At one time, Warner Bros. had multiple projects based on DC Comics characters waiting in the wings. The strangest – and perhaps most ambitious – was a proposed film called Super Max, which would have featured current CW stalwart Oliver Queen wrongly convicted of murder and sent to a high-tech prison populated by many of DC’s B and C-list villains. Though David S. Goyer’s Super Max script was roundly praised by those that read it, the film never generated enough interest to get off the ground.
Those still hungry for something in the spirit of Super Max got quite the treat six months ago when it was reported that Warner Bros. was interested in adapting the classic reformed-supervillain title Suicide Squad. Unfortunately, it looks as if the proposed film has run into quite the snag – Warners has decided to place all its second-tier adaptations on hold until after the release of Justice League (and perhaps beyond).
Collider shares the news that Suicide Squad had been placed on the back burner until after more major titles have been tackled for adaptation. When asked about the proposed adaptation of Suicide Squad, producer Dan Lin (Gangster Squad) said:
“[Suicide Squad] has a script from Justin Marks, but that is on a hold right now. I think Warner Brothers wants to finish their A-list stories first and then we’ll talk about stories like Suicide Squad.”
Suicide Squad would almost certainly follow a group of convicted supervillains given a second chance to pay their debt to society by taking on dangerous – if not outright self-destructive – missions for the United States government. Though not the first version of this so-called “Task Force X,” this tale of super-powered criminals fighting against impossible odds debuted in 1987 under the pen of John Ostrander. That well-regarded comic book run completely revised previously campy villains such as Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, Count Vertigo, and Bronze Tiger.
Given Warner Bros.’ current strategy with adaptations of DC Comics’ superhero universe, the move to de-prioritize Suicide Squad makes quite a bit of sense. For the moment, the company has decided to forgo the Marvel Studios method of shared world-building and place all emphasis on upcoming Superman adaptation Man of Steel, followed by the much-discussed Justice League, due in 2015. Dan Lin’s quote seems to indicate that the embargo on lesser-known titles may last even longer than that, as Suicide Squad is far less known by the general public than other characters set to be introduced in Justice League. We may have to wait for film adaptations of The Flash and Wonder Woman before we see Deadshot fighting for his freedom on the big screen.
Perhaps this delay is for the best. The fact that Suicide Squad‘s script has been penned by Justin Marks should be cause for trepidation, if not intense fear. The only major produced script that Marks is known for is Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, an adaptation so notoriously awful that it made audiences nostalgic for the Street Fighter film that starred Jean-Claude Van Damme and Raul Julia.
While one cannot reasonably place all the blame for Chun-Li on Marks’ screenplay, there are numerous creative decisions in the story (for instance, changing the iconic villain M. Bison into a milquetoast Irish gangster) that indicate the screenwriter took the path of least resistance while adapting the difficult source material. Despite the fact that Marks has also apparently written the adaptation of another comic book (Hack/Slash), his current output does not inspire confidence.
While Suicide Squad is on indefinite hold, Man of Steel will fly into theaters June 14th, 2013 and Justice League should debut in the summer of 2015.