The Suicide Squad is a project that partially thrives on highlighting lesser-known characters and casting non-traditional blockbuster actors to bring them to life. This is certainly the case with Peter Capaldi. The 63-year-old Scottish actor was a comedic character actor known for his hilariously crass portrayal of The Thick of It‘s Malcolm Tucker long before he became a nerd household name as the Twelfth Doctor in Doctor Who. But, even after that high profile TV role, not many could have predicted Capaldi’s entrance into the DC Extended Universe. For many geeks (this one included), it is one of the most-anticipated aspects of the upcoming film. Capaldi will be playing Flash villain The Thinker, an inventor with telekinesis and mind control powers who is a frequent member of Task Force X in the comics. We talked to Capaldi’s co-star Margot Robbie as part of Den of Geek magazine’s The Suicide Squad cover story for insight into Capaldi’s role in the super-powered film.
“The character is definitely done justice,” Robbie tells us of Capaldi’s work, adding that The Thinker (along with King Shark) was one of the characters she was particularly excited to see brought on for The Suicide Squad. The character first appeared in DC Comics (All-Flash #3) back in 1943. Also known as Clifford DeVoe, The Thinker got his alternate moniker because of the “thinking cap” he uses to augment his intelligence. Originally, the cap was a helmet that beamed IQ-boosting rays into DeVoe’s brain. Later in canon, The Thinker’s cap has taken the form of implants that bore directly into DeVoe’s bald head—The Suicide Squad is going with this latter depiction, which may be a missed opportunity to sell The Thinker bike helmets. The character made an on-screen appearance as a main villain in Season 4 of The Flash, but Capaldi’s turn in The Suicide Squad will be the first time The Thinker has been brought to the big screen.
Speaking more generally about Capaldi’s role in production, Robbie says: “He’s such an exceptional actor and he’s such a lovely guy.” While The Thinker is not one of the ensemble characters originally promoted as part of the film’s Suicide Squad team, he is featured learning the “rules” of the squad in the TV spot below, and Robbie confirms the two worked together quite a bit: “It’s funny, it’s a huge cast, but we really all did do a lot together. I don’t want to give away anything, so I won’t tell you what to expect, but he brings gravitas to the role.”
While we’ve known that Capaldi would be part of The Suicide Squad since September 2019, it wasn’t until last summer’s DC Fandome event that we learned who the veteran actor would be playing. Capaldi joined his fellow cast members and director James Gunn to talk about the R-rated war epic, saying: “I’ve just got to say what an amazing experience it was, in regards of [director James Gunn] and all of [my co-stars]. You know, the atmosphere on that set was so positive and what a warm, wonderful supportive place to be. You know, not everyone has been in a big superhero movie, even if they’ve been Doctor Who or anything like that. So to walk on to a set like that can be quite intimidating. But the welcome that [everybody] provided was just fantastic.”
Given The Thinker’s canonical connection to the Flash, many have theorized about the possibility of Capaldi’s Thinker appearing in the DCEU’s upcoming The Flash film, set to be released in November 2022. He’ll have to make it through The Suicide Squad first, though. Gunn recently commented on Twitter (via ScreenRant) that almost all of the film’s characters are going to die. I guess that would free Capaldi up for The Hour Season 3?