Well, they actually did it. David Ayer and friends are actually going to deliver us a Suicide Squad movie in August of 2016. I never thought I’d live to see the day.
Well, really, “live to see the day” isn’t a phrase you associate with a team known as the “Suicide Squad.” This trailer landed at SDCC 2015 and wasn’t really intended to be seen by the general public for awhile, but Warner Bros. relented and gave the fans what they wanted.
We went on a hunt for any piece of DC Comics lore that might help us make sense of the Suicide Squad movie trailer. Watch it again, and then we’ll get down to business:
Here’s how this is going to work. Rather than go chronologically through the trailer, we’ll look at the big character reveals first. I’ll try and place some shots in some kind of order that’s relevant to what I think their stories are, mostly based on what we know of them from their appearances in comics, cartoons, or television.
Let’s get down to it…
Here’s our first look at Viola Davis as Amanda Waller. “The Wall” has shown up in live-action several times now, having been played by Pam Grier on Smallville, Angela Bassett in the Green Lantern movie (where she was “Dr. Amanda Waller” and not quite the badass/shady leader of the Suicide Squad that she’s traditionally known as), and by Cynthia Addai-Robinson on a number of episodes of Arrow.
I want to say this is supposed to be General Wade Eiling, as he would certainly fit into the broader base of DC Universe characters being used in this movie, but I can’t be absolutely certain. If anyone wants to help me out with this one, I’d appreciate it.
CORRECTION: That’s a Navy uniform…he can’t be a General, let alone General Eiling. My bad.
I promise, I’m much more certain of most of the other stuff in this article, though.
This has to be our first look inside the DC Cinematic Universe’s Belle Reve prison. This is a maximum security facility where “problem” metahumans are housed, and it happens to be where Amanda Waller selects many of her “Task Force X” recruits from.
Traditionally (as in, in the comics), Belle Reve is located in Terrebone Parish, Louisiana. There are some other prison scenes in this trailer that show signs in Spanish, which makes me wonder if they’ve moved the location of Belle Reve for the purposes of this film, or if those scenes just take place someplace else altogether.
I’m not going to spend too much time on Harley Quinn just yet, but when they say “maximum security” at Belle Reve, they really mean maximum security. Harley is housed in a cage within a cage here, and since I don’t see a toilet in that cube, perhaps this is just the only way they let her get some exercise.
Assuming that’s the case, the fact that it takes a team of armed and armored guards to get her out of her “gym” there is an indication of the kind of Harley we’re going to get in this movie. This isn’t a sidekick, this is a dangerous woman. Lots more on her down below, though…
Here’s Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag, or possibly Rick Flag, Jr. As you might expect for a guy named “Rick Flag” he was created back in 1959.
Flag is the leader of the Suicide Squad, though. If he survives or not is anyone’s guess. It looks like that might be Scott Eastwood’s unknown character off to the left, and that’s Slipknot on the right.
Speaking of Slipknot…
This is Adam Beach as Slipknot, an assassin with a fondness for ropes. Slipknot started life as a minor Firestorm villain. And you know what happens to lame Firestorm villains? They join the Suicide Squad.
And you know what happens to lame Firestorm villains who join the Suicide Squad? Click here to find out.
But seriously, don’t get too attached to Slipknot. It’s just a hunch I’ve got.
Here’s Karen Fukuhara as Tatsu Yamashiro/Katana. Arrow fans already know what Katana is about, and here’s a hint: it involves a particular kind of sword.
I have to appreciate the fact that they’ve made Jai Courtney’s Digger “Captain Boomerang” Harkness basically just a douchebag gangster in a tracksuit…but they had the good sense to keep his color scheme.
Harkness began his fictional life as one of the Flash’s primary villains, before finding a home in the Suicide Squad. I have to wonder if any of his history in Central City will be addressed in this movie.
Here’s Jay Hernandez as Chato Santana/El Diablo. This version of the character was introduced in a 2008 mini-series by Jai Nitz and Phil Hester.
For comparison, here’s what he looked like in the comics:
I’ll be honest, I’m not familiar with this version of the character. However, if he’s anything like the original El Diablo, he’s a man possessed by a demon that gives him otherworldly powers. The Jay Hernandez version of El Diablo was a gang member/drug dealer before becoming host to the demon, and he eventually became a member of the suicide squad.
Either way, he didn’t land himself in Belle Reve by being a particularly nice guy.
It also looks like we’re going to get at least one origin story told in the course of this movie, namely that of Cara Delevingne’s character, the Enchantress.
With a little bit of a tweak, the basic concept of how the young woman who will become the Enchantress (I really hope her actual name isn’t June Moone in this movie) seems to be intact.
During some kind of underground misadventure, she encounters a demon named Dzamor, and she ends up as a sorceress.
I mean, when there are pentagram-like runs painted above your head while you bathe in black water/blood, it’s safe to say that you aren’t going to be hanging with the Justice League.
Well, to be fair, the character has recently been a member of the Justice League Dark, an affiliation of magic users who just kind of have the franchise name tagged on to them to boost sales. She was also a member of the Shadowpact, another team of supernatural heroes and anti-heroes who prowled the DC Universe for a brief time in the early 2000s.
Here’s her comic book look:
As you can see, she’s a little less Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice in the comics and a little more colorful.
The whole “Hannibal Lecter” creep-on-a-gurney thing has been done to death over the years, but when it’s a guy like Killer Croc, we’re willing to give him a pass…
…especially when the overall Killer Croc look is this good!
For comparison, here’s how he ‘s been looking in the comics in recent years:
Croc has primarily been known as a Batman villain throughout most of his career, and Batman villains are definitely a theme in this movie, from Croc, the Joker, and Harley Quinn, to another guy who was first introduced as a Batman baddie…
In fact, let’s talk about Will Smith’s character for a moment, Floyd Lawton/Deadshot…
We meet at least three distinct incarnations of Floyd “Deadshot” Lawton in this trailer, each seem to hint at different aspects of his life. The above image shows him taking his daughter, Zoe, out Christmas shopping.
Zoe is a balancing element in Lawton’s life, and she is one of the key reasons that he kind of keeps one foot on the side of the angels. Without his desire to do right by his daughter, he’d probably be a more ruthless criminal. For a look at that side of the character (and the introduction of Zoe), there was a Deadshot mini-series by Christos Gage, Steven Cummings, and Jimmy Palmiotti that’s worth a read.
The thing is…
…it’s not clear when that Christmas shopping sequence takes place. Is it a flashback to a time from before Lawton was locked up? Or maybe because of his participation in the Task Force X program they let him have some family furloughs.
Anyway, forget about Floyd Lawton the family man and/or convict for a moment, and enjoy this pretty dead on balls accurate look at Deadshot the supervillain.
Here he is in his natural, four-color habitat:
By the way, if you want to know what Deadshot looked like in his first appearance from way the hell back in Batman #59 (1950), have a look…
Yeah, let’s just say his redesign is cooler.
Anyway, you don’t hire a star like Will Smith if your plan is to just stick him behind a full face mask for two hours, so expect this to be the Deadshot you see for most of the movie.
I am including this image because I need your help, readers. I feel like I should know who the eyeball-headed clown on the left is. It’s driving me crazy that I don’t.
Now, even if we assume for a moment that he isn’t an established (if exceedingly minor) DC Comics supervillain, I have to just appreciate the weirdness on display here. In fact, it doesn’t even end here!
There’s also Random Goat-Mask Dude…
…Machine Gun Panda…
…and the dreaded BatMask!
Okay, in all seriousness, there’s nothing to see here with those guys, and there probably isn’t much more significance to them. What is cool, however, is that it looks like the Suicide Squad movie is establishing a tone for the wider DC Cinematic Universe. In other words, maybe masks and costumes are simply commonplace in this world among the criminal element, which makes even the relatively minor baddies that we meet in Belle Reve a step up from losers like Goat Mask Dude.
If this is true, it might just be my favorite piece of world-building they’ve hinted at.
Okay. I promised we’d get to Harley Quinn, because I suspect she’s going to be the real star of this movie. There are a number of moments glimpsed in this trailer that make me think we’re going to get a look at her origin story, which is sure to be a fairly traumatic and creepy affair.
In the comics and cartoons, Dr. Quinzel was an Arkham Asylum psychiatrist who kind of fell under the Joker’s spell, and eventually became his girlfriend, henchwoman, badass, etc.
Is this a more “normal” looking Joker, sans tattoos and general disfigurement. Maybe they’re also going to show us a new take on the Joker’s orgins in this film, too? Is it possible that Mr. J was just a garden-variety psychopath/killer when he first knew Dr. Quinzel?
Or maybe that’s just an indication that Joel Kinnaman’s Rick Flagg had a romantic history with Harley before she decided to follow the Joker into a life of lunacy. If that’s the case, then perhaps Flagg’s lingering romantic feelings for Harley are what land her in Belle Reve rather than Arkham.
Assuming that some of the other shoot-em-up scenes in the trailer are part of this sequence, it seems like people are breaking in to Arkham Asylum. This next shot might be part of that, as well, as it shows someone “clearing a path” for the Joker in some kind of official facility:
Maybe this is the Joker coming back for the woman he loves…
The woman being strapped down here is definitely Dr. Harleen Quinzel. This sequence probably doesn’t take place at Belle Reve, and it could be our first look at Arkham Asylum.
This is a little disturbing, but again, if this is the origin of Harley Quinn, then it might explain the Joker’s finale in this trailer…
If the Joker tortures a reasonably well-adjusted Doctor into becoming, well, Harley Quinn, that’s pretty disturbing.
Even when Harley is in captivity, she keeps that bleached skin look that the Joker has. So perhaps it would seem that Harley isn’t wearing makeup as part of her persona. Does the Joker put Harley Quinn through the same kind of torment that physically changed him, as well?
It’s also worth pointing out that we have never seen the Joker in any image with the assembled Squad team, promotional or otherwise. To the best of my knowledge, we haven’t even seen Leto in set photos with anyone other than Harley Quinn and Batman.
In other words, the Joker probably isn’t part of Task Force X, he might be the “villain” of the movie full of villains (which would kind of make sense), or he’s only in the movie for the purpose of establishing an arc for Harley Quinn.
I have to assume that the scenes of Joker and Harley dealing with Batman on the roof of the…ummmm…Jokermobile are either flashbacks, or take place fairly early in the movie, perhaps before Harley ends up in Belle Reve. Since it looks like Batman comes out of retirement in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, these sequences probably take place a few years in the past, while the rest of the movie takes place either right after Man of Steel (Waller mentions Superman) or after BvS.
By the way, look at this face…
Folks have complained about the Joker’s “grill,” but if I may bring in a quick image from the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer, keep this in mind…
The Joker killed Robin. Don’t you think that Batman would be pretty annoyed about that? So wanna know why the Joker has metal teeth? Because Batman knocked them all the hell out of his mouth.
Can you blame him?
Back to Harley…
I’m including this, not because of any greater significance to the story, but because the diamond pattern on her dress is the closest to a “classic” Harley Quinn costume that we’ve glimpsed anywhere in this movie.
Alright, so this is a little more modest, but you get the idea.
All that being said, I suspect that this is the version of Harley’s look we’re going to spend the most time with in the course of the movie.
And here’s one last look at the team assembled. A key component of the Suicide Squad, however, is that not everybody survives every mission. Place your bets as to which of these nice people will make it to the sequel!