The Suicide Squad: James Gunn Decided Against Inappropriate Looney Tunes Reference

In James Gunn's The Suicide Squad, Rick Flag, the team's field leader played by Joel Kinnaman, wears a t-shirt with cartoon bunny on it. It's an interesting choice of costume for the character, and it turns out there's a story behind it. Gunn says that he originally was going to have the character wear a Looney Tunes shirt, but decided against it because of it being a bit of an inappropriate reference on a few levels.

Speaking with BBC Radio 1, Gunn explained that the shirt was originally going to feature Wile E. Coyote, but with Looney Tunes being a Warner Bros. property and The Suicide Squad also being a Warner Bros. movie, it felt like a bit much.

"I just drew Ultra Bunny because originally we were gonna use, he was gonna wear a Wile E. Coyote t-shirt that said 'Help' on it. Because that's what he got from the people in Corto Maltese," Gunn said. "But it seemed like a bit too much like — because it's a Warner Bros. movie. If it was Mickey Mouse it would be okay, or if it was Wile E. and we were making a Disney movie I would be okay, but making a Warner Bros. movie with Wile E., I felt a little weird. Plus, I'm working on a Wile E. movie, so it's like all these different things coming together and I just wasn't sure about it."

The Wile E. Coyote movie that Gunn references is Coyote vs. Acme. It was announced last December that Gunn would be writing the screenplay for the film along with Jeremy Slater, Jon Silberman, Josh Silberman, and Samy Burch. Gunn will also produce the film, which is said to be based on the fictional The New Yorker article "Coyote v. Acme" by author Ian Frazier. Published in 1990, the piece imagined a lawsuit brought about by Wile E. Coyote against the Acme Company who provided him with various devices and tools to aid his pursuit of Road Runner. The devices frequently malfunctioned, leading to the humorous failures, injuries, and sight gags Road Runner cartoons are known for.

As for the other reason why Flag wearing a Wile E. Coyote shirt might not be appropriate in The Suicide Squad, Gunn went on to explain that there was also concern about having a character like the beloved Wile E. Coyote splattered in blood due to the violent nature of the movie.

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"Also, I think they were a little unsure about having a character, having Wile E. splattered in blood and gore," he said. "And so I drew my own character, Ultra Bunny, who is a character I actually made up for something else, and I just did a drawing of him with a sign. I'm like, 'What should I put on the sign? Let's put our [production] slogan on there: Obstacles are opportunities.'"

Starring Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Jai Courtney, Peter Capaldi, David Dastmalchian, Daniela Melchior, Sylvester Stallone, and Viola Davis, The Suicide Squad releases in theaters and on HBO Max on August 6.