If you'd said this time last year that James Gunn would be fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and be hired to work on a DC movie, I wouldn't have believed you. But a lot can change in 12 months, and now that Gunn is most definitely not returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he's joined forces with the franchise's Distinguished Competition, a.k.a. DC, to write Suicide Squad 2, which he might also direct.
All we know so far about James Gunn's Suicide Squad 2 is that it will be a "fresh take" to the franchise. Some believe this means this means a reboot, but for the sake of argument, let's assume that this is a proper sequel to the first Suicide Squad movie and is still set within the DC Extended Universe. Another way Gunn's Suicide Squad 2 could distinguish itself from its predecessor is by starting from scratch with the cast. With that in mind, we've compiled this list of the main characters Gunn should include in Suicide Squad 2. Let's start with someone who will soon be established in the DCEU.
Although Yahya Abdul-Mateen's Black Manta is serving as a supporting antagonist as Aquaman, producer Peter Safran assures fans this is just the beginning of the character's big screen journey. This likely means that Black Manta will be back for Aquaman 2, but why stop there? Black Manta has only become affiliated with the Suicide Squad in recent years, but with his skill sets, both on the surface and underwater, it's easy to see why he was recruited. The first Suicide Squad movie opted to feature all-new characters, but for Suicide Squad 2, why not kill two birds with one stone by including at least one familiar faces on the team and giving Black Manta an opportunity to shine away from Arthur Curry?
Killer Frost started out as a Firestorm adversary on the comics, and on The Flash TV series, she's Caitlin Snow's icy alternate personality who started out as a villain and gradually evolved into an ally. But both the Caitlin Snow and Louise Lincoln incarnations of Killer Frost also have histories with the Suicide Squad, and if there's one thing this team could always use more of, it's sheer power. Whether Suicide Squad 2's Killer Frost is a straightforward baddie or is someone who sees Task Force X as a way to atone for her sins, she'd be an excellent member to have along for the threats who can't be stopped by punching or shooting bullets at them, like El Diablo previously.
Like Deadshot and Captain Boomerang, Bronze Tiger was one of the first recruits for the modern version of the Suicide Squad. Real name Ben Turner, Bronze Tiger is one of the best martial artists in the world, and before he joined Task Force X, he served on the League of Assassins. Although he's been categorized as a villain various times throughout his existence, Bronze Tiger has gradually shifted into more of an antihero, and when part of the Squad, he's considered to be one of the "good" members. So if Rick Flagg isn't brought back to oversee Task Force X in Suicide Squad 2, Bronze Tiger could easily take his place.
Now that James Gunn is working on Suicide Squad 2, many fans online have suggested that Dave Bautista be cast as Bane. Whether Bautista hops aboard the DCEU train or not, including Bane in the sequel is a good idea. Given that Bane served as the main villain in The Dark Knight Rises just six years ago, it's doubtful he'll fill that role again again anytime soon, so Suicide Squad 2 is a great alternative way to bring him into the DCEU. After all, Deadshot, Harley Quinn and Killer Croc are all Batman villains who served on Task Force X, so why can't Bane join in the fun? More importantly, this provides an opportunity to finally faithfully adapt Bane for a movie. Juice him up on Venom, put a luchador-like mask on his face and keep him exceptionally intelligent, just like fans have wanted for years.
If you want firepower on your side, Plastique is the woman you turn to. As her moniker suggests, Bette Sans Souci is all about explosives. Initially she carried plastic explosives around with with her to detonate, but she later gained the ability to project explosive force simply by touching an object. Like Killer Frost, Plastique started out as a Firestorm villain, but over the years she's served in several iterations of the Suicide Squad. Rather than make her a standard recruit, it might be an interesting twist if Plastique is already affiliated with the Squad when the sequel starts, and it turns out she was the one who created the micro explosives planted into each member's neck.
You'll recall that in the first Suicide Squad movie, Katana was by Rick Flagg's side to ensure that the villains on the team didn't get out of line. For Suicide Squad 2, that job should belong to Mari McCabe, a.k.a. Vixen, who can channel the abilities of any animal that lives on the planet. Vixen served on the Suicide Squad during a time when she was having trouble controlling her animal instincts. That could remain the reason why the DCEU's Vixen is part of Suicide Squad 2; she lost control during one of her nights of crimefighting, and whether she was captured by the authorities or willingly turned herself in, now she's working on the team so that she can put herself to use on dangerous missions until she's back to normal.
Since it doesn't look like Green Arrow will be appearing in the DCEU anytime soon, Count Vertigo, one of his chief enemies, might as well be featured in Suicide Squad 2. Vertigo was one of the later additions to the original John Ostrander-era Suicide Squad, where it was revealed he was suffering from bipolar disorder. On the one hand, Vertigo's dizzying powers would certainly come in handy out in the field to disorient opponents. On the other hand, Vertigo might be better used as Suicide Squad 2's Slipknot, i.e. the villain who's made an example of when he tries to escape.
It doesn't look like Joe Manganiello's Deathstroke will be fighting Batman, joining Lex Luthor's Legion of Doom or leading his own movie anytime soon, but that doesn't mean the DCEU should leave him to collect dust. Unlike the other entries on this list, Deathstroke shouldn't be a member of Task Force X, but should instead be the movie's villain. Deathstroke, real name Slade Wilson, is a much more reasonable foe to pit the Squad against than someone like Enchantress or Black Adam, but his own enhanced abilities, mercenary skills and resources still make him a worthy challenge. Deathstroke doesn't have that much history with the Squad in the comics, but for the DCEU, put him to good use by turning him into their next target.