Reports of the Suicide Squad’s demise appear to have been greatly exaggerated. Less than half a year after James Gunn’s gnarly The Suicide Squad reboot went largely overlooked at the box office in August, the first spinoff from that series, the John Cena-starring Peacemaker, is doing very well on HBO Max according to Gunn. And perhaps to prove his point, the eclectic filmmaker has revealed that he and HBO Max are considering doing another series connected to the Suicide Squad world.
“We’re working on something else now, another TV show that’s connected to that universe,” Gunn told Deadline. “I can’t quite say [what].” While James Gunn is tightlipped about what that series will be, the trade reports it will be based around one of the Suicide Squad characters we’ve already met and that the idea is in “embryonic stages” (i.e. a long way from a series order or pilot greenlight). Even so we at Den of Geek decided to have some fun and speculate about which characters—alive or dead—from The Suicide Squad universe we’d like to see more of in an episodic format.
Come on, puddin’, you can’t talk about any modern variation of the Suicide Squad without mentioning one fantabulous Dr. Harleen Quinzel. Margot Robbie made her an iconic character in David Ayer’s otherwise chaotic Suicide Squad in 2016, and Robbie has reprised her twice to even better effect in the Birds of Prey and second Suicide Squad movies. In fact, Gunn said Robbie’s manic anti-heroine was his favorite character to write for in the 2021 movie.
So on paper, an HBO Max series about Harley Quinn should be a no-brainer. Robbie’s interpretation of the character is still beloved, but since Birds of Prey and The Suicide Squad underperformed at the box office, moving it to HBO Max would distance the character from some of the box office troubles she’s recently encountered. It would also free her from the constraints of foreign markets, most notably China, which have likely made Warners gun-shy about introducing Harley Quinn’s soulmate, Poison Ivy, and the romantic relationship that entails. Robbie recently told Den of Geek she would still like to explore that aspect of the character on-screen, and HBO Max would make that infinitely easier.
Of course whether Robbie wants to do an HBO Max series is a different matter. The Australian actor has already netted two Oscar nominations for her work in I, Tonya and Bombshell, and has moved on to have a successful producing career with projects like the aforementioned Tonya Harding biopic as well as the 2020 Best Picture nominee, Promising Young Woman. Plus, after three stints under the clown makeup, she might want a break. Still, in a perfect world we’d get at least one more outing with her version of Harley alongside her favorite redhead.
If getting Margot Robbie to do an HBO Max series proves difficult, one imagines Gunn and the streaming service would then have much better luck building on top of what we already know from the life and times of David Dastmalchian’s Polka-Dot Man. This supervillain sad sack version of Norman Bates stole entire scenes with his pitiful eyes in Gunn’s The Suicide Squad and still has one of the most delightfully absurd superpowers ever conceived: He throws polka-dots at people until they die.
It’s a wild conceit that could easily be expanded on by a new series which digs into Polka-Dot Man’s bizarre relationship with his Dr. Frankenstein-like mother, as well as his siblings who didn’t survive the experiments. However, given that we all know Polka-Dot Man’s fate is to be reduced to a smear beneath Starro’s intergalactic foot, the tradeoff here is it would have to be a prequel… that we always know is building to a crushing end.
For the reasons listed above, we suspect the character most likely to get the HBO Max treatment will be none other than Daniela Melchior’s Ratcatcher 2. When we first talked to Gunn about The Suicide Squad before its release, the director told us that “Daniela Melchior has the charisma of just a classic [presence], like someone from the French New Wave. She’s a true movie star.” After seeing the film, it was obvious he wasn’t whistling “Folsom Prison Blues.”
Indeed, the Portuguese character Cleo Cazo was created for the movie and Melchior. While she has what at first looks like the most repellent and humble of superpowers–she can talk to rats–like Polka-Dot Man, she is more than what her dippy name suggests. Gunn’s affection for the outcasts and losers comes shining through the character, as does Melchior’s ability to convey soulful optimism via the young woman who is constantly discounted because of her age, background, and her BFF being a rat named Sebastian Well, the unlikely pair saved the day at the end of the movie, and seeing them work together in a limited series while having new bizarre subterranean adventures could be a joy. It would also pave the way for Taika Waititi to do more cameos as the first Ratcatcher and Cleo’s father.
Plus, it’d also be nice to force Gunn to step again outside the “terrible father” convention he’s used many times, including in Peacemaker.
Still, one cannot end a list like this without at least acknowledging the star of Gunn’s The Suicide Squad: Idris Elba’s Bloodsport. We loved Bloodsport, and we loved Elba clearly loving how he played Bloodsport as a weary soldier of fortune from the type of movies they don’t make anymore. With that said, we’re firstly not sure Elba would want to do a Bloodsport TV series. Second, is Bloodsport different enough to distinguish from what Gunn is already doing on Peacemaker? While Elba’s Robert DuBois is clearly intended to be the smarter and sharper hitman antihero between himself and Cena’s Peacemaker—he even won the final showdown!—there is some obvious overlap between the two characters’ skillsets and backstories, which The Suicide Squad movie poked fun at. If Gunn and HBO Max want to do another spinoff, we imagine it will be with a different character.
Those are our guesses and hopes. What are yours?