Back in 2016, the DC Extended Universe was quickly expanding and followed up their super-sized superhero clash Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice with a possibly more exciting romp villain romp, Suicide Squad. It was a great move at the time — the trailer promised explosive fun and everyone loves the idea of a rogues gallery coming together to tackle greater evil and discover their heart! Or at least, everyone was supposed to love it. Instead, things went pretty off the rails and David Ayer’s Suicide Squad was widely considered a disappointment to critics and fans alike.
So of course, 5 years later, another DC movie is quickly approaching its release date, this time titled The Suicide Squad.
Naturally, the first word that springs to mind is reboot. But unlike most new iterations of superhero franchises, there was no recasting involved. No, the entire cast of the first Suicide Squad won’t be in attendance, with several core actors not reprising their roles. This includes squad members Deadshot (Will Smith), Enchantress (Cara Delevigne), Katana (Karen Fukuhara), El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), and Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje).
But rather than filing the roles with new actors, The Suicide Squad has opted to switch things up. Instead, new characters will make up the squad, alongside returners like Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, who appeared in both Suicide Squad and the more recent DCEU-connected Birds of Prey. Other returners include Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, and Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag.
So if not a reboot, the only logical conclusion is to think of this Suicide Squad as a sequel to the events of the first, right? Apparently not.
Planting The Suicide Squad Easter Eggs
In 2019, /Film’s Hoai-Tran Bui visited the set of James Gunn’s Suicide Squad where the very same question was asked. According to producer Peter Safran, the 2016 film isn’t connected after all.
We just don’t address [David Ayer’s Suicide Squad] in any tangible form. Yes, they’re the characters, the actors that played them in the first movie. But we really wanted to make sure that this stands on its own two feet.
This iteration of The Suicide Squad doesn’t require you to watch the first: familiar faces aside, the story won’t be referenced or affect the plot of this movie. But have no fear about what this means for the wider DC universe, there will always be an abundance of Easter eggs. Safran confirmed that they are definitely throughout the movie, with production designer Beth Mickle adding,
We’ve done some very small ones and throughout in graphics, and box labels and things but it’s only if you’re looking very closely.
While this movie will stand all on its own, this doesn’t rule out the possibility for hints towards the future of the universe. For one thing, Safran notes that after-credits scenes are “inevitable.”
James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad
Director James Gunn was given free-range with this film and if the trailer is any indication, he used this to great effect. This reimagined Suicide Squad pulls characters from across the DC villain pantheon.
The returning cast will be joined by newcomers, including Bloodsport (Idris Elba), a technologically advanced mercenary, and Peacemaker, a ruthless killer portrayed by the inimitable John Cena. Sylvester Stallone will join in, though he may be hard to given his character King Shark literally has the head of a great white shark. But at the very least, it shouldn’t be hard to pick out Peter Capaldi as The Thinker (despite the bolts sticking out of his electrifying head).
Character choice and design is just the tip of the iceberg. Gunn took inspiration from across the DC comic verse, in addition to classic “noir caper films.” Which promises a movie just as splashy and stylish as the rest of Gunn’s filmography.
The Suicide Squad hits theaters and HBO Max (for 31 days) on August 6, 2021.
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