We all know that I loved Suicide Squad and even defended Jared Leto’s oily portrayal of The Joker. What can I say, I love my Harley Quinn and a disturbing, unhinged Joker as much as the next DC fan.
While critics and some fans dropped a monster deuce on the flick, it pulled in a worldwide box office of $746 million and earned an Academy Award for Best Makeup. It made sense for DC/Warner Bros. to move forward with a sequel to Suicide Squad, especially since the cast of characters is — much like the Guardians of the Galaxy — vast and everchanging. They could take the characters that audiences loved — Margot Robbie’s Harley, Will Smith’s Deadshot, and (dare I say it?) Jai Courtney’s Captain Boomerang — and drop the excess baggage that they didn’t enjoy: Cara Delevingne’s misused June Moon/Enchantress.
When Disney/Marvel dropped James Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 over absolute shite from his past he had already owned up to, apologized for, and clearly moved past, DC/Warner Bros. took the opportunity to snag the writer/director for their films. It was another sign of the new, less gloomy and less Zack Snyder-ized DCEU that most audiences wanted, based on the poor box office showings from Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Just Kill Everything and Justice League.
Now Gunn is back in the GOTG saddle at Marvel while still writing and directing what is now being described as a total reboot of the Suicide Squad cinematic presence by producer Peter Safran. Safran spoke with JoBlo about Gunn’s concurrent work ties to Marvel and DC, as well as the future of the Suicide Squad franchise.
“First of all, we don’t call it Suicide Squad 2 ‘cause it’s a total reboot, so it’s The Suicide Squad and I think people should be extremely excited about it. It’s everything you would hope from a James Gunn script and I think that says a lot and that promises a lot and I know that we will deliver a lot.”
This news, if accurate, is very fine news indeed. We already know that Idris Elba has been hired to fill-in for the unavailable Will Smith in the role of Floyd Lawton/Deadshot. Margot Robbie’s Dr. Harleen Quinzel/Harley Quinn is currently touted as on board for the sequel as well. The IMDB page for the flick has Jared Leto’s Joker as a rumored addition, but I think that might be the least likely character to show back up.
With the group of degenerate villains coerced into doing good for (I hope Viola Davis returns to her role) Amanda Waller, safe in the competent hands of Gunn, the only thing left to do is speculate and hope about which established members of the Squad will populate the new movie. I still want Courtney’s Boomerang back, as well as Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s criminally underused Killer Croc. Pulling The Joker’s Daughter into the mix would provide an excellent source of in-fighting with Harley, but I don’t know that Duela Dent’s story is familiar enough to a wider audience; possibly ruining the flow of The Suicide Squad with her backstory.
It has been rumored as well that Dave Bautista will also straddle two comic worlds by taking on Peacemaker for Gunn’s Squad. Collider recently claimed to have a list of villains in Gunn’s script. These included the aforementioned Peacemaker, The Ratcatcher, King Shark, and Polka-Dot Man.
I notice none of those are women. Pffffft.
Aside from Harley, Enchantress, and Duela, the Squad has included Killer Frost, Barbara Gordon/Oracle, Nightshade, Jewelee, Vixen, Poison Ivy, and Lashina (probably not a complete lady list). It would be great to see some of those female villains introduced into the cinematic universe of DC, especially Poison Ivy. It seems we aren’t getting her in Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), but it would be a nice way to re-introduce the character after Uma Thurman’s portrayal in the god-awful Batman and Robin. Oracle’s presence in The Suicide Squad could also set her up for appearances in future Birds of Prey flicks.
If DC/Warner Bros. is looking to keep their cinematic ventures flexible and spread across several realities, then perhaps Gunn won’t be setting anything up. However, with the influx of new, brighter writers and directors that can handle the stranger and oft-overlooked members of the DC Comic roster, it might behoove them to look to tie all of their newer features together — even in small ways — to avoid the mistakes of the all too recent past. Hell, Gunn could pop in Aquaman’s Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) if he wanted to; he was also in the Squad for a time.
What I’m saying is that DC/Warner Bros. has a real shot here of salvaging their cinematic universe with Gunn on board and a somewhat clean slate with a property still fresh in their audience’s minds. I’m hoping they use this second chance to learn from their mistakes and embrace the villainy, moments of heroism, and innate weirdness of Suicide Squad in a way that propels the DCEU forward. There is so much more than my beloved Batman that can be brought to the screen and I hope The Suicide Squad is another flick that pushes Warner Bros. to that understanding.
Header Image Source: DC Comics