New 'Suicide Squad' Character Details: Meet The Skwad

Even your average non-geek will have a pretty good idea of who the Justice League or the X-Men or the Avengers are. But in comparison, the characters of Suicide Squad are a relatively unknown bunch. Aside from Harley Quinn, none of them are really what you'd call household names. And even if you do know these guys from the comics, the versions in the movie are all-new. No one's met these iterations yet.

So during our set visit, we got the skinny on all the new bad guys and not-so-bad guys, from Amanda Waller to Deadshot to (of course) the Joker. Get all the new Suicide Squad character details below, including info on their backstories, costumes, and storylines.


Amanda Waller (Viola Davis): The Mastermind

If you've seen the Suicide Squad trailer, you already know the whole thing is the brainchild of Amanda Waller, a government agent. Unlike the Squad members, she's not technically a villain — but don't assume she's some sort of nice noble hero. Producer Andy Horowitz describes her as "one of the scariest characters in the movie."

Producer Richard Suckle puts it even more succinctly. "The best way I can put it, she's just a bad motherf***er."

As bad as she may be, and I say the word bad because she's forcing people against their will, she also has a very distinct point of view and she's doing it for what, in her mind, is the right reason. [...] You don't f*** with her because the consequences are worse than what she was asking you to do. That's really the best thing I can say.

SUICIDE SQUAD - Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag

Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman): The Leader

Rick Flag's another one who's not really a villain. As director David Ayer describes him, he's "a tier-one military officer." But Flag does have one thing in common with the other Squad members, which is that he doesn't really want to be there. Said Suckle:

[Flag] works for Amanda Waller, which means he has to do whatever Amanda Waller says. Not necessarily an A-level assignment on the surface, but he's playing the parent to the class of clowns and the unruly kids, and Joel plays it beautifully. [...] He has to be able to manage all those relationships and personalities, and their energies and attitudes in a way that ultimately will get the job done, which makes his job very difficult.

To prepare Kinnaman for the role, Ayer gave him reading material like Charlie Beckwith's memoir Delta Force. Oh, and he sent Joel Kinnaman to work with actual military members. "[Kinnaman] did a ton of training. He really did," said Horowitz. "We had real Navy SEALs, that are actually in the film as well, that worked with Joel and did a full immersion for a few nights in the middle of nowhere and sleeping out in the cold, and not sleeping, and working out every day."


Katana (Karen Fukuhara): The Protector

Fortunately, Rick Flag isn't all alone with these nutjobs. He's got Katana in his corner. The character was an unexpected addition to the Suicide Squad cast, since she doesn't really roll with that crowd in the comics. But here, she's Rick Flag's protector. And according to Karen Fukuhara, that may make Katana the deadliest Squad member of all:

[Katana is] not into fighting for herself, that's the giri-ninjo part. It's for someone else. And when someone doesn't care about her own well-being, to kill someone else and to protect someone, that makes her the scariest one. Try fighting someone that doesn't care about what the outcome is for them, you know? You're going against someone who's going to give it their all no matter how many times you shoot at them. That's why she's so badass.

Despite her loyalty to Rick, Fukuhara describes her character as a lone wolf who's "not so friendly" with the other Squad members. There's a lot of pain in her backstory, as evidenced by the fact that her weapon of choice is Soultaker — a sword that has her dead husband's spirit trapped within.

Katana is one of the few Suicide Squad cast members who looks more or less like her ink-and-paper counterpart, so it's not surprising to hear Fukuhara dug deep into comics like Katana and Birds of Prey for research. Going outside the DC universe, Fukuhara also referenced Rurouni Kenshin, Mikasa in Attack on Titan, and Ken Watanabe in The Last Samurai as inspirations.


Deadshot (Will Smith): The Other Leader

Now let's get into more straightforwardly villainous territory. "Deadshot is a no-brainer because he's just a core element of that team," Ayer said of the character's inclusion in the movie. Deadshot, a.k.a. Floyd Lawton, is the head of the team along with Rick Flag. Well, sort of. "It's like herding cats. They don't care," said Ayer of the Squad's reaction to their ostensible leader.

Will Smith has spent most of his career playing good, likable men, which had us wondering if his version of Deadshot would be more of an antihero. But no, Ayer said, he's "probably a supervillain."

He's a bad guy. They are all bad guys. That's the beauty of this. That's the fun of the genre. I think Will is incredibly versatile and can handle any kind of role you throw at him.

Horowitz described Smith's Deadshot as "kind of a combination of I think some old school Deadshot and the New 52 version of Deadshot," with elements of antihero and supervillain. Deadshot's costume, as we've already seen, is fairly accurate to the comics — although in typical Suicide Squad fashion it's decorated with words like "I am the light, the way." "It's [Deadshot's] saying, it's written on obviously his wrist magnums and his gun and it's written around his collar as well," said Horowitz.


Boomerang (Jai Courtney): The Class Clown

The Boomerang identity has been used by a couple different characters in the comics, so if you've been wondering which one Jai Courtney is playing in Suicide Squad the answer is both, and neither. "I think it is somewhat of an amalgamation, I think is probably the fairest thing to say," the actor told us.

What is clear is that this Boomerang brings some chaos and comedy into the mix. "It is a lot of fun to see Boomerang, who is sort of the most villainous of all these characters," teased Ayer. "This has been a blast creating this absolutely out-of-control, force-of-nature with Jai. In character paradigms, he's evil-chaotic." And with his drone boomerang, this baddie has the potential to wreak a lot of havoc.

"I definitely pick up the kind of class clown slack at times," Courtney said of his character. "Harley has this great line where she says, 'Your village in Australia is missing its idiot. You should call home.' Which is a great line and rings true."

Producers Suckle and Horowitz told us Boomerang's jokester personality wasn't too far from Courtney's in real life, and the actor agreed. "It's funny because I do feel closer to this than anything else I've done from a performance perspective," he said. "But its actually closer to myself than any other role I've ever played."

How's that? "Because I'm a bogan piece of shit."

SUICIDE SQUAD - Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc

Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje): The Loner

"I think Killer Croc is one of the characters that most people are really exited for," Horowitz told us. "He's obviously a classic Batman villain, and for us I think when approaching the character, I think the first thing that David said we all agreed is we're not having a full CG character in this movie." Yup, that's right. All those scales are the result of hours in the makeup chair, not CG wizardry.

Despite his animalistic appearance — the result of a progressive disease — Killer Croc has a human soul, and it was important to Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje to make that shine through. "He's not a crocodile, he's a man," he said, who "just wants to be loved."

There's some beautiful moments in the movie: tender moments, and unpredictable moments, and gentle moments, humorous moments. And those are all whispers of who he was as Waylon Jones. But certainly the pain and the loneliness, you can see it in his eyes. There's decisions that he has to make along the journey whether he's going to continue that solo, lonesome thing, or is he going to find a family? It's a big moment for him.

But this self-described loner isn't just moping around at home. He may live down in the sewers, but "he's owning that world," said Akinnuoye-Agbaje. And he's legitimately dangerous. Killer Croc eats human flesh, and so Akinnuoye-Agbaje researched cannibalism and alligator movements for the role. "[The Squad] always have to be wary and be aware of the fact that, at any moment, he might get the hunger and just take an arm off," he said.


El Diablo (Jay Hernandez): The Firepower

Jay Hernandez booked the role of penitent pyrokinetic Chato Santana in Suicide Squad after losing out on a different David Ayer film — he'd been one of the finalists for the Michael Peña role in End of Watch. The character in the comics is a gangster, and so Ayer and his team looked to real East L.A. gangs for insight. Everything from the character's jacket design to his tattoos (like one that reads "213," for the East L.A. area code) was based on that research. "[Ayer] had a very particular thing, he wanted that to be very real," said costume designer Kate Hawley.SUICIDE SQUAD - Adam Beach as Slipknot

Slipknot (Adam Beach): The Mystery

The Suicide Squad teammate we heard least about was Slipknot, the resident knot expert. If I had to guess, he'll probably be the character who's offed early on. Notably, he was the one confirmed member of the Suicide Squad who was not present in the scene we saw being shot, which takes place about a third of the way through the movie. Horowitz described him as a "very cool character," but also a "mysterious one."


Enchantress (Cara Delevingne): The Witch

Enchantress is really two different characters, regular person June Moone and the powerful sorcerer known as Enchantress. It does not appear she's part of the Suicide Squad, and it seems possible she'll even turn out to be the main villain. But whatever her role in the movie turns out to be, one thing is clear: this Enchantress does not look like the one from the comics. Horowitz said that came from their efforts to modernize her:

At the end of the day she's a witch, and I think, what would a contemporary modern-day witch look like? And so, for us I think trying to take her old look, which of course is closer to right here, and contemporize it and make it a little bit darker and a little more witchlike, I think, a little more grounded, a little more Goth. So this is what we came up with.

Though the DC cinematic universe has yet to really introduce any magical elements, they're going all in with the supernatural with Enchantress. Hawley spilled that the character has an "occult" sensibility, with a bit of Hieronymus Bosch-style surrealism, and that she gets some "very scary" moments.


Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie): The Superstar

All of the Suicide Squad team members have their fans, but the only one who's really a household name is Harley Quinn. Which is why it's a little surprising it's taken so long to bring her into live-action movies. But for Robbie, that may be a blessing:

I'm fortunate to be the first to do it because no one has set the bar remarkably high like they have with Joker, for example. So in that sense it is easier but I'm accurately aware of the fact that there is a massive fan base and I don't want to disappoint anyone. So it's terrifying, but like I said, it's nice to be the first one to do it.

Ayer also sounded thrilled to be the guy who finally gets to put Harley Quinn on the big screen:

She's freaking cool. She represents so many dichotomies in today's world where everything is so sensitive and you can't talk about anything or represent anything and you can't do anything. She doesn't care. She transcends everything. That's what is so fascinating about her. She's so many things, and such a powerful woman who is living life on her own terms and so honestly in the moment. And, a person who has an incredible joy in the moment. It's great to be able to work with that character. Margot is kicking her out of the park.

Not surprisingly, Harley Quinn is one of the characters who gets a lot of backstory in the movie, especially as it pertains to Joker. That includes the the "chemical wedding" that cemented their bond and permanently turned Harleen Quinzel into Harley Quinn. "They're almost like two alpha males, you know?" said Hawley. "They're like Natural Born Killers, they're like Sid and Nancy. In this world they're like Punch and Judy, you know, there's a very physical element to them."

By now, we're already well aware that the Suicide Squad version of Harley Quinn looks very different from the earlier versions — she doesn't have her signature jester costume, for one thing. Hawley revealed that although they'd tested the costume, they ultimately went in a different direction. But keep your eye out for a little Easter egg. According to Hawley, there's a moment in the film that winks at Harley Quinn's other outfits:

There's a wonderful scene in the film where [...] they get given their mission outfits out of Belle Reve en route to this mission they're on. And there's a delightful scene, they're all putting on their "murdering suits" as they call them, because when they put them on, people die. And Harley's sitting there and you'll see a moment where she's pulling out all her corsets, so we quote every comic variation of her. It's her dress-up box. I'm sure that Jester suit's gonna come into it because none of us can leave it alone.

SUICIDE SQUAD - Jared Leto as Joker

Joker (Jared Leto): The King

Similarly, it is no secret that Leto's Joker (who is not part of the Suicide Squad) is not much like the last iconic big-screen version played by Heath Ledger. Ayer acknowledged that creating a new Joker was a challenge, but predicted Leto's version would be "nothing short of a revelation."

You want to talk about the third rail of comic book movies. When you have someone as talented as Jared – and then I think when you accept that Heath happened and The Dark Knight happened – you just move forward. We're the oldest, most well-known villains in modern culture. To leave him fallow, I think would be a shame. We instantly know who he is. We know how he makes us feel. We know how he's going to behave. Just one little drawn picture of him, and a character that fantastically iconic and powerful, almost emerges by itself. Once you start touching that character and playing with that character, he really does reveal himself in a lot of ways.

In contrast to the ragged version we saw in The Dark Knight, Suicide Squad's Joker will be slicker, more glamorous, more business-oriented. As Suckle described him:

He's a business man. He's crazy of course, and he kills people, but he's super right. He's running a business. If you could imagine the head of any successful corporation, he runs his business that way. He just happens to be a psychopath. He's very, very conscientious of his business and he's also very conscientious of the way he dresses. Style is a really big part of this Joker. It would be important to him to know what next year's Prada would be like because he may want to have it a year before everybody else. He sets trends and that's a really cool character and I really think you haven't seen the version of this Joker ever before, and of course there have been great people and great versions of the character.

To that end, Ayer and Hawley looked to Mexican drug cartel leaders, mimicking their ostentatious glamour and bling-heavy style, and put the character in Yves Saint Laruent-style suits with bare feet. Hawley cited Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns and Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo's Joker as references for the look of Leto's Joker.

Another signature of Leto's Joker is his giant ring, almost like a papal ring, that he makes people kiss. And then, of course, there are those tattoos. Joker isn't the only Suicide Squad character to sport them, but his got extra attention after that first still of the Joker was released. Suckle revealed that a Toronto artist named Rob Coutts was the one who'd designed all the characters' tattoos.

Finally, we can't talk about Leto's Joker without mentioning Leto's Method Joker antics. The actor reportedly stayed in character the whole time, even when he was in his trailer or sending emails, and largely isolated himself from the rest of the cast and crew. "When Jared came we had to defer to him as Mister J or Mister Smiley," Hawley told us. But Robbie assured us Leto hadn't completely given himself over to the DC madman:

Yeah, he's kind of terrifying. He's really lovely, though. He's very conscientious on set. He's not completely lost in the character that he's violent or anything. Between every take he asks if I'm okay, blah, blah, blah. So when I first heard that he was Method, and that we couldn't refer to him as Jared and things like that, I started to panic a bit because I'm in an abusive relationship with this guy who thinks he is the character. I was worried I'd get beat up on set. But he's respectful, professional, and lovely. It is so incredible to watch him work because it is a really bizarre process and kind of fascinating. It's not a process that would work for me but I can see the way he does it and it clearly works for him. It's cool.


Suicide Squad opens August 5.