Suicide Squad is looking to do a lot of things differently when it hits theaters this August. Bringing so many characters to the silver screen for the first time, Suicide Squad could expand the DCEU in a big way.
One of the characters to be introduced is Will Smith’s Deadshot. It won’t be Deadshot’s first live-action appearance, but it will be his fist appearance in a major motion picture, so many audience members don’t have much familiarity with who he is.
In preparation for Suicide Squad, learn all about DC’s most accurate marksman by checking out 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Deadshot.
15. Creative Origins
Originally inspired by Batman co-creator Bob Kane (and ghostwriters David V. Reed and Lew Schwartz) in 1950, Floyd Lawton — like many comics characters — barely resembled his modern day incarnation when he first graced the pages of DC Comics. As a tuxedo wearing pistol waver, Deadshot would evolve quite a bit before becoming the character we know today.
Many of these changes would occur in 1988, when Suicide Squad creator, John Ostrander, wrote the Deadshot mini-series, in which he gives the character a deeper (and more tragic) backstory than had previously been fleshed out, giving him a son, and a history of family loss. His family life would be expanded on even more in 2005, when writer Christos N. Gage had him learn he had a daughter — after having brutally killed off his son.
Along with the rest of the DC Universe, Deadshot got some additional alterations after the Flashpoint event made way for the New 52. Adam Glass’s reintroduction of the Suicide Squad kept many elements of Deadshot’s history similar, but streamlined events, completely removing his son from continuity.
14. Will Smith is the First to Bring Him to the Big Screen
Deadshot may have over 65 years of history on comics pages, but his first silver screen realization will be when Will Smith dons the red armor and wrist guns in Suicide Squad. While Smith will be the first and only actor to play the character on the big screen, he is not, however, the first to portray the incredibly accurate assassin in live action.
He’s previously appeared in Smallville as a duster wearing marksman/cowboy to face off against Clark Kent, and he’s popped up multiple times in The CW’s Arrowverse. A more traditional version of the character was first introduced in season 1 of Arrow, and he even teamed up with a streamlined Suicide Squad. After being killed off in season 3 of the series, the character popped up again this year in The Flash, where he plays the Earth 2 version of Floyd Lawton, who — ironically — works for the Central City Police Department, and — more ironically — is completely inept with his firearm.
With the flexibility of time-travel and the multiverse, Floyd can most certainly pop back up in the Arrowverse in the future (or even make an appearance on Gotham), but with rumors of Will Smith returning to the character for Suicide Squad 2, it would seem like the Fresh Prince has the definitive live-action portrayal on lockdown for the foreseeable future.
13. Will Smith Went Through Intensive Firearms Training
Not one to approach any character casually, Will Smith has been known to take the physical training for his action roles very seriously, although he’s admittedly been in impressive physical shape for the majority of his career.
For Suicide Squad, the 47 year did more than just tone his muscles; he also spent a significant amount of time familiarizing himself with various firearms — the tools of Deadshot’s trade — and honed the craft himself on a tactical range. He appears to be quite proficient, although it’s doubtful he’s quite on the same level as the character he’ll be portraying — even falling a little shy of John Wick.
Physical training aside, as the perennial hero, Smith also emphasized that he had to work hard to get inside the head of a killer, trying to nail down Deadshot’s psychology and understand “somebody who could take money to kill people.”
12. He’s Not a Metahuman, But His Talent is Unrivaled
Unlike most other members of the Suicide Squad, Deadshot doesn’t have any special powers. No super strength, durability, or mental abilities. His greatest talent, his good eyes and steady hands, aren’t a product of any metahuman gifts, but a result of hard work and dedication.
Deadshot makes up for his lack of powers by keeping himself in peak shape, and utilizing the best technology — most notably his pistols, a sniper rifle, and wrist-mounted machine guns. His armor also provides him with excellent protection, and can even mask his vital signs, allowing him to play possum from time to time.
And just because Deadshot prefers to attack from a distance doesn’t mean he’s not a foe to be reckoned with up close. He’s faced off against some of the DC universe’s most proficient fighters, including Batman, and lived to tell the tale, although his true edge in battle comes from behind a rifle scope.
11. He Almost Never Misses
Deadshot’s reputation for his accuracy is no accident. In fact, his title as DC’s most accurate marksman doesn’t even do proper justice to his skills, because he’s not merely the most accurate, he’s nearly perfectly accurate. That is, he’s perfectly accurate so long as Batman isn’t around.
Deadshot’s accuracy makes his firearms more than simple offensive weapons, allowing him to use them for a vast array of applications, including defense, such as the time that he shot Oliver Queen’s arrows out of the air, or his ability to circumvent most body armor by targeting weak points with otherworldly precision.
The reason he’s not perfectly accurate is because he’s known to have missed his target at least once. The only blemish on his record, ruining his perfect streak, came during a hit in Gotham when the Caped Crusader arrived in time to disrupt his shot, resulting in Deadshot’s first miss (although he still hit his target with a flesh wound, so he shouldn’t be too down on himself).
10. He’s Played All Sides: Hero, Villain, and Everywhere In Between
Deadshot first appears in DC Comics as a hero, utilizing his perfect accuracy to exclusively shoot people in non lethal (but probably excruciatingly painful) locations. His attempt to become the protector of Gotham quickly give way, however, making him another entry in Batman’s massive roster of rogues.
As a Batman baddie, Deadshot has occasionally veered into supervillain territory, hatching maniacal plans for little reason other than being a menace, including a time he famously faced off against the Dark Knight atop a massive typewriter in downtown Gotham (where things like giant typewriters have been known to exist).
In the years since, Deadshot has settled fairly firmly into the antihero role, regularly serving on the Suicide Squad and working as an assassin for hire. He’s less interested in directly facing off against any superheroes and just focuses on the job at hand, unless said job happens to be getting paid to kill a superhero…
9. He Was Hand Picked to be the Leader of the Suicide Squad
Deadshot’s impressive marksmanship and criminal status alone make him a great fit to the Suicide Squad, but those qualities weren’t the most enticing attributes for Amanda Waller. As the Director of Task Force X, Waller was in need of a leader, and Deadshot’s excellent combination of tactical skills and ability to keep a level head in tense situations made him the ideal candidate.
Several other characters have served as the Squad’s leaders over the years, including Waller herself, Captain Boomerang (as a ruse), Black Manta, Rick Flag, and even Harley Quinn, but none were as successful or permanent a fixture as Deadshot. He even had to take out Black Manta to reclaim team leadership after the Aquaman villain turned against Amanda Waller.
Deadshot has also led multiple versions of the Suicide Squad, even when the membership of the cast revolves around him, leading squads in various continuities from post-Crisis to the New 52, including the New Suicide Squad, and now serves as the leader of the team in DC’s new Rebirth line.
8. The Suicide Squad isn’t His Only Team
Despite his seemingly permanent status as Suicide Squad leader, Deadshot uses his down time to participate in a side gig — the Secret Six. Like the Suicide Squad, the Secret Six is a team of villains that take on covert missions, but unlike the Suicide Squad, these missions are usually at the request of another evildoer.
When not shopping their services out to the highest bidder, the Secret Six follow orders from a mysterious figure called Mockingbird. The mantle of Mockingbird has been anonymously taken up by many characters over the years, including Lex Luthor, the Riddler, and Amanda Waller — who is borderline stalking Deadshot at this point.
Unlike on Suicide Squad, Deadshot does not serve as the leader of the Secret Six, in fact, the group is typically self-governed (when not following Mockingbird’s orders), but members like Bane and Scandal Savage (the daughter of Vandal Savage, who apparently likes to rhyme) have both served as team leader in the past.
7. He Doesn’t Like Captain Boomerang
The consummate professional, Deadshot usually manages to control any disagreement with other team members, going as far as to forgive traitorous actions from other characters — such as Harley Quinn — but his patience with Digger Harkness, aka Captain Boomerang, has a much shorter fuse than he allows for others.
Much of this clash of personalities is due to the fact that Boomerang is almost the complete opposite of Deadshot. While both characters are deadly accurate with their respective weapons of choice (if boomerangs count as weapons), the similarities end there. Deadshot takes his work very seriously, whereas Boomerang is a bit of a slacker, and seems to pursue villainous activity as a means of entertainment.
The Floyd/Digger rivalry is on full display in the recent animated movie Batman: Assault on Arkham, where the marksman is challenged to a game of darts, where he not only shows Boomerang up in humiliating fashion, but follows it out with a sucker punch as an exclamation point to his disdain. This brief scene serves as an ideal encapsulation of their relationship, and we’re hoping to see something like it out of Smith and costar Jai Courtney on the big screen next month.
6. His Soft Spot is His Daughter
Typically depicted as a cold blooded killer who’s willing to put a bullet in anyone so long as he’s paid, Deadshot is actually a big ‘ol softie when it comes to his daughter, Zoe.
Originally unaware of her existence, Lawton approached Zoe and her mother, who live in Star City, when Zoe is four years old. Wanting to settle down and be a family man, Deadshot returned to his vigilante roots, cleaning up the Star City neighborhood they lived in.
When the criminal organization he was trying to push out began to push back, Deadshot realized he’s putting a target on his family’s life, so he faked his death and took to protecting them from afar. Upon leaving, Deadshot called in some favors from old associates, ensuring Zoe was accepted into a better school.
Zoe is one of the only things Floyd cares about, and Amanda Waller utilizes this knowlege for leverage, frequently dangling the promise of a visit from Zoe in order to get Lawton to do her bidding. We may even see Viola Davis’s version of the character use a similar tactic in Suicide Squad, because Zoe Lawton is set to appear in the movie, portrayed by Shailyn Pierre-Dixon.
5. He Has A Death Wish, And It’s Been Fulfilled More Than Once
Deadshot’s risky decision making often pushes the needle well past daredevil and into death wish territory. Often using his reckless behavior as a strategic advantage, Deadshot not only doesn’t care whether he lives or dies, but he secretly hopes for the latter, even shooting through himself on multiple occasions to achieve his goals.
Deadshot even achieved this wish more than once, dying multiple times during the New 52 incarnation of the Suicide Squad, only to be brought back to life by Amanda Waller — who would immediately get cussed out by a livid Floyd Lawton.
His first death was a sacrificial play to take down Regulus, the leader of the terrorist organization known as Basilisk. Caught in a chokehold by Regulus, Deadshot puts his wrist mounted gun to his chest, and blasted right through John McClane-style to make sure his captor went down with him. He was given a full funeral, only to be revived a few issues later.
His second death was at the hands of the new Squad member, the Unknown Soldier. During a heated debate over the rightful leader of the Suicide Squad, Unknown Soldier suddenly blasts Deadshot in the chest, only for him to “wake up” in a Belle Reve hospital, where Amanda Waller had revived him with the mysterious samsara serum, which may have been derived from a… sample… Deadshot previously removed from the end of Resurrection Man’s arm.
4. Similarities Shared With Marvel’s Bullseye Led To the Two Being Combined Into One Character For A Limited Run
Comic books have a long history of stealing characters from other publishers, with Thanos/Darkseid and Deadpool/Deathstroke being two of the most popular examples. Deadshot also has a doppelganger on the Marvel side in the Daredevil villain Bullseye. While it might be a stretch to say the latter is an outright ripoff, he does share quite a few similarities with his 26 years older DC counterpart. Both characters are incredibly accurate with nearly any weapon, but Bullseye has a somewhat more lethal history, able to utilize nearly any object as a perfectly accurate, deadly projectile.
In fact, the two characters are so similar that the Marvel/DC crossover brand, Amalgam Comics, merged the two marksmen to form Deadeye. Deadeye, William Lawton, has the accuracy of both Bullseye and Deadshot, Deadshot’s equipment, and Bullseye’s adamantium reinforced bones to form one seriously dangerous assassin.
In Amalgam comics continuity, Deadeye finds himself facing off against other character combinations such as Dare (Slade Murdock), and Catsai (Elektra Kyle). We’ll give you one guess to figure out which 4 characters they combined to make those mashups.
3. He’s the Most Accurate Assassin in DC Comics, but Not the Most Deadly
Deadshot’s status as the most accurate character in DC Comics is most definitely a respectable title, but it’s not the most impressive title for a DC assassin. That award would go to Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke: the most lethal DC assassin. To be fair to Floyd, he’s not always trying to kill his target, but even so, the moral of the story is: if you want someone dead, hire Deathstroke.
It might be unfair to compare the two, given Deadshot prefers to make his kills from a distance, whereas Deathstroke tends to make them up close (in case their names didn’t give that away), but what would comic books be without the classic “who would win in a fight” question?
The two characters have even faced off on multiple occasions, with Deathstroke winning some, and Deadshot winning others. Given there’s no clear winner, it would be fair to say that the two are equally lethal, although Deathstroke’s healing factor could be considered an unfair advantage over the non-powered Deadshot.
2. He Has An On-Again, Off-Again Relationship With Harley Quinn
One of the more bizarre parts of Deadshot’s history is his relationship, or lack thereof, with Harley Quinn. While their relationship is in no way, shape, or form anywhere near as volatile as Harley’s relationship with Mista J, the lovely pairing pictured above is far from stable — and definitely not healthy.
The relationship between the two characters originates from their very first mission together in the New 52 Suicide Squad run. Harley initially expresses an appreciation for “the take charge type,” only for Deadshot to tell her he doesn’t “do clowns” a few pages later, immediately before their first… romantic encounter.
Harley tries to call Floyd “Puddin,” only to be harshly informed by Deadshot that their relationship is strictly physical. After this, they mostly vacillate between flirting and beating each other up, with Harley even using their relationship to make the Joker jealous.
1. He’s Worn The Joker’s Face
The best example of just how messed up things can be between Deadshot and Ms. Quinn would be the time Harley had him wear the Joker’s face.
Let’s back up. The Joker had his face cut off. You know, because he’s the Joker. Everyone thinks he’s dead (except Batman, because he’s Batman), so Harley — who misses her Puddin — decides to go and recover the skin that used to be his face from the Gotham City Police Station.
Deadshot, assigned to track down Harley — who’d gone AWOL from the Suicide Squad — finally catches up with her, gets knocked out, and wakes up to find himself tied to a chair with Harley putting Joker’s face skin on top of his own.
When Harley begins to roleplay as if he were actually the Joker, Floyd sees no option but to go along, playing the part of the Joker until Harley attempts to get more intimate, at which point he shoots her in the stomach and escapes.
It was weird.
What do you think of Deadshot? Are you hoping to see anything from the comics (that doesn’t include Will Smith wearing Jared Leto’s face) in the Suicide Squad movie? Let us hear about it in the comments!
Suicide Squad opens in theaters August 5th, 2016.