"A secret government agency recruits imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency. Supervillains accept mission that will likely result in their deaths"
What is the Suicide Squad?
In the DC comic books, the Suicide Squad is the name given to Task Force X, an elite team of supervillains working on behalf of the US government. Despite officially being in prison (arguably the best place for any supervillain), the Suicide Squad members are allowed out to carry out black ops missions, in return for reduced sentences.
Warner Bros are planning to continue their series of DC superhero adaptations with a Suicide Squad movie, due in cinemas on August 5 2016, and directed by Fury's David Ayer (if he can handle super tanks, we reckon he can definitely handle supervillains). While few plot details have been confirmed, it is believed that the film will be based on the DC comics written by John Ostrander, who developed the premise of a "modern Squad" carrying out black ops missions in the 1987 Legends DC comic series.
Where does the "suicide" part come in?
For obvious reasons, the missions carried out by the "Suicide" team are usually highly dangerous. Plus, due to their top-secret nature and the criminal status of the squad members, if one of the supervillains fails to return, it's a fair bet that no one's going to be kicking up much of a fuss or looking too closely at their death.
According to Cinema Blend, in some of the original comics, the squad members are also fitted with under-the-skin miniature bombs "which can be detonated if they try to escape or cause trouble during the mission".
Amanda Waller (Viola Davis)
|Viola Davis Credit: 2015 Getty Images/Rich Polk|
The formidable Dr Amanda Waller, who first appeared in a 1986 DC comic book, is a doctor of political science and former government aide who now runs the Suicide Squad. Hailing from the tough streets of Chicago (where she witnessed the murder of her husband and daughter), Waller fought hard to get to a position of power, and is nicknamed "The Wall" due to her reputation for stubborness (and possibly also for her intimidating appearance). While she isn't a "black superhero" – she's fully human, and far too morally ambiguous for "hero" status" – she has frequently been described as one of the more interesting black DC comic book characters. It was initially rumoured that talk show host Oprah Winfrey had been cast in the role, but the part eventually went to Viola Davis, who is best known for the 2011 film The Help, and for the TV series How to Get Away with Murder. Waller was also recently portrayed by Cynthia Addai-Robinson in the television series Arrow.
Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman)
A no-nonsense military officer, Flagg is charged with keeping an eye on Suicide Squad members during their missions. Tom Hardy was originally lined up to play the character, but, after scheduling conflicts forced him to drop out, the role eventually went to the Swedish actor Joel Kinnaman, who starred in the US TV series The Killing, and in 2014's Robocop.
Harley Quinn ( Margot Robbie)
Otherwise known as Dr Harleen Frances Quinzel (no wonder she wanted to change her name), Harley Quinn is a relatively recent, but notably popular addition to the DC world. She was first introduced in 1992, via the Warner Bros television cartoon, Batman: The Animated Series. Originally a psychiatrist at a Gotham asylum, Quinn ends up falling madly in love with the Joker and becoming a criminal herself, donning a distinctive Harlequin-inspired outfit.
Model Cara Delevingne was originally in talks for the role, but was given the part of Enchantress instead. Margot Robbie (who shot to fame in The Wolf of Wall Street) was eventually cast as Quinn; the film will see the actress reunited with her Focus co-star Will Smith.
Here's an intriguing tweet from Ayer, summing up some of the compexities of Quinn's "madness", and her relationship with the Joker:
Deadshot (Will Smith)
An expert marksman (hence the name), Deadshot, aka Floyd Lawton, is an assassin with a near-perfect record (his cybernetic eye piece, designed to improve accuracy, probably helps). Interestingly, the character's disregard for the lives of other humans is matched by an equal disregard for his own life: appropriately enough, Deadshot has a "suicide wish", and was motivated to join the squad by his desire to die in a dramatic, spectacular manner.
While the character has been previously portrayed on the TV series Arrow (by Michael Rowe), he remains a relatively little-known DC villain. In a recent interview with MTV News, Will Smith spoke about how he hopes to create the definitive big-screen version of the villain: “With this character and the DC world, I love that I’m getting the opportunity for the global definition of Deadshot." Deadshot is believed to be one of the lead characters in Suicide Squad.
The Joker (Jared Leto)
One of the most famous DC villains of all, The Joker arguably needs no introduction. The clown-faced psychopath, who made his comic book debut in 1940, is widely regarded as Batman's ultimate nemesis. Leto is the first actor to play the Joker since Heath Ledger took on the role in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight (and earned a posthumous Best Supporting Actor Oscar), and recent rumours have suggested that Leto's Batman will be "inspired" by Ledger's performance. However, it's a fair bet that the actor will also be putting his own unique spin on the character, although it's anyone's guess as to exactly how he will do this.
Appearance-wise, we have a few more clues, thanks to series of Twitter updates from David Ayer, who unveiled the first images of Leto as the joker in April 2015.
A previous "scoop" on the character, from Latino Review's Umberto Gonzalez, read: "He's lean & scarred but his suit does have broad shoulders. Joker works out in his cell like an inmate when he is interrogated by Amanda Waller. He's doing hand stand push ups so it makes sense that Jared Leto said he is putting on weight. He's definitely not skinny, but in fact more muscular. He has bleached skin not make up."
It's not yet 100 per cent clear whether the Joker will be part of the official Suicide Squad line-up, or whether he'll be involved in the story in some other way, although some rumours have suggested that he may even come face to face with old enemy Batman in the film (See "What about Batman?", below).
Enchantress (Cara Delevingne)
Model Cara Delevingne will be continuing her transition to an acting career (later this year, you'll be able to see her play a mermaid in Joe Wright's Pan) by taking on the role of the relatively little-known DC character Enchantress, otherwise known as June Moore. A powerful sorceress, Enchantress lacks the ability to control her powers. In the comic books, she has been portrayed as both a superhero, and a supervillain, so it'll be interesting to see where Suicide Squad decides to take the character. Fun Enchantress fact: for some reason, in the comic books, the character always carries a roll of duct tape.
Boomerang (Jai Courtney)
Boomerang, aka Fred Myers, is a supervillain and assassin-for-hire who makes the most of his Australian heritage, utilising a collection of (you guessed it) specially customised deadly boomerangs to take down his victims. He'll be portrayed in Suicide Squad by Terminator: Genisys star Jai Courtney.
Slipknot (Adam Beach)
In April 2015, it was revealed that Law and Order actor Adam Beach would be starring in Suicide Squad as Slipknot, a supervillain known for his prowess with ropes.
El Diablo (Jay Hernandez)
Jay Hernandez (Hostage, World Trade Center) will star in the film as El Diablo, otherwise known as Chato Santana. In the DC comic books, Santana is an ex-criminal, who joins the Suicide Squad to seek redemption for his past sins. His role in the film is rumoured to be relatively small – little more than a cameo.
Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje)
Fascinatingly, in the DC Comic books, super-strong supervillain Killer Croc suffers from a condition which causes him to develop reptilian features – a sort of atavistic throwback to very early human ancestors. If the cast photo above is anything to go by, this has been carried into the film: Akinnuoye-Agbaje's Croc definitely has some kind of scaly, not-quite-human thing going on.
Katana (Karen Fukuhara)
In the DC comic books, the Japanese-born Katana is a martial arts master and expert swordswoman, who belongs to a team of superheroes known as The Outsiders (although comic book storylines have previously seen the character cross paths with the Suicide Squad).
And Batman? Batfleck
In January 2015, a report from Forbes suggested that Ben Affleck's Batman could be appearing in Suicide Squad, towards the end of the film. The article also indicated that Batman's storyline would be linked to that of Jared Leto's Joker, and would pave the way for The Joker to appear as the primary antagonist in DC's planned standalone Batman film.