Just when you thought that anticipation for James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad couldn’t get any higher, another A-list Hollywood star is added to the cast.
Set in the DC Extended Universe, the film is a soft reboot of the 2016 hit, retaining several cast members but generally heading in a completely different direction with its tone and story.
Expect to see more from Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller, as well as some high-profile new additions including Idris Elba, Peter Capaldi and Sylvester Stallone.
In November, Gunn announced that the legendary actor, best known for his action roles including Rocky Balboa and John Rambo, has a top secret role in the project via Instagram.
“Always love working with my friend @officialslystallone & our work today on #TheSuicideSquad was no exception,” the caption reads. “Despite Sly being an iconic movie star, most people still don’t have any idea what an amazing actor this guy is.”
It’s unclear who Stallone could be playing at this point in time, but it appears that no member of The Suicide Squad cast is a safe bet to make it out of the movie alive, if Gunn’s recent comments are to be believed.
The director told Empire Magazine: “In The Suicide Squad, some of the characters end up being good, some end up being terrible. They don’t just get in fights and say they’re going to kill each other, they actually do get in fights and kill each other.
“You really don’t know who’s going to live and who’s going to die. I was given full freedom to kill anyone – and I mean anyone – by DC.”
So there you have it. Don’t get too attached.
Here’s everything we know so far about 2021’s The Suicide Squad.
When is The Suicide Squad’s release date?
The DC Extended Universe sequel, which is officially titled The Suicide Squad, is currently scheduled for release on 6th August 2021.
The Suicide Squad cast
The Suicide Squad will bring back a handful of characters from the original 2016 film, but will introduce many brand new members of the team – some of whom may not be sticking around for too long.
Margot Robbie and Jai Courtenay are reprising their roles as Harley Quinn and Captain Boomerang respectively, with Viola Davis also set to return as government boss Amanda Waller alongside Joel Kinnaman as army man Rick Flag.
“It’s such a great cast that [James] put together,” Kinnaman told The Hollywood Reporter. “There are so many chops in that cast, and James has such a command of it all. He knows exactly what he wants, and sometimes it’s going to take him 10 takes to get there, or it’s going to take one. And he knows exactly when he gets what he needs because his ear is so attuned to it.”
As for the new additions, writer-director Gunn has delved into the DC Comics archives and plucked some very zany characters from relative obscurity – all of whom were revealed in a teaser video he released in August.
Idris Elba (Luther) is the most famous new recruit and while initially rumoured to be taking over Will Smith’s character Deadshot, the teaser trailer revealed he will be playing BloodSport – a man named Robert DuBois who becomes obsessed with the Vietnam War after learning his brother went to fight in his place, according to the comics.
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) August 22, 2020
Meanwhile, David Dastmalchian (Ant-Man) returns to the world of DC after a small role in 2008’s The Dark Knight, this time playing minor Batman rogue Polka-Dot Man. In Gunn’s birthday video he can be seen with coloured dots stuck to his face in honour of this.
Portuguese actress Daniela Melchior has been cast as a female version of Ratcatcher 2, a former exterminator who became a criminal with the ability to communicate with and control small rodents.
Fan favourite Nathan Fillion (Firefly), who previously collaborated with Gunn on Slither and Super, is also on board as TDK, who appears to be a new creation of Gunn’s – or perhaps a codename for a surprise inclusion.
— The Suicide Squad (@SuicideSquadWB) August 5, 2020
Wrestler-turned-actor John Cena has also been cast in The Suicide Squad and will play a comic-book hero called Peacemaker, who Cena describes as a “douchey Captain America” in a behind the scenes trailer.
“John Cena, that motherf***er is a comedic genius,” Kinnaman said. “No one would make us laugh on set more than John. Every scene he was in, he would go on an improvised tangent.”
And if that wasn’t enough, it’s also been revealed that Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi will also appear in the movie as The Thinker – an incredibly intelligent man who is so smart that his powers are likened to that of a clairvoyant.
Gunn will be bringing three of his Guardians of the Galaxy stars over to the DC Universe with him, including Yondu actor Michael Rooker, who plays vigilante Savant and Gunn’s own brother Sean, who plays Weasel.
Sylvester Stallone, who had a small role in 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, is also reuniting with Gunn for The Suicide Squad, although it is not yet known which character he is playing.
Rounding out the rest of the team includes SNL’s Pete Davidson as Blackguard, The New Mutants’ Alice Braga as Sol Soria, Mayling Ng as Mongal, White Lines‘ Juan Diego Botto as Luna, Steve Agee as King Shark and Pitch Perfect’s Flula Borg as Javelin.
Those hoping for another Batman cameo are sadly out of luck, as neither Ben Affleck nor newcomer Robert Pattinson is expected to appear in this team flick.
Gunn told fans on Instagram: “You can check out Batman in The Batman, June 2021 [since delayed]. The Suicide Squad will feature mostly, you know, The Suicide Squad.”
It’s a huge ensemble cast filled with promising talent, who can be spotted in all their costumed glory on the epic covers to this month’s Empire Magazine.
— Empire Magazine (@empiremagazine) October 23, 2020
What age rating is The Suicide Squad?
Joel Kinnaman has suggested the movie could be rated R in the US, which would translate to either a 15 or an 18 in the UK depending on the film’s content and signalling a more adult take on superheroics.
“For me, it was like I did my first comedy, but it’s like heavily R-rated,” he said.
“It was a real learning experience for me too because I’d never done a comedy in that way before. So I asked James to work with me and teach me this sh-t. And yeah, we had so much fun doing it. That movie is going to be a f***ing monster. Honestly, even though I’m in it, I can’t wait to see it as a fan.”
What is The Suicide Squad about?
Recruited by a shady government department, The Suicide Squad follows a team of supervillains forced to carry out secret missions, or else they risk a violent death via explosive implants in their heads.
The specific storyline is as yet unknown and will probably stay that way until closer to release, but it is expected to be largely separated from the events of the first film, and has been described as a “war movie”.
Is there a trailer for The Suicide Squad?
While an official trailer has not yet been released, James Gunn revealed each member of the Suicide Squad in a teaser roll call video.
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) August 22, 2020
The director also released a short behind-the-scenes video, featuring interviews with the cast and crew as well as a first look of what’s to come.
The two-minute clip shows Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena and David Dastmalchian as Harley Quinn, BloodSport, Peacemaker and Polka Dot Man respectively, with Gunn saying: “It’s going to be different from any superhero movie every made…This is by far the biggest movie I’ve ever made.”
“This one is completely unique,” producer Peter Safran says in the clip. “This is a gritty 1970’s war movie combined with the brilliance of James Gunn’s characters and comedy.”
Has filming been delayed?
Fortunately not! The Suicide Squad is one of the few major blockbusters that has managed to avoid any substantial delays, as it wrapped filming in late February – just prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
This has allowed director James Gunn to work on editing from home during lockdown, which means it should be able to release as planned in August 2021 (assuming cinemas are open by then).
What happened in the first Suicide Squad?
In the first film, the team of villains were sent on a dangerous mission to take down Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), the reincarnated soul of a mummified sorcerer who tried to destroy the world.
Over the course of the film, Leto’s Joker popped up a few times to try and help his on-and-off lover and victim Harley Quinn (Robbie) – but was not particularly well received by audiences, despite a great deal of hype around the character.
Is James Gunn directing?
In late 2018, James Gunn was (temporarily) fired from directing Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 when distasteful jokes he had made 10 years prior resurfaced online.
He was quickly snapped up by Warner Bros to work on their struggling Suicide Squad sequel, rewriting an earlier draft of the script and later signing on to direct.
His involvement has become a little bit more complicated since Marvel and Disney hired him back to work on Guardians 3, with the director now returning to Marvel as soon as he finishes making a movie for their main rivals.
How does The Suicide Squad fit with Birds of Prey?
A spin-off movie starring Robbie’s Harley Quinn released back in February, which saw her emancipate herself from the Joker’s grasp and lead her very own team of vigilantes against a sadistic Gotham City crime boss.
It’s unclear if there will be any major links between the two films, but the Birds of Prey themselves are not expected to appear in any capacity – although there could be a few subtle references.
The Suicide Squad is released in cinemas on 6th August 2021. If you’re looking for something to watch, check out our TV Guide.