The Suicide Squad hit theaters in July 2021 with a change in direction and a refurbished line-up, which didn’t continue with some major characters from the first installment. The movie maintains many elements from David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, but it isn’t a direct sequel. Although several major characters from the first Suicide Squad appear in James Gunn’s movie, other antiheroes don’t count with the same luck.
Suicide Squad premiered in 2016 as the third movie in the DC Extended Universe after Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and became a box office success. Unfortunately, it also received negative reviews targeting its lack of cohesion and an odd blend of styles. This added to the mixed reception of the Zack-Snyder-led films and the divisive DCEU, which suffered a shake-up and resulted in the decision to turn the Suicide Squad sequel into a soft reboot.
Will David Ayer’s Suicide Squad Get A Director’s Cut?
In 2019, director James Gunn revealed the full cast of The Suicide Squad with new characters like Ratcatcher (Daniela Melchior) and Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian) among its ranks. They were joined by the best-received characters from the first film, including fan-favorite Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and Amanda Waller (Viola Davis). However, some major characters from the 2016 Suicide Squad movie are missing from the sequel.
Will Smith was one of the first figures attached to the Suicide Squad sequel even before any plans for its production were concrete. After completing the first film, Smith and director David Ayer went on to collaborate in the Netflix film Bright. However, Ayer departed the production of Suicide Squad 2, and Smith couldn’t stay on the project due to scheduling conflicts when it got delayed. Producer Peter Safran confirmed that Will Smith didn’t return as Deadshot in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad because of bad timing, as production for the sequel couldn’t be postponed or rearranged because of Gunn’s commitment to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
When Idris Elba was announced to join The Suicide Squad, there was a lot of speculation about which DC character he would play in the sequel. Fan theories suggested characters such as Vigilante, Bronze Tiger, and, of course, Deadshot. While Elba’s Bloodsport is a character with an established history in the comics, he was in fact a replacement for the no-nonsense mercenary vacancy Will Smith’s Deadshot left in the team. Smith’s absence ultimately helped the movie stand out as a new project with fewer ties to the 2016 installment, and Bloodsport had the chance to shine on his own merit in James Gunn’s 2021 standalone movie.
With Jared Leto’s absence in Birds of Prey, the return of his iteration of Joker to The Suicide Squad became less feasible. The Clown Prince of Crime was originally set to play a major part in the first film but most of his presence ended up being cut for the final product. In Suicide Squad, he throws a small wrench into Amanda Waller’s plans and helps establish Harley Quinn’s origin, but ultimately represents no bigger influence on the overall story. After the astonishing success of Joaquin Phoenix’s Oscar-winning portrayal of the Joker, the DCEU version of the villain became even more dismissed. Jared Leto briefly reprised his Joker role in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, but with the four-hour movie not officially a part of the DCEU, the future of Leto’s Joker remains uncertain.
Why Jared Leto’s Joker Would Never Have Worked In The Suicide Squad
Without taking into account the mixed reception of Leto’s portrayal of the iconic Batman villain, James Gunn explained that he didn’t bring back the Joker in The Suicide Squad simply because he wouldn’t fit the story. The Suicide Squad is filled with bizarre and violent characters, but they all have an underlying wish to do the right thing. Certainly, the Joker’s tendency to unleash chaos on friends and foes alike, together with his inability to feel empathy (not even to his so-called love, Harley Quinn), doesn’t make him a good fit for the colorful world of The Suicide Squad. None of the upcoming movies in the Warner Bros.’ slate give any hint at Joker’s appearances in future DC installments either, and Leto’s next superhero project is currently the title character in the Sony Spider-Man spinoff movie Morbius. Besides, Joker and Harley Quinn broke up before the events of Birds of Prey and she will be distancing herself from her psychotic ex-boyfriend in future appearances.
Portrayed by Lost and Game of Thrones actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, the iconic Batman foe is one of the founding members of Amanda Waller’s squad in the 2016 film and one of the key players in their victory over The Enchantress (Cara Delevingne). The makeup work on this particular character helped the film win an Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, while Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s previous role as Kurse in Thor: The Dark World gave him the experience to portray a comic book character under heavy prosthetics. However, the actor was one of the first to announce that Killer Croc wouldn’t return to James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad.
To differentiate The Suicide Squad from the original movie in terms of tone, plot, and characterization, James Gunn replaced Killer Croc with King Shark as the “monster” tank member of the team. Similar to the New 52 continuity in the comics, King Shark was originally intended to play Killer Croc’s role in the first Suicide Squad, but director David Ayer chose to replace him with the scaled metahuman due to the extensive CGI work the character required. Now that the squad members have switched up (and the first Suicide Squad proved the brand’s financial viability), Killer Croc will enjoy a lengthy retirement in his prison cell for the time being, while Sylvester Stallone’s apex predator with a heart of gold bonds with his new teammates while fighting a gigantic starfish.
In Suicide Squad, Katana is the last character to join the team and the only one to volunteer. Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) introduces her to Task Force X aboard the helicopter to Midway City as his personal bodyguard. With her soul-trapping sword and a fierce attitude, she helps them in their fight against the Enchantress. When Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) convinces Slipknot to flee, Katana restrains him, saving him from getting his neck bomb detonated; and when the team finally defeats the sorceress, Katana is about to execute her but Flag orders her to spare her – a decision that allowed him to get his beloved June Moon back from the villain’s demonic possession.
How The Suicide Squad’s RT Score Is Already Different From Past DCEU Movies
Similar to the Joker, Katana (Karen Fukuhara) was originally supposed to play a bigger role in Suicide Squad. The trailers for the 2016 film showed part of a Katana scene that was cut, in which the samurai warrior would be mind-controlled by the Enchantress and turn against the team. This sequence, along with other discarded footage, is the subject of the “Ayer Cut” movement, a petition to release the director’s cut of the movie similar to the effective campaign that made Zack Snyder’s Justice League a reality.
June Moon / Enchantress
Despite the return of her lover Rick Flag in the sequel, Doctor June Moon was never expected to make a comeback. After Adam Beach’s Slipknot, Cara Delevingne’s Enchantress has always been the least likely actress to return to The Suicide Squad since her character completed her full arc in the first installment and went back to being a regular human being with no intention of revisiting the anguish she had to go through.
She played a big role in the first film as the Task Force X recruit who goes rogue against her teammates when her alter ego, the sorceress specter Enchantress, takes full control of her body. After El Diablo sacrifices himself to defeat her demonic brother Incubus (Alain Chanoine), she attempts to trick the Squad into joining her, but they avoid her illusions and destroy her heart, releasing Dr. Moon from the curse. There is simply no reason why June Moon would want to relive her traumatic experience again.
The least likely character to return since his brief appearance in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad was Christopher Weiss aka Slipknot. This character was used the first movie’s cannon fodder, used as proof that Amanda Waller wasn’t playing around with the bombs attached to the team’s necks. While it’s probable that James Gunn could have employed Slipknot’s ability to “climb anything” for hilarious purposes, his absence made way for more innovative characters to join the sequel.
Despite being an important part of the first film, Jay Hernandez’s El Diablo didn’t return for the sequel. Hernandez has been vocal about his support for the Ayer Cut of Suicide Squad, but no longer holds out hope for his character’s return. El Diablo was perhaps the most powerful character in the 2016 movie, but sadly, he had little screentime and was forced to sacrifice himself to defeat Incubus and Enchantress. With El Diablo dead and his dark characterization not fitting in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, it’s unlikely he will ever return in a future DCEU movie.
Although these members of the original squad are missed, it’s refreshing to see new outrageous comic book villains put their lives on the line in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. The film is jam-packed with characters who may or may not live to see the end of the film and the unpredictability factor only makes its release all the more exciting. Besides, the return of some members of the original squad is not completely off the table.
More: Suicide Squad 2: Why James Gunn Chose Starro As The Villain
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