Who is Peter Capaldi playing in The Suicide Squad?

From playing Who to playing….who?

Peter Capaldi - The Suicide Squad

It’s official – Peter Capaldi, former Time Lord and careful(ish) TARDIS owner has joined the cast of James Gunn’s Suicide Squad sequel/reboot, which is looking like an increasingly odd take on superhero cinema.


At the moment, we don’t know much about who Capaldi’s playing or how big a part he’ll have in the story. But you know what? That’s what mindless internet speculation was made for. And currently, we reckon there are roughly six distinct character paths we could see Capaldi heading down, with a few possibilities for who he’s playing in each.

Starting with…

A random C-list villain in the Squad

James Gunn seems to be having fun adding some offbeat, little-known villains to the Squad including Polka-Dot Man and King Shark – so what if Capaldi is also set to be a second-stringer supervillain forced onto the team?

After a brief scan of the Suicide Squad’s many many iterations over the years in the comics (which, to be clear, Gunn might just ignore anyway) we could see Capaldi playing the flying, nausea-powered Count Vertigo, or the master of disguise Nemesis, the Riddler rip-off Cluemaster, the hyper-intelligent Thinker or the pun-tastic probability-controlling Major Disaster.

But why stop with wrong’uns who were in the Squad already?

A random villain who isn’t even in the Suicide Squad

Notably, Gunn has already introduced some villains (like the aforementioned Polka-Dot man) in his film who were never previously a part of the Squad in the comics, so it’s possible Capaldi is in the frame for a role as a DC super-villain new to the team.

Yes, this does make it difficult to predict his character given that the list of weird comic-book villains is practically endless (personally, we’re hoping this is the Condiment King’s time to shine) – but it could also be a Batman or Superman baddie we’re all more familiar with instead, like Two-Face, or the Penguin…

Or maybe he’s the Riddler! After all, it wouldn’t be the first time we’d seen an incarnation of the Doctor decorated in question marks…

Someone awkwardly tied to Doctor Who

Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman in Doctor Who
Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman in Doctor Who (BBC, PJ)

Director/writer James Gunn is known for his offbeat humour and love of pop culture – so who’s to say Capaldi couldn’t play a character with something of a wink to his Time Lord past?

We’ve already mentioned the Riddler, above, who shares the Doctor’s love of question-mark accessorising – but what about the Clock King, a Suicide Squad member from the comics who battles exclusively with timepiece-related gadgetry?

No? Well, then how about Multi-Man, a villain with the ability to revive himself after death into a new form, “regenerating” (kinda) each time with a significant change – with every resurrection, he has a new and different superpower.

If nothing else, there’s “Doctor” Light, who shares the super-intelligence and title of Capaldi’s most famous character, if not his moral code. And while we’re sure Capaldi wouldn’t sign on to a character played purely as a Doctor Who gag, we can’t help but dream that there’ll be some sort of acknowledgement played out onscreen.

Someone bald

Capaldi recently shaved his head, and while it’s not clear if this is for Suicide Squad (he did it a while ago) it might offer a hint at the sort of characters he could be playing in the movie.

Aside from the obvious – a new Lex Luthor, assuming Jesse Eisenberg’s version isn’t canon any more – fans have speculated that Capaldi could be playing evil genius scientist Hugo Strange, or maybe Mr Freeze, the ice-powered villain memorably played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in Batman & Robin many years ago, or Psimon, a telepathic baddie with a visible brain.

And then there’s Spider Jerusalem, a foul-mouthed, super-powered journalist who a few DC fans have suggested could be the role Capaldi’s gone in for. If nothing else, the name is memorable.

So yes, there’s a few bald options on the table. Unless, of course, the shaved hair is just paving the way for an even bigger makeover…

Someone under a LOT of prosthetics

Speaking recently at a convention in Toronto, Capaldi discussed an upcoming role which now (with hindsight) could refer to his mysterious Suicide Squad part, suggesting that he shaved his hair to accommodate some pretty extreme facial prosthetics.

“At the moment, I can’t tell you, not because I don’t want to tell you, because I’m not allowed to tell you,” Peter Capaldi responded to a fan asking why he shaved his head. “But I am going to be completely bald.

“So they started it because they have to do some prosthetics. So they had to take my hair back. I said, ‘Can you leave a little bit because I’m going to Toronto? And I want to look good for the people there.’ So they left a little bit. We did some head casts and stuff. When I go home, it’s going to go again, all the way.”

If this does refer to Suicide Squad (which seems likely), the idea of Capaldi playing a character like Psimon, who while physically human has a rather strange head (with a visible brain) does seem more likely.

Alternatively, he could be playing a completely inhuman character – an alien or monster – though we’d be surprised if they made Capaldi completely unrecognisable.

Or, most probably, some boring guy in a suit

Peter Capaldi as Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It
Peter Capaldi as Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It

Look – we want Peter Capaldi to play a bizarre, terrible villain deep from within DC’s back catalogue. You want Peter Capaldi to put on loads of questions marks and throw pocket-watches at Batman. It’s a no-brainer – but it’s hard to know if Hollywood will allow it to happen.

The more we think about this, the more likely it seems to us that Peter Capaldi has been cast in this movie to play a Man In A Suit, some sort of government operative working with Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) who doesn’t get to do any massive superhero fights or even wear a cool costume.

Of course, in a film that literally includes an off-brand Street Shark on the team, this would be a crushing, boring disappointment. But we have to manage expectations, and at the moment we’re just not sure if the suits at Warner Bros are prepared to commit to Peter Capaldi’s true potential.

We hope to be proven wrong.


The Suicide Squad will be released in August 2021