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The Suicide Squad: release date, cast, trailer, plot and latest news

Idris Elba, Margot Robbie and Jai Courtenay are set to star in the super-villain team-up movie The Suicide Squad.

suicide squad poster
Published: Tuesday, 29th June 2021 at 12:31 pm

It's time to take a bloodthirsty tour through one of the darkest corners of the DC Universe, as James Gunn's The Suicide Squad explodes onto cinema screens this weekend.

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A soft reboot to the divisive 2016 blockbuster, this new incarnation shares very little continuity with previous DC films and offers a completely fresh take on the franchise.

While director Gunn may have risen to stardom with Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy films, he isn't resting on his laurels here, delivering a film that is completely different in both tone and technique.

The filmmaker recently claimed that The Suicide Squad has more practical special effects than most of the Marvel movies combined, which should keep it completely distinct from the output of the rival studio.

"It's almost completely practical," he told Screen Rant. "The biggest sets ever on almost any film, ever... Dan Sudick, who's doing our special effects was just saying this morning, he's doing more special effects, more live special effects in this film, than all of the Marvel movies he's ever done combined."

The team behind The Suicide Squad has warned of major character deaths from the beginning, but it appears a select few will have a future in the DCEU, as was recently confirmed by Gunn via Twitter.

John Cena's Peacemaker will be the first to return in a solo HBO Max prequel series, while fans have also assumed that the wildly popular Harley Quinn will be back in some capacity – although recent comments from Margot Robbie cast doubt on that theory.

"It was kind of back-to-back filming Birds... and filming this, so I was kind of like, oof, I need a break from Harley because she's exhausting," she told Entertainment Weekly last month. "I don't know when we're next going to see her. I'm just as intrigued as everyone else is."

Here's everything you need to know about The Suicide Squad, including UK release date, cast, trailers and a guide to all the new characters.

The Suicide Squad release date: When is it out?

Warner Bros has confirmed The Suicide Squad is scheduled for release in cinemas only on Friday 30th July 2021 in the UK. The movie was originally slated for a UK launch on 6th August, but this was brought forward by a week.

The US release is still scheduled for 5th August, but our friends across the pond will also have the option of streaming the film on HBO Max as part of WB's simultaneous release strategy for 2021 films including Godzilla Vs Kong and The Matrix 4.

The Suicide Squad cast: Who stars in The Suicide Squad?

Margot Robbie in The Suicide Squad
Warner Bros

The Suicide Squad will bring back a handful of characters from the original 2016 film, but will also introduce many brand new members of Task Force X – some of whom won't be sticking around for long.

Gunn 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."

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. 

After becoming the breakout star of the original Suicide Squad and headlining spin-off Birds of Prey, there were rumours Harley Quinn would be the focus of this soft reboot, though Robbie has since denied such claims.

"One of the first things I said to James was, I think Harley is a catalyst of chaos," Robbie told Total Film. "She’s not necessarily your narrative centre, and sometimes it’s great when plot points can rest on other characters’ shoulders, and she can be the thing that erupts a whole sequence of events. That’s something I felt he agreed with, based on what I was reading in the script."

Gunn also complimented Robbie back, saying that she "embodies the character" while teasing a particularly elaborate action scene involving her character Harley Quinn.

"So I wrote the biggest action scene I’ve ever done all around Harley, and it was so fun to create just on every level from working with the stunt guys all the way through to working with her," Gunn told Associated Press. "It’s probably my favourite four minutes of film I’ve ever shot before. [Margot] can do anything."

The full cast list is as follows:

  • Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn
  • Idris Elba as Rober DuBois/Bloodsport
  • John Cena as Peacemaker
  • Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag
  • Sylvester Stallone as the voice of King Shark
  • Viola Davis as Amanda Waller
  • Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang
  • Peter Capaldi as the Thinker
  • David Dastmalchian as Abner Krill/Polka-Dot Man
  • Daniela Melchior as Ratchatcher 2
  • Michael Rooker as Savant
  • Alice Braga as Sol Soria
  • Pete Davidson as Richard 'Dick' Hertz/Blackguard
  • Nathan Fillion as Floyd Belkin/T.D.K.
  • Sean Gunn as Weasel
  • Flula Borg as Javelin
  • Mayling Ng as Mongal
  • Steve Agee as John Economos
  • Joaquin Cosio as Mateo Suarez
  • Juan Diego Botto as Dilvio Luna
  • Storm Reid as Bloodsport's daughter Tyla
  • Julio Ruiz as Milton, an associate of Task Force X

"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."

Gunn had also written a role especially for Dave Bautista after the two became friends on Guardians of the Galaxy, but the WWE star eventually opted for Netflix's Army of the Dead when the shooting dates conflicted.

"I had The Suicide Squad where I got to work with my boy again, even though it's a smaller role, and then I had Army of the Dead on which I get to work with Zack, I get to build a relationship with Netflix, I get a lead role in a great film – and I get paid a lot more money," he told Digital Spy.

"I had to call James, and I told him, 'It breaks my heart, because as a friend, I want to be there with you, but professionally, this is the smart decision for me.'"

What new characters are in The Suicide Squad?

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 2020.

Idris Elba (Luther) is the most famous new recruit, playing deadly assassin BloodSport – a man named Robert DuBois who was trained from a young age to be a deadly marksman by his cruel father.

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."

It seems that Cena impressed Gunn so much that the two are now working on a Peacemaker spin-off series, which is set to launch on US streaming service HBO Max in 2022.

Meanwhile, David Dastmalchian (Ant-Man) returns to the world of DC after a small role in 2008's The Dark Knight, this time playing Batman rogue Abner Krill aka Polka-Dot Man – and yes, he can throw polka dots at people. Beware.

Speaking to RadioTimes.com, Dastmalchian teased the film as "bold, beautiful and brutal".

“I believe that sometimes individuals who strike back against the world, whether they’re on one side of the coin or the other, are a bit misunderstood. There’s definitely a sorrow that comes from that experience and different characters express it differently.

"It’ll be interesting for audiences to see how Abner in The Suicide Squad expresses that feeling of being an outsider.”

Portuguese actress Daniela Melchior has been cast as a female version of Ratcatcher II, 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, a codename for a very fringe DC character best kept as a surprise.

The Suicide Squad Peter Capaldi
Warner Bros

And if that wasn't enough, Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi will also appear in the movie as The Thinker, a villain who experimented on his brain to give himself superhuman intellect.

"I've always wanted to play an evil genius," Capaldi told Empire. "The Thinker is very smart, very manipulative and wicked, and also rather decadent. Working with talking sharks and giant starfish? Once you've been in Doctor Who, that's just a day in the office. Although hopefully sometimes they're gonna be more convincing.

Notably, this is a different version of The Thinker than that which was recently featured in The Flash television series on The CW (Neil Sandilands' Clifford DeVoe), inspired by a lesser known unnamed version from a 2014 comic book instead.

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, providing the voice of King Shark.

King Shark can be seen in a still released from the film, which also features fellow new characters Bloodsport, Peacemaker, Ratcatcher 2 and Polka-Dot Man.

Rounding out the rest of the team are SNL's Pete Davidson as Blackguard, Mayling Ng as Mongal and Pitch Perfect's Flula Borg as Javelin.

Joaquín Cosío (Narcos: Mexico) and Juan Diego Botto (White Lines) play General Mateo Suarez and Silvio Luna, two corrupt leaders of fictional island nation Corto Maltese, while Alice Braga plays resistance leader Sol Soria.

Steve Agee and Jennifer Holland play John Economos and Emilia Harcourt, close aides to Amanda Waller at ARGUS, while Storm Reid portrays Tyla, the troubled daughter of Elba's Bloodsport.

David Dastmalchian as Polka Dot Man
David Dastmalchian as Polka Dot Man Warner Bros

Actor, filmmaker and recent Oscar winner Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit) has bagged the role of Ratcatcher Snr, making this his third major franchise after past appearances in the MCU and The Mandalorian.

Starro the Conquerer is - no joke - a giant alien starfish with the ability to spawn smaller duplicates of himself and control the minds of others, and was the first villain the Justice League ever faced in the comics.

While Starro looks to quite literally be the big bad of The Suicide Squad, Gunn has teased that other villains are also in the movie.

“When I was a kid I thought [Starro] was the scariest thing of all time… and I think that exemplifies what this movie is: it is ridiculous and it’s also terrifying, and serious," Gunn told Den of Geek. "So he works really well as the villain of the movie—as one of the villains, actually.”

If you're keen to learn more about the characters of The Suicide Squad, check out the featurette which sees the cast and director introducing all the new faces – and what to expect from them.

The Suicide Squad trailer

Released in June 2021, the latest trailer focuses heavily on Idris Elba's Bloodsport who is "in prison for putting Superman in the ICU", and features brand new footage, more jokes, a scene-stealing King Shark and a few glimpses of Starro.

Three months earlier, Warner Bros had released the first teaser trailer, introducing Gunn's distinct new take on the Squad to the world. Watch below.

At DC FanDome 2020, Warner Bros had unveiled a slick 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.

Gunn says: "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 adds in the clip. "This is a gritty 1970s war movie combined with the brilliance of James Gunn's characters and comedy."

Ahead of the full trailer release, we also got this great new poster that we already want hanging up on the office wall.

With a second trailer came a second poster, based on a highly publicised scene when the anti-heroes march together in the rain:

And in a new TV spot released via director James Gunn's Twitter, we get another quick glimpse at the villainous alien-starfish Starro.

The Suicide Squad plot: 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.

We do now have the official synopsis too: "Welcome to hell — a.k.a. Bell Reve, the prison with the highest mortality rate in the US of A. Where the worst Super-Villains are kept and where they will do anything to get out — even join the super-secret, super-shady Task Force X. Today's do-or-die assignment?

Assemble a collection of cons, including Bloodsport, Peacemaker, Captain Boomerang, Ratcatcher 2, Savant, King Shark, Blackguard, Javelin, and everyone's favourite pyscho, Harley Quinn. Then arm them heavily and drop them (literally) on the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese."

If you want more of an insight into the action without an of the spoilers, you can read our The Suicide Squad review.

What age rating is The Suicide Squad?

As predicted, The Suicide Squad was indeed rated R by the MPAA in the US – and 15 here in the UK – for "strong violence and gore, language throughout, some sexual references, drug use."

Actor Joel Kinnaman had previously suggested the film would be for mature audiences, with most fans keen to see these characters freed from the restrictions of a more family-friendly PG-13.

"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 happened in the first Suicide Squad?

Jared Leto "The Joker"; Sky Pics, Warner Bros, TL

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.

How does The Suicide Squad fit with Birds of Prey?

A spin-off movie starring Robbie's Harley Quinn was released in 2020, 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.

There is no significant connection between the two films and the Birds of Prey themselves do not appear in any capacity – which might come as a disappointment to some fans.

The Suicide Squad runtime: How long is The Suicide Squad?

With many, many characters to juggle, James Gunn has confirmed that The Suicide Squad will run for a reasonably lengthy 2 hours and 12 minutes.

Joel Kinnaman has promised that length will not be an issue, telling Variety: "From A to Z, it’s so well paced, it has such a drive and such comedic timing. It’s funny along the way the whole time, effortlessly."

The Suicide Squad is far from the longest film in the DC Extended Universe, however - especially when you include the four-hour-long Zack Snyder's Justice League.

Does the Suicide Squad have a post-credit scene?

As a Marvel movie director James Gunn is no stranger to the post-credit stinger, with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 boasting no less than FIVE extra scenes during and after the credits.

It's no surprise then that Gunn has confirmed that The Suicide Squad will indeed have at least one post-credit scene - though it remains to be seen whether it will simply be an extra gag or set-up for either a sequel or the Peacemaker series.

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The Suicide Squad is released in cinemas on 30th July 2021 – check out our Movies hub for all the latest news. If you're looking for something to watch, check out our TV Guide.

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