– The following includes SPOILERS for Suicide Squad –
Warner Bros’ DC Extended Universe supervillain team-up venture Suicide Squad is on track for an opening weekend box office that’s breaking August records, but while the studio and many fans are celebrating, not everyone is in a happy mood. The film has received reviews almost as bad as those for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, and even plenty of fans have left the theater feeling as though something was missing – a sense bolstered by rumors of alternate cuts and extreme studio interference.
Now, a list of supposedly deleted scenes from the film has surfaced, possibly shedding light on what might have gone wrong (or right?) in the editing room.
Suicide Squad was hurried into production to meet a choice early-August release date, and as a result has had one of the more chaotic production histories of any recent superhero blockbuster. Along with reports of bizarre behavior by Joker actor Jared Leto, rumors swirled for months that the studio had demanded the dark David Ayer film be heavily recut in order to match the vibe of a popular early trailer that more closely resembled Marvel’s Guardians of The Galaxy than the intended final film.
While those rumors were flatly denied, a bombshell report the week of its release confirmed that this was the case. Additionally, the report seemed to indicate the studio had gone so far as to ask the trailer’s creators to craft an entirely separate version of the film to test against Ayer’s prefered version – with the theatrical film said to be a “hybrid” of the two that necessitated further reshoots. Many fans have already latched onto these developments as possible explanations for some of the film’s most common criticisms – namely that it’s main storyline doesn’t make sense, that characters’ individual story-arcs change erratically from scene to scene and that Leto’s heavily-promoted turn as The Joker only briefly appears and has very little effect on the plot.
Originally posted to Reddit, the (unconfirmed and unverified) list of allegedly missing/altered scenes were as follows:
“In early cuts, the movie’s opening detailed June Moon’s possession by Enchantress in real tome [sic]. Reshoots reshuffled the scene to be later in the movie in flashback form in favour of a new opening centered on Deadshot.”
“Deadshot in the prison cell, watching the rain fall and thinking about his daughter.”
“El Diablo observing the flame of a lit match, before putting it out due to his vow to no longer use his powers.”
“El Diablo being escorted to a training center by being placed in a tube that fills with water to quel his flames, and then unceremoniously dropped onto the ground.”
“Early interviews showed Captain Boomerang’s racism and sexism, but the movie is light on examples of such behaviour, which have apparently been deleted. Most of them were reportedly directed at Katana, to whom Boomerang is attracted to.”
“Early reports indicated more backstory for Killer Croc, revealing that he entire life as a social outcast due to his physical appearancr and has convinced himself that he is beautiful in his own way. Croc crossed paths with Batman while working as muscle-for-hire for numerous Gotham’s crime bosses, while secretly planning to take over one day. There were also scenes displaying his affinity for making sculptures out of discarded materials. Aside from jokes about Croc viewing himself as ‘beautiful,’ one of these were retained in the final cut.”
“Also deleted was a scene where he becomes sick at the helicopter escort to Midway City, throws up half-digested pieces of goat, and then eats them again, disgusting the nearby Navy Seals.”
“Early cuts reportedly included a passing reference to Slipknot being serial rapist, likely to further paint him as unsympathetic to the audience ahead of his own death.”
“More scenes of Rick Flag and June Moon’s romantic relationship, including him reading the files of the Suicide Squad recruits after Waller delivers them to him.”
“Another scene where Flag and Moon are out on a date.”
“Extended scene of Joker interrogating Captain Griggs, including the line, “I can’t wait to show you my toys,” which was in every trailer, but was removed from the movie.”
“Joker and his men escaping after shooting up a restaurant. Harley, who is already affiliated with the Joker, follows them on a motorcycle and intercepts their car. Joker bangs his head against the glass in frustration.”
“Joker and Harley then get into a fight, which ends with Harley pointing a gun at Joker’s head. Joker sweet-talks Harley into lowering the gun, charming her, then backhands her across the face. Afterwards he sweet-talks her again and they kiss.”
“Extended Ace Chemicals scene where Harley jumps into the chemicals. More bits of dialogue from Joker.”
“Extended Batmobile chase scene with more interaction between Joker and Harley. One of the examples, presented in all the trailers, is the Joker punching the roof of his car.”
“Harley using her baseball bat as a mock gun to play shoot at invisible foes.”
“Extended scene of Joker breaking into the nanobomb manufacture facility to arrange for Harley’s neck-bomb to be disabled.”
“More interactions between Harley and Boomerang. Early cuts apparently included her really disliking him despite growing affectionate to all the other members of the squad.”
“Extended bar scene with Harley taking everyone’s orders. Deadshot calls for a shot, Katana wants whiskey, Croc and Boomerang settle for beer, Harley asks Diablo wants and he prefers water which she jokes, “is a good idea.” The scene was featured in the trailers, but in the movie it cuts directly to Deadshot’s speech about them all almost pulling the mission off.”
“Removed several scenes with the Joker to repaint his relationship with Harley as more loving rather than abusive.”
“Joker and Harley get into an argument after he rescues her in the hijacked helicopter. In early cuts he reportedly pushes her out to kill her, then the helicopter gets shot down. This was apparently reworked into the helicopter getting shot down first and Joker pushing her out to save her.”
“Joker returns during the final battle in the subway station, face half-burnt from the helicopter crash, which apparently leads to a brief altercation with the Squad. He calls for Harley to escape with him but she refuses for once in order to help her friends, and the Joker escapes after throwing a live grenade at the group to cover his own escape.”
While none of this information has been confirmed, several of the scenes described are at least known to exist because they were shown in trailers and ads – though this is actually a common occurrence in the world of film marketing. Although the film was indeed supposed to be “dark,” it also wouldn’t be especially surprising for a studio to remove references to characters being rapists (Adam Beach’s Slipknot) or Captain Boomerang making racist comments about his teammates.
However, if the list does turn out to be even “mostly” genuine, the details sure to get the most attention will almost certainly be those involving Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and The Joker. The fact that the film presents their clearly (one-sided) abusive/controlling relationship as something close to a “genuine” romance has been among the film’s most heavily criticized elements – especially from devoted Harley Quinn fans. If it does turn out to be true that scenes were removed to “soften” Joker’s abusiveness, or that the film was originally meant to depict Quinn escaping from her abuser’s control instead, the studio could be facing some very uncomfortable questions.
For now, the filmmakers have largely downplayed any talk of alternate cuts or editorial dissatisfaction, but with more news breaking all the time it seems unlikely that fans will hear the end of this story any time soon.
Suicide Squad is now in theaters, set to be followed by Wonder Woman on June 2, 2017; Justice League on November 17, 2017; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020. The Flash and Batman solo movie are currently without release dates.