asylum who fell madly in love with the Joker. Helping him escape on numerous occasions, Quinzel eventually quit her job to become the Joker’s full-time sidekick Harley Quinn. Employing remarkable acrobatic ability, Harley became something of Joker’s decoy attracting danger and the attention of Batman as Joker (whom Harley calls her “puddin'” and “Mista J”) operates or escapes. Something odd about Harley is her reluctance to perform some of the more vile acts the man she loves will regularly dole out while also often overlooking such acts. Their relationship is also almost exclusively one-sided as Joker will regularly strike Harley and speak down to her, though at times Harley has been known to fight back and even outright defy her Mista J. And yet, they always seem to end up back together. In terms of the Suicide Squad, Harley is a virtual neophyte to the group. When it appeared the Joker was dead, Harley tried to apply her fixation toward him onto Deadshot. Harley Quinn will be portrayed by Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street).
An Australian with considerable skill at the use of boomerangs, Digger Harkness was hired by American toymaker W.W. Wiggins to become the spokesman for a line of boomerangs as Captain Boomerang. Harkness, however, took the costume and equipment and started a career as a supervillain only to be foiled consistently by the Flash. In very short order, the Flash had acquired quite a menagerie of costumed enemies several of whom banded together in a group referred to today as the Rogues. Among the original six Rogues, Harkness was a founding member. While the phenomenon of previously unaffiliated supervillains teaming up wasn’t unheard of, the idea of such a group remaining together for any considerable amount of time was extremely uncommon (add being able to work cohesively as a unit teetered on the impossible). Not only did the Flash have one of the most successful rogues galleries, the team of the Rogues presented a level of danger virtually no other superhero had to contend with on a consistent basis. The addition of Captain Boomerang later to the Suicide Squad wasn’t quite as momentous as the Rogues, his experience added credibility to the group. That being said, Harkness more times than not created problems than opportunities. Simply put, he was arrogant, misogynistic, racist, nonconformist, cowardly, traitorous, selfish, bungling, and apathetic, someone you loved to revile (often times referred to as Boomerbutt by his teammates). And yet, despite the odds, he kept coming back alive (though, he wasn’t above letting a teammate die so he could live). For the film, he will be played by Jai Courtney (Divergent).
June Moon was simply an artist until a magical entity bestowed upon her magical powers in order to combat an ancient force of evil. By saying the phrase ‘The Enchantress,’ Moon was transformed into a powerful witch by that name. However, some time after her metamorphosis, Moon would begin fighting for control of her very body as the Enchantress entity tried to take over. Acting in control of Moon for a while, the Enchantress became a supervillainess trying to take over the world until she was captured and Moon managed to return in possession of her body and magical powers. She would be recruited into the Suicide Squad however anytime she used too much of the Enchantress’ power, the evil would take control of her making her a huge liability to the group (because of her capability to transform, Deadshot was employed as a stop measure with orders to execute her should she lose control and is unable to return). Cara Delevingne (Anna Karenina) will portray her in Suicide Squad.
Arguably the most famous and scariest villain in comic book history (if not American fiction), the Joker has transcended from his roots as a costumed clown with a penchant for poisons and acid to a force of nature, a nightmare given form, an artist that uses death as an expression of the myriad of madness he casually dallies through time to time. In the real world, a serial killer will generally affix themselves to a specific method or procedure followed with thorough diligence. The Joker instead proceeds with no set boundaries. He can alter his modus operandi like a snake sheds its skin alternating from targeting individuals to groups to cities to countries, there are times he’s even endangered the world and reality itself. When the Joker is involved, he changes to rise to the level he’s facing (so far as taking on the Justice League of America in the past). The inclusion of the Joker raises the stakes considerably for the Suicide Squad film. Notably, previously being attached to battle just Batman, the upcoming film offers a grander stage which undoubtedly will see the Joker ascend to a level within cinema he’s likely never stood before. For the film, he will be played by Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club).
Born with a unique skin condition that essentially covers his body in dense, scaly callouses, Waylon Jones became a serial killer who decided to apply his craft to trying to takeover the crime underworld of Gotham City. Eliminating competitors including through use of a sniper rifle, Jones as the mysterious Croc almost achieved his designs (even battling an assembly of Batman’s rogues under the Joker) but was foiled by Batman and Robin. In time, it was revealed Jones (who became known as Killer Croc) suffered from a form of genetic regression literally turning him into some sort of overgrown lizard humanoid (his once strategic brain transformed more and more into that of a near-mindless beast). Since, he’s become a cannibal that navigates the sewer system of Gotham in between periods he spends locked inside Arkham Asylum. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Lost) will portray him in Suicide Squad.
Back during the days of the Wild West, Lazarus Lane was a bank teller nearly murdered by outlaws only to be revived by a shaman named Wise Owl. The medicine man cursed Lane such that as he slept, a Spirit of Vengeance contained inside him arose and walked the Earth as El Diablo. Lane would survive to the modern day, comatose in a hospital where gang member Chato Santana would become his roommate. In a dream, Santana was given a choice: become the new El Diablo or die. Deciding to become Hell’s Assassin, Santana fought demons and tried to settle some of his own old scores. Santana would return to his gang roots but when he accidentally murdered innocents with his powers, he turned himself over to the police and was placed on death row. From there, he was forced to join the Suicide Squad. In the upcoming film, Jay Hernandez (Gang Related) will play the modern day character.