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Harley in Suicide Squad

The DC live-action universe. has been on an roll lately, recovering from the disappointing performance of Justice League. Shazam! and Aquaman both fared well in theaters, and there are some very exciting projects coming down the pipeline for the DCEU. Chief among them is James Gunn's The Suicide Squad, with the acclaimed Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker pivoting to the DC side of things for the villain-centric ensemble project. And now he's revealed which of the comics are influencing his highly anticipated blockbuster.

The Suicide Squad recently went into production, with James Gunn sharing photos with the recently announced cast. He was gifted an early issue of the Suicide Squad comics as he kicked off filming, and in the comments section he was asked which issues were influencing his upcoming blockbuster. Gunn answered frankly, saying:

Ostrander in the 80’s introduced the idea of the Dirty Dozen with disposable, second rate supervillains. King Shark didn’t enter the team till the 2000’s. Our movie takes elements from all those timelines but is especially indebted to Ostrander (and Kim Yale).

There you have it. It looks like James Gunn is taking the most inspiration from the 80s and 90s version of Suicide Squad, which brought together the motley crew of rogues. Although there will also be characters introduced from later issues, like King Shark. Sign me up.

James Gunn's comment from his Instagram shows how methodically the filmmaker is approaching The Suicide Squad, and how heavily he relied on the source material before working on his upcoming movie. This is something that should excite comic book fans, who often judge adaptations by how closely it resembles the source material. Gunn is a bit of a comic aficionado himself, and can therefore cite specific version of the team that are going to directly influence The Suicide Squad.

In his comment, James Gunn directly references the Suicide Squad comics from the 80's, written by John Ostrander and his wife Kim Yale. This is when the titular team went from normal humans to a motley crew of B character and villains. This is the story most fans know, which follows Amanda Waller as she recruits a group of convinced villains to engage in black ops missions to work off their sentence.

This is how things went down in David Ayer's Suicide Squad, but it looks like James Gunn might take more inspiration from the pages themselves. The comics allowed lesser known villains to gain prominence, and become household names. The first movie failed to truly balance the cast, with only Deadshot, Harley, and El Diablo getting enough screen time to flesh out their characters.

Luckily, James Gunn is experienced with ensemble movies. His Guardians of the Galaxy movies allow each member of the quirky group to have their time to shine, and he was able to make unknown characters into some of the MCU's most popular heroes. Fans are hoping he'll be able to do the same with The Suicide Squad, especially because he's assembled such a stellar cast.

The Suicide Squad will arrive in theaters on August 6th, 2021. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

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