“So, that’s it, huh? We’re the patsies. Some kind of suicide squad...” These are the words of Deadshot (Will Smith) in the first Comic-Con footage from Suicide Squad, the latest entry in DC’s ever-expanding cinematic universe. But who is Deadshot, anyway? What is Suicide Squad? And what is that weird human crocodile thing supposed to be? For the answers to all these questions and more, keep reading.
Who are the Suicide Squad?
The so-called Suicide Squad are an ensemble of DC comics supervillains, forced by the government to embark on dangerous and usually life-threatening villains. In the original comics, the Suicide Squad – sometimes referred to as Task Force X – first appeared in The Brave and the Bold way back in 1959, and included Rick Flag among the line-up. But it was the 1987 revival that solidified the team of supervillains we know today. It took Amanda ‘The Wall’ Waller, a mysterious government official, to bring the rogue’s gallery of super villains together, turning a maximum security prison into a special-ops force.
Bad versus evil is a lot more interesting.
The idea goes that the government has plausible deniability: they can send these expendable baddies out on dangerous – or indeed, suicidal – missions, and if something goes wrong, they have fall guys. They can blame the criminals. The villains, for their part, can expect shorter sentences or better prison treatment for their co-operation – not that they have much of a choice. In the comics, Waller fits each member of the team with a bomb in their head as a handy bit of insurance.
For newcomers to the Squad, there are several decades worth of Suicide Squad comics to draw – here’s five storylines worth reading up on before watching the movie.
Are the Suicide Squad good guys or bad guys?
Technically, they're neither. The official line tends to be that they're anti-heroes. Most of the characters in the squad originated as antagonists of DC's superheroes, before being recruited by the government. The fact that these bad guys are taking on ever badder guys could suggest they are de facto good guys.
Are the Suicide Squad in the same universe as Batman and Superman?
Warner Bros. announced a Suicide Squad movie way back in 2009, shortly after development on Man Of Steel began. It was around this time that DC began laying the foundations of shared cinematic universe. So yes: it will live in the same world as Batman v Superman and the upcoming Justice League movies.
Though it is very much its own beast, Suicide Squad will feature references to Bats and Supes (one of the trailers sees a government official mention Superman – see below), with Batman himself even making an appearance (though it's yet to be confirmed whether that's Ben Affleck in the batsuit).
Who is directing Suicide Squad?
David Ayer is directing Suicide Squad, his first foray into fantastical superhero business, having previously directed grittier real-world affairs like Street Kings, End Of Watch, and Fury.
Speaking to Empire back in 2014, Ayer described the film as “Dirty Dozen with supervillains,” posing the rhetorical question: “Does a movie really need good guys?”
Does a movie really need good guys?
Ayer continued: “I think there’s something incredible about the comic genre and technology has finally caught up with pen and ink to render these fantastic worlds in a way that feels believable and visceral to audiences. It’s a secular religion in that regards. The mythology that these characters represent – the idea of them as fallen gods on Earth – is intriguing to me. You can do amazing things as a filmmaker if you have the proper tools, and those are time and money...”
Who is in Suicide Squad?
• Viola Davis plays Amanda Waller.
When is Suicide Squad released?
Suicide Squad has a release date of August 5, 2016 for most of the world, including the UK and the US. Some territories – including Russia, New Zealand and Kazakstan – will see it released on August 4, while the lucky sods in Belgium, France and Sweden will see Suicide Squad first, on August 3.
The first trailer for Suicide Squad, originally put together for the audience at the 2015 Comic-Con, arrived rather hastily online after it was unofficially leaked.
The first ‘proper’ trailer landed in January, accompanied by Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, and managed to be a heck of a lot of fun.
Another trailer arrived in April – referred to as the ‘Blitz Trailer’ – and was similarly entertaining, especially given another rollicking soundtrack (this time, Sweet's The Ballroom Blitz).
Some neatly designed character posters arrived in February, depicting the key traits or powers of our anti-heroes.
A heap of uber-stylish new character posters arrived in June.
The soundtrack was announced in June, and features artists as diverse as Panic! At The Disco, Skrillex, Eminem, and Creedence Clearwater Revival. See the full Suicide Squad soundtrack listing here.