Welcome to Great Expectations, a recurring series in which we break down the most essential information about an upcoming movie or show. In this edition, we look at what you can expect from — and where you can watch — The Suicide Squad.
DC Comics fans rejoice: your favorite oddball cast of superheroes is back with a vengeance. While the 2016 movie Suicide Squad was generally panned by critics, there is hope that The Suicide Squad, written and directed by James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) will be better-received. While it does exist in the same universe as the first movie, sort of, the two are only loosely connected. So, the second take on the material has a chance to introduce some much-needed changes.
Here’s everything you need to know about The Suicide Squad:
The Suicide Squad Release Date (and Where to Watch)
Because of Warner Bros.’s new streaming deal with HBO Max, The Suicide Squad will debut in theaters and on the streaming service simultaneously on August 6, 2021. Although its theatrical run ultimately depends on how well it does, the movie leaves HBO Max after one month — so plan accordingly!
The Suicide Squad Cast
The Suicide Squad welcomes back some familiar faces while also introducing some new ones. Margot Robbie returns as Harley Quinn in her third stint in the DC Extended Universe after Suicide Squad and Birds of Prey (2020). Other original Suicide Squad members coming back include Joel Kinnaman as leader Rick Flag and Jai Courteney as Captain Boomerang. Also, Viola Davis is also back as the Suicide Squad missions director Amanda Waller. Those characters who survived the original who aren’t in the new movie include Will Smith and Jared Leto, who played the Joker.
Newcomers in The Suicide Squad include Pete Davidson (The King of Staten Island) as armored villain Blackguard, Idris Elba (Luther) as special weapons-expert and super dad Bloodsport, John Cena (Blockers) as a peacemaker called, well, Peacemaker, David Dastmalchian (Ant-Man) as Polka-Dot Man, Flula Borg (Pitch Perfect 2) as Javelin, Daniela Melchior as a rat specialist appropriately named Ratcatcher 2, Mayling Ng as Mongal, Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy) as Savant, Alice Braga (City of God) as Sol Soria, Nathan Fillion (Firefly) as T.D.K., Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who) as the highly intelligent super-villain The Thinker, Sean Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) as Weasel, and last, but certainly not least, man/myth/legend Sylvester Stallone as the voice of the half-man/half-shark known as King Shark.
The Plot of The Suicide Squad
The Suicide Squad follows a cast of infamous super-villains who are assembled from the Belle Reve prison and are turned into Task Force X. Their mission? Go to a remote South American island called Corto Maltese and eradicate a sketchy prison that is home to a shady cast of characters. While on Corto Maltese, the group encounters a giant bloodthirsty starfish called Starro… because that’s totally not the creepiest thing we can possibly imagine.
Watch the Trailers
If you were wondering whether or not The Suicide Squad would be totally epic or not, allow these two trailers to confirm that it definitely will be. Among the things we see are: Harley Quinn being her regular badass self and taking out a group of adversaries with the swoop of her gun, members of the crew leaping out of a crumbling building, and of course, the giant killer starfish in the flesh. Head to the PG trailers below to watch these see-it-to-believe-it moments yourself. And if you’re ready for more, the age-restricted Red-Band trailer can be found here.
The James Gunn controversy that led him to DC
Career-wise, The Suicide Squad is likely more significant to James Gunn than to anyone else. In 2018, old, offensive jokes Gunn had made on Twitter resurfaced, and he was temporarily fired by Disney from the next Guardians of the Galaxy sequel. In an interview with the New York Times, Gunn admits he was convinced that his career was over at that moment.
“It was unbelievable. And for a day, it seemed like everything was gone. Everything was gone. I was going to have to sell my house. I was never going to work again. That’s what it felt like.”
Gunn also gave his thoughts on “cancel culture” and whether he deserved to be punished for his dumb Twitter comments of yesteryear:
“Cancel culture also is people like Harvey Weinstein, who should be canceled. People who have gotten canceled and then remain canceled — most of those people deserved that. The paparazzi are not just the people on the streets; they’re the people combing Twitter for any past sins. All of that sucks. It’s painful. But some of it is accountability. And that part of it is good. It’s just about finding that balance.”
Months after Gunn’s firing, everything changed (again). He was hired by Warner Bros. to make The Suicide Squad (though he could have done Superman if he wanted) and felt he was getting a second chance. Now, he is one of the only directors to have worked in the DC Extended Universe and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And he’s also now back at Disney and Marvel Studios doing the movie he had been fired from, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
As the release date gets closer, it’s looking like perhaps The Suicide Squad will be a chance at redemption for the Suicide Squad property, as well as for James Gunn.