With no less than 9 core members – none of which has ever featured in a film before – 'Suicide Squad' has a lot of ground to cover. To bring you an idea of what to expect from the movie, we've compiled each character's backstory according to the DC Comics universe...
First appearing in DC’s The Brave and the Bold #25 back in September 1959, Task Force X – as the team is officially known – was a sporadic presence throughout the so-called “Silver Age” of DC Comics, and was resurrected in 1987 by writer John Ostrander. Styled as a criminal family of sorts, this ragtag team of soldiers, prisoners and the criminally insane were placed on missions deemed so deadly by the U.S. Government that the lives of regular special forces could not be risked: hence, the tag “Suicide Squad.”
With several comic book incarnations of this rogue team cropping up over the decades, there’s little surprise to find they’re making their way to the silver screen in August 2016. Yet, despite there being more than a year until the film’s official release, the online world has been buzzing with speculation over this latest superhero franchise, ever since director David Ayer tweeted the first photo of the cast in full costume. To help bring you up to speed ahead of the film's launch we’ve compiled a complete rundown of the backstory to each movie character, so you can be as clued up as possible when the hype *really* sets in.
Adam Beach is Christopher Weiss a.k.a Slipknot
Created by Gerry Conway and Rafael Kayanan, Slipknot originally debuted in DC Comics' Fury of Firestorm #28 from October of 1984. A brilliant chemist from the Southern States, Christopher Weiss was responsible for creating a glue-type substance that could be applied to ropes, making them unbreakable. After having discovered such a potent weapon, however, Weiss embarked on a life of crime, becoming the villain known as Slipknot.
In a battle to the death with rival hero Firestorm, Weiss is successful but ultimately arrested. It's there, in Belle Reve prison, that his killer steel ropes and martial arts training catch the eye of the Suicide Squad, which he joins in Suicide Squad #9 from 1988. After losing his right arm in a bomb explosion with the Squad, Slipknot receives a bionic alternative in a Titans miniseries from 2009. Yet, after a head-to-head fight with Tattooed Man in Eric Wallace’s 2011 story Titans #31, he is bested and killed by beheading. With the events of the movie presumably pre-dating this unfortunate end, Adam Beach will resurrect the character and bring him to the big screen for the first time ever.
Jai Courtney is George “Digger” Harkness a.k.a Captain Boomerang
A reoccurring opponent of DC poster-hero The Flash, Captain Boomerang debuted in Flash #117 from December of 1960 and was created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino. As his supervillain title might suggest, George “Digger” Harkness is born-and-raised in Australia, with a talent for creating sophisticated, high-tech boomerangs.
Inducted into the Suicide Squad in Legends #3 from January 1987, Captain Boomerang is famous for his rather un-politically-correct outbursts, which may or may not make their way over to the film adaptation. After meeting an untimely demise in the DC series Identity Crisis, Boomerang passes on the torch to his son Owen, who becomes the second Captain – although it’s not certain yet which of these will make his appearance in Ayer's film.
Cara Delevingne is June Moone a.k.a The Enchantress
Bob Haney and Howard Purcell’s creation The Enchantress splashed onto the pages of Strange Adventures #187 in April of 1966. In her origin, the blonde, free-spirited artist June Moone becomes a dark-haired sorceress with an even darker power source, bestowed upon her by the mystical being Dzamor. After scant appearances across the DC Comics universe for the following two decades, the infamous anti-hero command figure Amanda Waller recalls The Enchantress and her magical energies for Legends 3 in January 1987, culminating in a closely-fought battle (and victory) against the character Brimstone. Following this, June Moone learns that her evil aura is actually a separate entity altogether, leading to its subsequent removal by the demon Incubus in Suicide Squad 15 (July 1988). It’s not until 2006, however that she returns, as part of Justice League Dark and The New 52. Which part of The Enchantress’ history Cara Delevingne’s will reprise in the forthcoming movie franchise is anyone’s guess right now.
Karen Fukuhara is Tatsu Yamashiro a.k.a Katana
Originally created by Jim Aparo and Mike W. Barr, Katana debuted in The Brave and the Bold #200 from January 1983. Starting off as a Japanese martial arts expert named Tatsu Yamashiro, she lost both her parents at a young age, sharpening her mistrust of the world (along with her love of blades). Having trained as a student of the wise samurai master Tadashi, she takes up her sword “Soultaker” and completes the transformation to full ronin status, becoming part of the Outsiders alongside heroes such as Black Lightening and Geo-Force. While never an official part of the Suicide Squad, she is convinced to aid them in a mission by a family member, and from that point onwards becomes an occasional presence in their world – something Karen Fukuhara will expand on in the movie, no doubt.
Joel Kinnaman is Rick Flag Jr.
Co-created by Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru, Richard Montgomery Flag debuted in DC Comics’ The Brave and the Bold #25 (September 1959) as the creator of the WWII Suicide Squadron. Following his death, Richard Flag Jr. decides to follow in his father’s footsteps by enlisting in the military and training as a fighter pilot. Not only does he manage this, but he also goes on to become leader of the U.S government’s original Task Force X, thus completing the circle. When Amanda Waller later resurrects the Squad, Flag is also made the head of the new team – a role Joel Kinnaman will continue in David Ayer’s film.
Margot Robbie is Harleen Quinzel a.k.a Harley Quinn
Harley Quinn is a character originally created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm for an episode of Batman: The Animated Series entitled “Joker’s Favor," premiering in September 1992. It wasn’t until the pair’s one-shot graphic novel The Batman Adventures: Mad Love, from February 1994, that she got a backstory, however. As a criminal psychiatrist, Dr. Harleen Quinzel was assigned to treat The Joker at Gotham’s infamous Arkham Asylum, yet instead she fell deeply in love with him and developed an alter-ego of her own. So popular was her character that she was even given her own graphic novel (Batman: Harley Quinn from 1999) – making her one of the only characters to successfully make the transition from TV to pen and ink. Her debut for the Suicide Squad came in September 2011, but Margot Robbie’s adaptation of the role will be the first time Harley has made it to the silver screen.
Will Smith is Floyd Lawton a.k.a Deadshot
After accidentally shooting and killing his beloved brother while attempting to rid their family of an abusive father, Floyd Lawton becomes the supervillain Deadshot in Batman #59, published in 1950. Created by Bob Kane, David Vern Reed and Lew Schwartz, Deadshot is a character who starts off with some form of moral compass, which ultimately prevents him actually pulling the trigger and killing Batman. Following a spell of prison time, his appearance shifts towards the masked figure seen above and he settles into the role of hired assassin, wielding a gun on each wrist and becoming one of the deadliest men in DC Comics. His willingness to kill anyone – even his own teammates – and to die for his mission truly puts the “suicide” in Suicide Squad, and seeing Will Smith bring this to life will surely be an interesting prospect come next year.
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is Waylon Jones a.k.a Killer Croc
Created by Gerry Conway and Don Newton, Killer Croc debuted in Batman #357 from March 1983, although his origins mark him as Waylon Jones – a man with superhuman strength and scale-like skin that led him to be ridiculed by his family and friends. Because of this, he turned to crime, becoming one of Batman’s most dangerous villains in titles like Batman: Knightfall (where he almost breaks the Dark Knight’s back in two). While he’s considered a member of the Secret Society of Super Villains, Croc has never been an official part of the Suicide Squad in DC Comics. We’ll have to wait and see see how Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje brings this creature of the Louisiana swamps to the world of live action.
Jay Hernandez is Chato Santana a.k.a El Diablo
There are actually three incarnations of El Diablo that exist within the DC Universe. While the first of these is Lazarus Lane – an average man turned cowboy vigilante after being possessed by a demon in the American West – David Ayer’s 2016 film will make use of the third El Diablo: a man named Chato Santana. Premiering in his own miniseries, El Diablo from 2008, Santana is an ex-convict with the ability to control fire and other natural elements. After being apprehended and placed on Death Row, he is given a reprieve to form part of Amanda Waller’s Suicide Squad in 2011, after which his skills and loyalty are put to the ultimate test. Expect an interesting character relationship portrayed by Jay Hernandez, for sure.
Words by Londyn Jackson for Highsnobiety
Suicide Squad premiers in theaters August 2016