NOTE: this guide will be updated with SPOILERS for both Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad after their opening weekends.

After nearly three long years, the sequel to the epoch-redefining (for better or worse) Man of Steel is here. But more than being just a continuation of the brand-new Superman mythos, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice does exactly what its subtitle implies: it introduces the Justice League in grand fashion at long last on the big screen, thereby kicking off the entire DC Extended Universe. Five months later, Suicide Squad returns the favor on the supervillain side, showing how the members of Task Force X – better known as the Suicide Squad – get assembled into their own fighting force.

That’s a veritable tidal wave of new protagonists (and anti-heroes) to keep track of, and that’s why we’re here to help out. This guide will keep tabs on every new major character introduced over the next several months, and, what’s better, it’ll grow with the DCEU, meaning its roster will continue to unspool as does the nascent cinematic universe. By the time Justice League, Part I arrives at the end of next year, you’ll have an encyclopedia and primer both.

So, without further ado, here is our DC Extended Universe Character Guide, presented in alphabetical order for your organizational pleasure.

NOTE: this guide is based on officially confirmed information from the DC Extended Universe only; we’ve left off information (or characters) from either the rumor mill or the originating DC Comics Universe. We’ll update the post as further details and characters are revealed or confirmed.

Alfred Pennyworth

alfred answered questions The DC Extended Universe Character Guide

Portrayed by: Jeremy Irons

First Appearance: Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

Affiliation: the Batman family

Background: in something of a recurring theme, Batman V Superman presents an entirely different incarnation of the hallowed Alfred Pennyworth. Gone is the older butler – present is the Waynes’ erstwhile bodyguard, a former British SAS operative and the only member of the family’s staff that Bruce ultimately decides to keep on. (He’s also the legal guardian of young Master Wayne following his parents’ murder.)

As such, this Alfred is a more proactive one, intimately involved in not only the creation of Batman’s arsenal of vehicles and gadgetry, but also in the vigilante’s deployment on the streets of Gotham; the last trailer shows the former military officer piloting a type of Bat-drone with Master Bruce on board in an attempt to infiltrate a hostile situation in a warehouse.

But still present is the character’s sardonic wit, his stereotypical stiff upper lip, and, of course, his obligatory objections to whatever more-extreme-than-ever-before mission Batman finds for himself (in this instance, taking down Superman, of course). It should make for an interesting mix of old and new – precisely what Warner Bros. hopes the entire BvS experience will entail.

Amanda Waller

suicide squad movie viola davis amanda waller The DC Extended Universe Character Guide

Portrayed by: Viola Davis

First Appearance: Suicide Squad

Affiliation: the Suicide Squad

Background: the head of ARGUS, a secretive government organization (which, in pre-publicity materials, Lex Luthor rails against as bureaucratic deadweight), Amanda Waller is a high-ranking governmental official whose background remains shadowy, at best. What is known about her, however, is her utilitarianism, using whatever means are necessary in order to achieve whatever specific outcome she has set for herself.

The most notable manifestation of this personality trait is Task Force X – better known by most as the Suicide Squad – a team of incarcerated individuals, some of which possess superhuman abilities. The idea behind its formation is simple: those objectives which might cause ordinary government agents pause can be assigned to the Suicide Squad, as they are both officially deniable and utterly expandable. In return, the criminals have the opportunity to have their sentences commuted – a marriage made in heaven if ever there was one.

Batman (Bruce Wayne)

Batman v Superman Dawn Of Justice Ben Affleck The DC Extended Universe Character Guide

Portrayed by: Ben Affleck

First Appearance: Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

Affiliation: the Justice League

Background: Batman V Superman takes the standard Batman formula – billionaire Bruce Wayne loses his parents as a boy and dedicates his entire life to fighting crime by becoming the world’s greatest fighter, detective, and inventor – and adds an intriguing new wrinkle: this is an older Batman, one who has already been waging his never-ending war for the past 14 years and who already has nearly his entire cast of supporting characters (such as the various Robins) and rogues gallery (such as the Joker and Killer Croc, both of whom are set to appear in Suicide Squad) established.

This extra history not only provides a new take on a character who’s been gracing the silver screen for the past 73 years, it also allows director Zack Snyder to present a darker, grimmer, and more violent Dark Knight to audiences. It’s already proving to be a controversial move (see our “Should Batman Be a Sadist?” feature for more on this), but it also enables the movie’s very premise to be possible: a suspicious Batman feels it’s necessary to find a way to take down the alien Superman at any cost in the off-chance that the most powerful being on the planet will turn against humanity.

Boomerang (George Harkness)

Suicide Squad Trailer Boomerang Beer The DC Extended Universe Character Guide

Portrayed by: Jai Courtney

First Appearance: Suicide Squad

Affiliation: the Suicide Squad

Background: an Australian assassin, George Harkness employs a rather specific and specialized weapon to accomplish his various assignments: boomerangs, most of which are fitted with deadly enhancements to make them highly efficient weapons. Since they are fitted with blades, Harkness’s boomerangs can not only be deployed as long-distance weapons – he throws them at just the right angle to make them strike opponents in the back who have taken cover – but also be used in close-quarters combat, which he, naturally, excels at.

Deadshot (Floyd Lawton)

will smith deadshot suicide squad The DC Extended Universe Character Guide

Portrayed by: Will Smith

First Appearance: Suicide Squad

Affiliation: the Suicide Squad

Background: a former member of the US Special Forces, Floyd Lawton exchanged military service for freelance work, using his quite formidable skill-set to accomplish whatever assignment comes his way.

And what a skill-set that is – Deadshot is, as his moniker might imply, the world’s deadliest shot, able to utilize any number of weaponry with an almost uncanny accuracy. It is this ability that has made him legendary in the black market – and made him a known and repeated adversary of Batman, as his assignments have led him through Gotham City several times before. It is the Dark Knight who manages to land him in prison by the time Suicide Squad starts, putting him in the perfect position to be scooped up by Amanda Waller.

Despite his morally cavalier attitude, Deadshot is a consummate professional, always fulfilling his contracts (and utilizing both a suit and tactical gear that rivals Batman’s), and a devoted – if absentee – father.

El Diablo (Chato Santana)

Suicide Squad Trailer El Diablo Fire The DC Extended Universe Character Guide

Portrayed by: Jay Hernandez

First Appearance: Suicide Squad

Affiliation: the Suicide Squad

Background: called El Diablo for his pyrokinetic abilities, Chato Santana started off life as a Los Angeles gang member before landing himself in prison and, thus, in Amanda Waller’s grasp. Unlike either Deadshot or Captain Boomerang, El Diablo is a superhuman – he can generate and otherwise manipulate fire, making him an exceedingly dangerous foe; also unlike his Task Force X comrades, he doesn’t relish combat or mayhem.

It is unknown how much of his backstory will be addressed in Suicide Squad, but such a personality quirk, along with his particular superpowers, can easily make him stand out on the team.

Enchantress (June Moone)

Suicide Squad Trailer Enchantress White House The DC Extended Universe Character Guide

Portrayed by: Cara Delevingne

First Appearance: Suicide Squad

Affiliation: the Suicide Squad

Background: Enchantress represents one of the biggest points of departure of the DC Extended Universe from its Marvel and X-Men cinematic brethren: the character represents an unabashed foray into supernatural territory, relying on magic as the source for all of her (many) powers.

There’s also another striking element at work here: possession. Being of the adventurous type, a young June Moore awakens a long-dormant demonic entity named Dzamor deep in a cavern. Eager to escape his imprisonment, the spirit hitches a ride in June’s body, imbuing her with untold magical abilities – and something of an unstable mind.

Being dubbed a sorceress, there is almost no end to Enchantress’s powers; she can teleport, walk through walls, and heal wounds all with the wave of a hand. More than making her an entirely different type of character (or sub-genre) within the DCEU, it also places her on a level that only Superman operates on – an intriguing combination, to say the least.

Harley Quinn (Harleen Quinzel)

Harley Quinn Will Either Make Or Break Suicide Squad The DC Extended Universe Character Guide

Portrayed by: Margot Robbie

First Appearance: Suicide Squad

Affiliation: the Suicide Squad

Background: whereas Suicide Squad played it safe with the Joker’s origin, staying true to the time-honored backstory that’s been around since the ‘40s, the movie has opted to exchange Harley Quinn’s original genesis from Batman: The Animated Series (and, subsequently, the comic books) for the latest tale, which is told in the most recent version of DC Comics (that’s The New 52, for all those playing along at home) – a not-insignificant point, given that this is Harley’s grand debut in the live-action format.

Here’s the gist: socially-inept Dr. Harleen Quinzel is an accomplished psychologist at Gotham City’s Arkham Asylum – until her patient, Joker, flings her into a similar chemical mixture that transformed him into the lovable freak that he is today. In the (new) comics, this results in Quinzel not only becoming as maniacally unhinged as her now-boyfriend, but also in her appearance being similarly altered, with pale skin and two-toned hair; in the film adaptation, it appears that Harley manually dyes her hair, though she is still, of course, just as homicidally deranged. (This is a nod to the character’s original origin, in which she is seduced by the Joker’s charming personality and opts to become his girlfriend and partner-in-crime.)

The Joker

Jared Leto Joker Suicide Squad The DC Extended Universe Character Guide

Portrayed by: Jared Leto

First Appearance: Suicide Squad

Background: easily the most anticipated character in – and anticipated performance of – the DC Extended Universe to date, the Joker looks to be a scene-stealer in Suicide Squad, despite his not actually being on the titular team.

Standing in stark contrast to Zack Snyder’s reinvention of DC’s power players, SS director David Ayer has opted to keep most of Joker intact from both the source material and from Tim Burton’s and Jack Nicholson’s rendition in the 1989 Batman: he is a crazed, homicidal maniac that got disfigured from a fall into some chemical vat or another (though we should be careful and note that no official backstory for the DCEU Clown Prince of Crime has yet to be offered, technically still making this a guess).

But that isn’t to say that this latest rendition ignores Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight inventions – Jared Leto’s Joker bears more than a passing resemblance to Heath Ledger’s iconic take, possessing more of a street-thug menace (thanks to his metal teeth and layering of tattoos) than Nicholson’s gleeful and capricious mob boss.

Katana (Tatsu Yamashiro)

Suicide Squad Trailer Katana Sword Souls The DC Extended Universe Character Guide

Portrayed by: Karen Fukuhara

First Appearance: Suicide Squad

Affiliation: the Suicide Squad

Background: Tatsu Yamashiro’s background is mysterious, and she prefers it to be exactly that way – she is rarely, if ever, seen without her trademark Japanese mask, and she is, apparently, a woman of few words. What is known about her is her near-legendary physical prowess; having trained for nearly her entire life in hand-to-hand combat and martial arts, she operates on a level rivaling that of only Batman.

What is most notable about Katana is, of course, her weapon of choice: a katana. Tatsu has been extensively trained in how to wield it, making her among the deadliest of individuals operating within the DC Extended Universe. What’s more, her blade, named Soultaker, has managed to master its own ancient Japanese lessons – it can capture and then trap the souls of its fallen foes, allowing Tatsu to communicate with them at will. One of the spirits that now resides in Soultaker is her late husband, whom she is still mourning over.

Killer Croc (Waylon Jones)

Suicide Squad Trailer Killer Croc1 The DC Extended Universe Character Guide

Portrayed by: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

First Appearance: Suicide Squad

Affiliation: the Suicide Squad

Background: described as a “cannibal with rage issues” by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje in interviews, Waylon Jones is actually a man born with an extreme case of epidermolytic hyperkeratosis, with has resulted in his being completely bald all over his body and his skin being thick, scaly, and greenish-grey in appearance – hence his moniker of Killer Croc.

It’s actually suggested in the DC Extended Universe that Croc suffers from another condition: genetically regressive atavism, in which he manifests traits from another species – in this case, reptiles. He possesses practically superhuman strength, has enhanced protection thanks to his thick skin, employs super-acute senses, can remain underwater for extended periods of time, and has something of a healing factor (like Wolverine in the X-Men films). Finally, fully embracing his animal side, Jones files his nails and teeth into razor-sharp points, making him even more ferocious in appearance and combat both.

Killer Croc is a well-established member of Batman’s rogues gallery, which presumably explains his presence in prison as Suicide Squad opens.

Lex Luthor

Jesse Eisenberg in Lex Luthor Viral Marketing The DC Extended Universe Character Guide

Portrayed by: Jesse Eisenberg

First Appearance: Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

Background: Alexander Joseph Luthor, Jr. is a 31-year-old “wunderkind” who, like nearly everyone else in Batman V Superman, is a decidedly different take on the hallowed supervillain – more Steve Jobs than Gene Hackman, with LexCorp being transformed from a petrochemical and heavy-machinery company into a Silicon Valley-esque startup. (Fun note: LexCorp is the second largest emerging tech company in the world, after only Wayne Enterprises – which refuses to sign military contracts as of late, offering Luthor a rather large void to fill.)

Not unlike Bruce Wayne, Lex has become obsessed with the potential – and potential danger – posed by Superman since his arrival on the planet and, not unlike Bruce Wayne, has made finding a way to stop him his overriding goal. This has led the young genius to wade into alien technologies, not the least of which seems to be the genetic manipulation of the late General Zod’s (Michael Shannon) body into the horrific and seemingly unstoppable creature Doomsday (Robin Atkin Downes).

Lois Lane

lois lane man of steel The DC Extended Universe Character Guide

Portrayed by: Amy Adams

First Appearance: Man of Steel

Affiliation: the Superman family

Background: a dogged, intrepid reporter that would take nearly any risk to get the scoop, audiences already got to see what a difference having Superman in her life starts to make for Lois Lane at the end of Man of Steel; she sits on the revelation of Clark Kent’s secret identity instead of divulging it, and even hides the fact that Mr. Kent is an alien, to boot (well, until General Zod arrives and generally ruins that one).

For the sequel, viewers will continue to get the chance to explore this ever-changing character; when the film starts, Lois and Clark are already living together and attempting to make that most human of items, a relationship, work out. But in an interesting twist, it is actually Superman that has served to humanize Ms. Lane a bit more, giving her a renewed perception of the world – he breaks her tunnel vision, her unceasing drive to only concentrate on making that next headline – and restoring her faith in humanity.

The Justice League (minor members)

Justice League Movie Team Costume Art The DC Extended Universe Character Guide

Consists of: Aquaman (Arthur Curry), Cyborg (Victor Stone), and the Flash (Barry Allen)

Portrayed by: Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, and Ezra Miller (respectively)

First Appearance: Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

Background: although Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman (the “holy trinity” of DC Comics) are the three most famous members of the Justice League, other members of that iconic team are also present in Batman V Superman. To what extent each of these additional individuals appear (are they minor characters, like Wonder Woman, or just brief cameos?) – and, indeed, whether they appear as Justice League members or just as pre-existent-but-still-scattered superheroes – is entirely unknown.

What is known, however, is a bit of their backstories:

Aquaman – born to the human Thomas Curry, a lighthouse keeper, and Atlanna, the secret queen of Atlantis, Aquaman currently serves as the king of the long-lost underwater city. This makes him the second half-god in the film, after Wonder Woman.

Cyborg – a terrible accident leaves superstar college athlete Victor Stone on the brink of death – until his father, an equally talented scientist, implants him with a series of cybernetic components. The result not only keeps him alive, but makes him a “technopath,” an individual that can connect and seamlessly interface with any piece of technology – including the internet, which he’s always connected to and which makes him a walking treasure trove of information.

The Flash – a forensic investigator with the Central City Police Department, Barry Allen is struck by lightning when working late one night. The accident produces an unbelievable result: Barry can move at superhuman speeds, even going so fast as to enter another plane of frequency where there are other, parallel realities (and from whence he can travel either forwards or backwards in time).

Slipknot (Christopher Weiss)

Suicide Squad Trailer Slipknot The DC Extended Universe Character Guide

Portrayed by: Adam Beach

First Appearance: Suicide Squad

Affiliation: the Suicide Squad

Background: much like the other members of the Suicide Squad, Christopher Weiss is an assassin-for-hire, and like his teammates, he employs a highly specific weapon – in this case, rope – that also informs his codename. (As it transpires, being a killer that only uses different types of ropes is something of a well-established niche within the DC Comics Universe.)

Slipknot is a chemist, which, in conjunction with the resources of his former corporate employer, allows him to design and replicate his own special, highly durable ropes.

Superman (Clark Kent)

manofsteel The DC Extended Universe Character Guide

Portrayed by: Henry Cavill

First Appearance: Man of Steel

Affiliation: the Justice League

Background: having finally secured for himself a place – no matter how tenuous – in the world at the end of Man of Steel, Clark Kent now finds himself a reporter at the award-winning Daily Planet while moonlighting as the Man of Tomorrow, acting as something of a beacon of hope for humanity. But it turns out that those silly humans have a very conflicted response to Superman’s grand arrival, with some welcoming him as a savior and others wary of having such a powerful weapon be unregulated on the world stage.

This tension not only opens the door to the various antagonists or foils Clark will face in this film – such as Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne, respectively – but also will provide the future direction of his character arc moving forward, presumably reaching a crescendo in next year’s Justice League, Part I.

Wonder Woman (Diana Prince)

Wonder Woman Movie Casting Kidman Wright The DC Extended Universe Character Guide

Portrayed by: Gal Gadot

First Appearance: Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

Affiliation: the Justice League

Background: the first big-screen appearance of Wonder Woman since her introduction in the comics 75 years ago, this version of the character actually gets her origin story from the New 52: she is literally a 5,000-year-old demi-god, the daughter of Zeus, the king of all deities in Greek mythology, and of the human Queen Hippolyta, the ruler of the Amazonians (portrayed by Connie Nielsen in the film), in an illicit love affair.

Such a backstory is worth mentioning since, although not much is known (or has been seen in the various trailers) about Diana Prince’s personality, hers is a decidedly different origin than either Superman’s or Batman’s, and the fact that Zack Snyder is willing to inject pure fantasy into his rather dark and dreary sci-fi landscape is potentially very telling of what the final composition of Batman V Superman – and the entire rest of the DC Extended Universe – might be like.

Did we miss anyone in our ever-evolving list? Have additional details that should be included? Sound off in the comments – and we’ll update the guide with new information, images, and characters as the DC Extended Universe continues to expand.

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opens on March 25, 2016, which is followed by Suicide Squad on August 5, 2016; Wonder Woman on June 23, 2017; Justice League, Part I on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 16, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League, Part II on June 14, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on June 19, 2020.

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