'Suicide Squad' Explained: Who's Who In That Comic-Con Trailer?

One of the buzziest trailers to come out of this year's Comic-Con was Suicide Squad. As Russ put it, the footage teased "a viciously detailed film, with a real eye for keeping things grim and weird." It won the interest of fans and non-fans alike. Which is all well and good for Warner Bros. — but if you fall into the latter category, you might've found yourself as confused by the trailer as you were intrigued.

While characters like Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are familiar to just about everyone on the known planet, that's definitely not the case with Suicide Squad. Fortunately, with over a year to go until the film's release, there's plenty of room to get your bearings, and with our help you'll be caught up in no time at all. Hit the jump for our rundown of the Suicide Squad characters.

Suicide Squad - team

In broad terms, the Suicide Squad is a team made up of supervillains who carry out dangerous black-ops missions for the government, in exchange for commuted sentences. Their specific motivations vary, though, and even the "supervillain" part isn't a hard-and-fast rule. Some of them are more like antiheroes, and at least one of them is typically a superhero in the comics.

But keep that last phrase in mind — "in the comics." We'll do our best to get you up to speed on Suicide Squad based on what we know from the books, but at the end of the day we don't have a very good idea of what details have or haven't changed in David Ayer's cinematic vision. And now that you've got that, here we go...

Suicide Squad - Amanda Waller

Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) is the government agent who has rounds up and then oversees the Suicide Squad. Think of her as the gang's version of Nick Fury — only, if possible, even more ruthless. It takes a ballsy sort of genius to even dream up the idea of employing supervillains, and Amanda Waller is that genius. Despite having no supernatural powers, she's tough and sharp enough to keep this wicked group in line. Most of the time, anyway.

Suicide Squad - Enchantress

In the comics, Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) begins as June Moone, an artist who stumbles across a magical being in an old, secret chamber. The encounter leaves her with the ability to transform into Enchantress, a powerful sorceress who can heal and teleport, among other things. June struggles to keep her Enchantress side from growing unchecked and tipping over into the dark side, which is presumably why she looks so unhappy in most of the Suicide Squad trailer.

Suicide Squad - Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) is the rare DC favorite who started out on the screen, not the page. She was invented in 1992 for Batman: The Animated Series. But it's only in Suicide Squad that she's making her live-action movie debut.

As her backstory usually goes, Harleen Quinzel was an Arkham Asylum psychiatrist who fell in love with one of her subjects, the Joker. In her insane devotion to him she refashions herself as Harley Quinn, his devoted accomplice and girlfriend. She's exceptionally strong and agile (as demonstrated by her debut scene in the trailer). In some versions she's also immune to toxins, thanks to the intervention of her BFF Poison Ivy. Alas, Poison Ivy doesn't appear in Suicide Squad, or at least not that we've heard.

Suicide Squad - El Diablo

There are actually multiple El Diablos in the comics. This El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) is the third and most recent, Chato Santana. He's a gangster with pyrokinetic powers who once burned down a building in order to collect a debt. Upon realizing that innocent women and children were killed in the blaze, he quietly turned himself over to the police. He eventually winds up in Belle Reve, where Amanda Waller inducts him into the Suicide Squad.

Suicide Squad - Deadshot

Deadshot (Will Smith) a.k.a. Floyd Lawton is a cold-blooded assassin who, as his name suggests, is an exceptionally talented marksman. His abilities are further enhanced by cybernetic implants (like that glowing red eye). However, like his frequent adversary Batman, he has no superpowers of his own. Besides his killer skills and mercenary attitude, his major defining attribute is a burning desire to die in spectacular fashion.

He's one of the more regular Suicide Squad members in the comics, where the team is something of a revolving door, and often serves as its de facto leader. In the film, it looks like he's got a poignant backstory involving a little kid. Interestingly, Smith is non-traditional casting for this character, who is usually portrayed as Caucasian.

Suicide Squad - Rick Flag

Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) is another character who exists in multiple incarnations in the comics. There are three Rick Flags, and they are all related. The oldest Rick Flag was part of the original Suicide Squadron in World War II, but the movie focuses on his son Rick Flag Jr. This military man is often one of the leaders of Suicide Squad, though he seems kind of conflicted about it. 

Though highly skilled and trained, Rick Flag does not have superpowers. He does occasionally have issues with mental instability, which is exactly what you want when you're about to embark on high-stakes, high-risk missions with a group of known supervillains.

Suicide Squad - Boomerang

Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) could be either Digger Harkness or his son Owen Mercer. Either way, expect an Australian guy who employs a lot of trick boomerangs. And possibly some occasional bursts of superspeed. (Captain Boomerang is typically an antagonist of the Flash, and the younger Boomerang is related to a bunch of the Flashes... look, comics genealogy is crazy complicated.) The elder Captain Boomerang was an a**hole who was often used as comic relief. His son is more well-meaning but has a dark psychotic side.

Suicide Squad - Killer Croc

Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) is a villain most commonly associated with Batman. His reptilian scales are a manifestation of his atavism. His skin functions almost as an armor, and he has several special abilities including regenerative powers and superhuman strength, endurance, speed, and senses. Portrayals of the character, whose real name is Waylon Jones, range between mostly human and extremely animalistic. The movie version seems to fall more on the former end of the spectrum.

Suicide Squad - Panda Guy

No one knows who Panda Costume Guy (or Panda Costume Girl) is, but what a scene-stealer.

Suicide Squad - Katana

What makes Katana (Karen Fukuhara) unique here is that she's traditionally a superhero, not a supervillain. In fact, she's even been a member of the Justice League. What she's doing running around with the Suicide Squad, then, is a mystery.

In any case, Katana is Tatsu Yamashiro, a Japanese woman who trains as a samurai after her husband and children are killed by the Yakuza. Eventually she moves to the U.S. and embarks on a thrilling career as a vigilante. She wields a sword named Soultaker, which captures the spirits of the people it kills, allowing her to communicate with them.

Suicide Squad - Slipknot

Slipknot (Adam Beach), also known as Christopher Weiss, is really, really good at ropes. Tying them, strangling people with them, developing formulas for unbreakable versions of them, etc. In the comics he joins with a bunch of villains to kill Firestorm, only to be defeated and sent to prison, where he's brought into the Suicide Squad. His most notable achievement during his tenure with the group is getting his freaking arm blown off on a mission.

Suicide Squad - Batman

You know who this is. Batman (Ben Affleck) will make his debut in March's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice before resurfacing just a few months later in this film. Rumor has it the Caped Crusader gets roped into the Suicide Squad plot via the Joker, which makes perfect sense. But it's worth noting that Ben Affleck has been spotted around the Suicide Squad set in his Bruce Wayne getup as well, so it looks like both sides of the superhero will be reporting for duty here.

Suicide Squad - Joker

Joker (Jared Leto) needs no introduction. Especially because he's already been introduced, to loud jeers across the Internet. Jared Leto has his work cut out for him here. He's the latest in a long string of actors to tackle this iconic supervillain, and the most recent version — the one he's most directly competing with — is Heath Ledger's Oscar-winning portrayal in The Dark Knight.

From here it looks like Joker isn't part of Amanda Waller's Suicide Squad, but rather a target or adversary of some sort. If that's the case, the group's mission will surely be complicated by his relationships to Harley Quinn and Batman.