Two Big Questions Raised by Warners' 'Suicide Squad' Casting News

Suicide Squad Issue 1 - P 2014
<p>Suicide Squad Issue 1 - P 2014</p>   |   Howard Chaykin/DC Entertainment
Is the Joker really a team player?

Warner Bros. has chosen its Suicide Squad, with a line-up of characters that looks somewhat telling for fans of the DC Entertainment property. But two big questions remain about plans for the movie — including the most obvious one: What is the Joker doing in there?

Of the six roles cast, four belong together for those familiar with the comic book incarnation of the series — Rick Flagg, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang and Enchantress are amongst the original members of the classic 1980s incarnation of the team (We’re only missing Nightshade, Bronze Tiger and one other… but we’ll get to her soon enough). That line-up just makes Jared Leto and Margot Robbie’s inclusion in the cast as the Joker and Harley Quinn all the more intriguing, however.

While Harley Quinn has a history with the Squad herself, she doesn’t belong with the rest of the line-up that we know about; the character has only been connected with the team since DC relaunched the property in 2011, and the only character to span both versions of the team is Deadshot (Will Smith). If we make the assumption — admittedly a leap, given what little we know, but not an unreasonable one — that the movie will hew close to the comic book roots of the concept, that might suggest that she’ll at least start the movie outside of the team… which might mean that Harley and Leto’s Joker are the villains of the piece.

This wouldn’t be the first time the Squad (Traditionally, a team of criminals blackmailed into becoming a black ops team for the government in exchange for reduced sentencing) has been placed in opposition to the iconic Batman villain; in the recent Batman: Assault on Arkham animated movie, the Joker muscles his way into the spotlight during the team’s mission to assassinate the Riddler. The villain’s influence was also felt in the original 1980s run thanks to the latter presence of the character Oracle, who had been crippled by the Joker in Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke graphic novel.

Using the Joker as the antagonist of a Suicide Squad feature would also solve the problem of how to make a team of criminals and assassins into characters the audience will root for. After all, as bad as Deadshot and Captain Boomerang may be — that latter name, admittedly, does suggest that the answer might be “not that bad at all” — when the alternative is a psychopathic serial-killer, they start to look like the guys you want to root for.

Of course, no matter how exciting a cast including Smith, Leto and Tom Hardy may be, it’s still uncertain who’ll be playing the most important character in the movie. We know the grunts who’ll be forced on the missions, we know who’ll be playing Rick Flagg, the troubled moral center of the movie and who’ll be playing the Joker — but who will end up taking up the role of Amanda Waller, the woman responsible for putting the team together and manipulating every scenario so that she comes out on top? Until we know the answer to that question, it’s still too early to get excited — even if the line-up so far (and presence of David Ayer as director) seems more than a little promising.

Read more It's Official: 'Suicide Squad' to Star Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie and More