The Suicide Squad: James Gunn Picked Every Character Himself

When it comes to James Gunn's The Suicide Squad, one of the most interesting aspects of the upcoming film is its characters. The eagerly anticipated upcoming film features a wide variety of both well-known and deeply obscure DC characters, something that makes the film a bit unlike anything else DC has brought to the big screen to date. And while sometimes when it comes to the making of big blockbuster comics movies, there are studio directives about what characters should or should not be used, it sounds like Gunn had complete control over who he brought into things. Producer Peter Safran told the press during a visit to the film's set back in 2019 that Gunn picked every character for the film himself.

"Hundred percent from James," Safran said when asked whose decision it had been to use some more obscure characters. "There was no plan before James. There were other writers that had worked on various Suicide Squad scripts over the years, but there was not... This was starting from ground zero, starting from scratch. There was no plan until James said, 'That's a movie I want to go make.' And then all the characters that he selected were just characters that he was a fan of and wanted to play with."

He continued, "I think, in typical fashion for James, he picks more obscure characters. Guardians of the Galaxy, they were relatively obscure characters, as well, but he liked the idea of being able to take these characters and imbue them with whatever characters he really wanted, or characteristics that he really wanted to play with. And they're great characters that he brings tremendous humanity and heart and humor, to characters that most of the public will know very little about."

While Safran made the comparison to Guardians of the Galaxy regarding Gunn's choice of obscure characters, Gunn himself explained that The Suicide Squad is a completely different thing, but did speak about he simply fell in love with certain characters and what he could do with them in the story.

"Basically DC came and said, 'Hey, what do you want to do? Anything?' And at first I really honestly didn't think it was going to be Suicide Squad, but I was playing with a few different ideas of a few different DC properties and this was the one that just took off," Gunn said. "I just fell in love with this particular story that we're telling right now. And I fell in love with some of the characters and the way we could do it. It's not a superhero movie, obviously, it's a supervillain film, but to be able to tell a movie like this in a completely different way. And in a lot of ways, when I came in to do Guardians and being able to do a space opera in a totally different way, this is my way to do a war film in a completely different way."

He continued, "And I thought it was something that I could do. And it both surprised people by giving them something completely different than what they expect, like we did with Guardians. People saw that trailer for the first time with these weird characters in prison and what was going on with them, to be able to do something like that again, where people might be expecting it to be like Guardians. They might be expecting it to be like the first Suicide Squad. They might be expecting it to be like, whatever, but it's not like any of those things."

Of course, fans won't want to get too attached to any characters in The Suicide Squad. Gunn has been pretty clear that anyone can die in the upcoming film, something Safran backed up.

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"Suicide Squad, my friend," Safran said. "People are going to die. That's what happens."

The Suicide Squad hits theaters and HBO Max on August 6.