James Gunn has not shied away from repeatedly heaping praise on comic book scribe John Ostrander, noting that his original run on the Suicide Squad comic series from the 1980s was a major influence on the upcoming film The Suicide Squad. Now, revealed in the pages of Empire's cover story on the movie, Gunn has confirmed that Ostrander appears in the movie and who he is playing. When pressed by a fan if Ostrander appears in one of the photos in the new issue, Gunn confirmed the news writing: "Yes, John Ostrander - the creator of the late ‘80’s Squad in the comics - who just happens to have started in the entertainment industry as an actor (he’s really good!) - plays Dr. Fitzgibbon in the #TheSuicideSquad."
Though "The Suicide Squad" existed as a team name and comic before Ostrander began writing it, the concept of what comic book readers and film fans know as The Suicide Squad was not the same before his involvement. Originally created by Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru in The Brave and the Bold #25 back in 1959, the group was at first just a pretty standard military squad. It wasn't until Ostrander took the title in 1987 that the group would become a who's who of DC rogues and villains, all fighting on Task Force X.
Good eye, Justin! Yes, John Ostrander - the creator of the late ‘80’s Squad in the comics - who just happens to have started in the entertainment industry as an actor (he’s really good!) - plays Dr. Fitzgibbon in the #TheSuicideSquad https://t.co/uunKlbbl3Y— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) October 29, 2020
Ostrander wrote sixty seven issues of Suicide Squad from 1987 to 1992 and was the co-creator of The Suicide Squad's leader from the shadows, Amanda Waller. Some characters that appeared on Ostrander's first team that will be in the movie are series regulars like Rick Flag and Captain Boomerang, but even lesser known characters like Weasel and Javelin.
Gunn made a post on Instagram in April of last year showing off his personal collection of Ostrander penned Suicide Squad comics, noting how indebted he is to his work in the upcoming movie.
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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. Photo of my own collection. ❤️ #TheSuicideSquad
The Suicide Squad remains on track for an August 6, 2021 release from Warner Bros. Pictures. Gunn recently confirmed that they're already set to lock the picture without the need for additional photography or reshoots.