A new Suicide Squad film is making its way to the theatres, but despite sharing some characters and connective tissue with the first film, the messaging surrounding James Gunn's directorial seems to be "this is a fresh start."
The Suicide Squad, which will release in US theatres and HBO Max on 6 August (and Indian cinemas on 5 August), is a follow-up the 2016 film, written and directed by David Ayer, which was a commercial success but not well received by critics.
Who all are returning for the film?
Gunn's film brings back Viola Davis, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, and Jai Courtney return in their roles of Amanda Waller, Harley Quinn, Rick Flag and Captain Boomerang, respectively.
The Suicide Squad sees mainstays like Harley Quinn, Joker, and Deadshot come together to form a misfit group of high-profile criminals known as "Task Force X" who would take on dangerous missions for the US government.
The new faces
The new characters include Bloodsport, Peacemaker, The Thinker, Blackguard, Polka-Dot Man, Savant, Arm-Fall-Off-Boy, Ratcatcher, King Shark, Weasel and The Javelin, played by, John Cena, Peter Capaldi, David Dastmalchian, Michael Rooker, Nathan Fillion, Daniela Melchior, Steve Agee (with Sylvester Stallone's voice), Sean Gunn and Flula Borg, respectively.
Who's not returning to the film?
Many members of the Suicide Squad, including Jared Leto as Joker or Will Smith as Deadshot, don't make in the film, with writer-director Gunn willing to sacrifice characters in violent and gory ways in service to the story.
"There were some characters that I chose and I knew that when I chose those characters, they were gonna die," he explained in a recent interview with Jake Hamilton on YouTube.
"And some of them were gonna die earlier and some of them were gonna die later, but then sometimes, when you're crafting a story, part of it is just following instinct."
What was the controversy around the film's helmer?
Earlier this month, in a lengthy Twitter post, Ayer shot back at the production house saying he "put his life" into Suicide Squad. "My cut is intricate and emotional journey with some bad people who are shit on and discarded (a theme that resonates in my soul). The studio cut is not my movie. Read that again. And my cut is not the 10-week director's cut " it's a fully mature edit by Lee Smith standing on the incredible work by John Gilroy," Ayer's Twitter post read.
Ayer mentioned that he had not mentioned "his side of the story" and would generally keep mum about it since he considered himself "old school." In fact, Ayer added that this would be the last time he'd talk on the subject on a public platform.
Ayer however said that Gunn's version was something that he was proud of. He said that he supports Warner Bros and was glad that the franchise was getting its due since it deserved all of it.
What should one expect from The Suicide Squad?
We know the characters, and we've also got an official synopsis for the movie.
"Welcome to hell " aka Belle 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," it reads.
"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 psycho, Harley Quinn. Then arm them heavily and drop them (literally) on the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese.
"Trekking through a jungle teeming with militant adversaries and guerrilla forces at every turn, the Squad is on a search-and-destroy mission with only Colonel Rick Flag on the ground to make them behave¦ and Amanda Waller's government techies in their ears, tracking their every movement.
"And as always, one wrong move and they're dead (whether at the hands of their opponents, a teammate, or Waller herself). If anyone's laying down bets, the smart money is against them " all of them."
Cena was a bit blunter when revealing what fans can expect from the movie: "The Suicide Squad is gonna make you shit your pants, so bring a change of pants."