During DC FanDome this weekend, James Gunn unveiled an official lineup for The Suicide Squad, putting the actors together with their character names for the first time. Or, at least, most of them. In the case of Nathan Fillion's character, all fans were given was his name: T.D.K. And while there have been a number of guesses as to exactly what "T.D.K." might stand for -- and plenty of The Dark Knight jokes -- we wanted to break down a little bit about the character most likely to be his comic book counterpart, based on his costume logo as well as some recent rumors that could tie into it.
If you have been keeping up with the rumors and speculation surrounding The Suicide Squad, it's likely you heard that at one point, the conventional wisdom was that Fillion would play Arm-Fall-Off Boy, a minor character who tried out for the Legion of Super-Heroes and didn't make it, but would go on to have more adventures over the years. Following the soft reboot of the Zero Hour crisis in the '90s, the character was rebranded as Splitter. He has the ability to remove his own limbs and use them as weapons.
The tissue designs that co-creator Curt Swan came up with for what his vacated sockets would look like, resemble the emblem on TDK's costume pretty closely, which is why after rumors began to circulate that Fillion would be playing the character, Gunn decided to deny the rumors. They held enough weight with fans to be taken as obviously true if they weren't outright denied.
Fillion, later, said that he was fine with fans thinking that he was playing Arm-Fall-Off Boy, since it would prevent him from accidentally blowing the name of the actual character he was playing. He assured fans, though, that Arm-Fall-Off Boy wasn't the name in the script.
That's likely true. Whether it's for creative or practical reasons, it seems that Gunn and Warner Bros. are creating a new character. It's likely he will have similar abilities, given that logo -- and a lot of fans are speculating that "T.D.K." might be "The Detachable Kid" -- but it's highly unlikely that they will reveal he is from the 30th Century or anything like that.
One plausible guess is that "Arm-Fall-Off Boy" was off-limits because of the character's co-creator, Gerard Jones. It is common practice for DC to allow creators to request a payment when their characters are used in other media, and DC has largely avoided making Jones's work available in recent years. The writer, who had runs on Justice League Europe and Green Lantern in the late '80s and early '90s, was arrested in 2016 on suspicion of possession of child pornography, and started a prison sentence in 2018. It's possible that a desire to avoid association with Jones drove the decision to avoid using the character of Arm-Fall-Off Boy, even if the character does appear to be similar. Jones did co-create at least one character who made it to the big screen -- Topaz, who appeared briefly in Thor: Ragnarok.0comments
That's all speculation, though, as is the "Detachable Kid" naming and even just the notion that Fillion is probably playing some variation on the character. Still, it seems like reasonable speculation given the context.
The Suicide Squad hits theaters in August of 2021.