When sharing a photo of a gifted copy of 1959's The Brave and the Bold Vol. 1 #25 — the first appearance of a "very different Suicide Squad," Gunn wrote on Instagram — Gunn said the team depicted there was "not at all" like modern incarnations of the team.
"King Shark is a relatively recent member of the team. The original Squad was a group of adventurers, soldiers and scientists, who explored and battled anomalous events," Gunn wrote in response to a fan's question asking about the man-shark. "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)."
In Brave and the Bold, the small team consisted of leader Colonel Rick Flag, in his first appearance, astronomer Hugh Evans, physicist Jess Bright and flight medic Karin Grace.
Gunn previously named the late '80s Suicide Squad as a major influence. In an April Instagram post, Gunn wrote, "I have been an enormous fan of #SuicideSquad in all its @DCComics incarnations - but to me there will always be something special about the #JohnOstrander run. Black ops military tales with disposable, often forgotten super villains?! Pure perfection."
Gunn's film will also present a different take on the team, moving away from David Ayer's Suicide Squad. According to producer Peter Safran, Gunn's take isn't titled "Suicide Squad 2" because "it's a total reboot."
"So it's The Suicide Squad and I think people should be extremely excited about it," Safran told JoBlo. "It's everything you would hope from a James Gunn script and I think that says a lot and that promises a lot and I know that we will deliver a lot."
The Suicide Squad will see the return of original Suicide Squad stars Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Viola Davis (Amanda Waller), Joel Kinnaman (Rick Flag) and Jai Courtney (Captain Boomerang), who are joined by franchise newcomers Idris Elba, Michael Rooker, Peter Capaldi, Nathan Fillion, Sean Gunn, David Dastmalchian, Storm Reid, Taika Waititi and John Cena.
"You know, these terms are all so narrow. There are so many terms," Gunn told Entertainment Tonight earlier this year when asked if The Suicide Squad is more reboot or sequel. "It is what it is. You'll see in two years when it comes out."
Warner Bros. opens Gunn's The Suicide Squad August 6, 2021.