The Suicide Squad: James Gunn Explains John Ostrander's DC Comics Influence (Exclusive)

We're a little over a week away from the debut of The Suicide Squad, and if the early critic reactions and reviews are any indication, the film is about to be something really special. The DC blockbuster offers James Gunn's take on the iconic team of antiheroes and villains — and as bits of the film's marketing have shown, it takes a fair amount of inspiration from John Ostrander's legendary Suicide Squad comic run of the 1980s. Gunn has been vocal about his reverence for Ostrander's run (so much so that the comic writer even briefly cameos in one of the film's scenes) — and in a recent interview with ComicBook.com's Brandon Davis, he explained that how that love is reflected onscreen in The Suicide Squad.

"Well, I think what I really did wasn't so much getting scenes from John, as it was just the tone and the premise of the entire thing," Gunn explained in our interview, which you can check out above. "I mean, I do think of this movie as being a sequel to John Ostrander stories from the late 80s where it's a bunch of Z-grade superheroes who are thought of as disposable by the US government and put out on a suicidal missions, Black Ops operations around the world, and really just sticking to that central premise and keeping that there is what was important to me."

In The Suicide Squad, welcome to hell — a.k.a. Bell Reve, the prison with the highest mortality rate in the US of A. Where the worst Super-Villains are kept and where they will do anything to get out — even join the super-secret, super-shady Task Force X. Today's do-or-die assignment? Assemble a collection of cons, including Bloodsport, Peacemaker, Captain Boomerang, Ratcatcher 2, Savant, King Shark, Blackguard, Javelin, and everyone's favorite psycho, Harley Quinn. Then arm them heavily and drop them (literally) on the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese.

The Suicide Squad will see the return of Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Joel Kinnaman as Colonel Rick Flag, and Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang from 2016's Suicide Squad. Joining them in the film are David Dastmalchian as Polka-Dot Man, Steve Agee as King Shark, Daniela Melchior as Ratcatcher 2, Idris Elba as Bloodsport, John Cena as Peacemaker, Nathan Fillion as T.D.K., Pete Davidson as Blackguard, Flula Borg as Javelin, Mayling Ng as Mongal, Peter Capaldi as The Thinker, Michael Rooker as Savant, Alice Braga as Sol Soria, and Sean Gunn as Weasel.

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The Suicide Squad is set to be released both in theaters and on HBO Max on August 6th.