Sequel The Suicide Squad may have been described in this past summer’s FanDome teaser trailer as “a gritty 1970s war movie,” but director James Gunn recently addressed audience incredulity regarding the stakes evocative of such a description, specifically when it comes to the survivability of its immense ensemble of DC Comics antiheroes. No one is safe, and he means no one.
Gunn, never one to shy away from direct interaction with fan comments, started a Twitter conversation promoting The Suicide Squad’s upcoming photo-debuting Empire cover story by asking fans which two characters are likely to survive. However, one critical response pointed to the “franchise armor” that would protect some characters—specifically those for whom DC and Warner Bros. has future plans. Indeed, the purportedly protected class of characters includes Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn (who makes her third DCEU appearance), Viola Davis’s returning team overseer, Amanda Waller, and the big-screen-debuting iconic DC villain, King Shark, played here by Steve Agee. Yet, Gunn emphatically refutes the notion that Warner or DC restricted his creativity.
“No character was protected by DC. They gave me carte blanche to do what I wanted.” Gunn tweets back, further explaining, “That was one of the things we agreed to before I came to work for them. I wasn’t looking for shock value but I wanted the audience to know anything could happen. #StoryReignsSupreme #TheSuicideSquad”
Of course, discussions about who may or may not have franchise armor are certainly reasonable to have, especially since The Suicide Squad will feature at least 15 notable members of its titular team of duress-dictated DC supervillains, most of whom do not conventionally qualify as future franchise material. Joining the aforementioned Harley Quinn and Amanda Waller in the sequel are fellow returnees Joel Kinnaman as field leader Col. Rick Flag and Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang. They will be flanked by franchise newcomers such as Idris Elba as Bloodsport (a character change after he was originally cast to replace Will Smith as Deadshot), Peter Capaldi as The Thinker, Michael Rooker as Savant, Pete Davidson as Blackguard, Alice Braga as Sol Soria, David Dastmalchian as Polka-Dot Man, Nathan Fillion as T.D.K., Mayling Ng as Mongal and Agee’s King Shark.