The Suicide Squad movie has been met with mostly negative reviews from critics, but positive reviews from audiences. It has remained in the number one spot at the box office for three straight weekends, and also recently passed the $500 million mark at the worldwide box office.
However, many still feel that they movie could have been so much better without the alleged interference from Warner Bros. on the editing and marketing process of the movie. Some fans have even threatened to sue Warner Brothers for false marketing due to the trailers of the movie featuring many scenes which didn’t make the final theatrical cut, especially scenes involving the Joker.
This bring us to the Suicide Squad Official Novelization, which seems to fix all the problems associated with the movie. Yes, it has more character development, does away with the psychedelic dossiers and flashbacks, and of course, has a whole lot more Joker and Harley Quinn in it.
So if you’re one of the many Suicide Squad fans who felt that the film was wanting more, here are 15 Things The Suicide Squad Novelization Reveals About The Movie.
NOTE: The Following List Contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Suicide Squad.
15. The Novel Was Written By An Accomplished Comics Writer
Although the Suicide Squad novelization is based on the original script by David Ayer, Marv Wolfman was clearly able to inject his knowledge of the DC universe and storytelling to make it a compelling read that any Suicide Squad fan will not want to put down.
Wolfman’s body of work includes creating the characters Nova Prime and Rhomann Dey, who were both seen in the movie Guardians of the Galaxy, Blade The Vampire Hunter, Deathstroke, Cyborg, and many others. He also co-created The New Teen Titans in 1980 with George Pérez. According to Wolfman’s official website, he has created more characters that have been adapted into movies, TV, and animation than any other comics writer with the exception of Stan Lee.
His other acclaimed novelizations include Batman: Arkham Knight, Crisis on Infinite Earths, and Superman Returns, for which he won the Scribe Award for Speculative Fiction.
14. The Story is Linear
One of the biggest criticisms of the movie was that the first act relied too heavily on Amanda Waller’s dossiers to introduce the members of the Squad. Although they were a visual treat, and some of them even provided precious information on the characters’ back stories and how they relate to the DC movies as a whole, many found the back and forth re-introductions of Deadshot and Harley Quinn redundant.
That problem is eliminated in the novelization which is told in a more linear format. The novel begins with June deep in the Jungle trying desperately to find the source of her nightmares which she feels will kill her. This is when she falls, literally, into the Enchantress’ cave and becomes the ancient witch.
Harley Quinn is the next character to be introduced in a chapter where the Joker and his henchmen hunt her down in Arkham Asylum. It is revealed that the Joker wants to do electroshock therapy on Dr. Harleen Quinzel, because she did the same to him as part of his treatment. He deliberately wants to make her go insane, calling her his Mona Lisa.
Deadshot on the roof is the next scene which details pretty much what we saw in the movie and the promotional clips that were released prior to the movie’s opening. We also get a glimpse of the amount of preparation Deadshot puts into his work – emptying out an alley full of homeless people by giving them meal vouchers for a fast food joint, and smuggling in his rifle into the building weeks beforehand.
13. We Get To See June and Flag’s Relationship Start
Another critique about Suicide Squad is that we don’t actually get to care about June Moone before the Enchantress takes over and causes wanton destruction. We are unable to empathize with Rick Flag when he struggles with the possibility of losing the woman he loves to prevent the end of the world.
June and Flag’s relationship is much better developed in the novelization. Like in the film, he meets her in a hotel bath tub; they share stolen glances and supportive touches, such as in the scene in the Situation Room when Waller has June turn into the Enchantress to demonstrate the potential of Task Force X’s meta-humans.
But it is in a chapter afterwards, as June walks through Midway city to collect her thoughts, that we really get to understand the internal struggle she is going through. The voice of Enchantress constantly tries to take over, but June perseveres. It is also in this chapter that she and Flag have a more intimate conversation, admit that they are falling in love, and share their first kiss.
It’s a lot more character development for both of them, and allows us to understand why they care about each other. It works a lot better than just taking Waller’s word for it when she said in the movie that they fell in love according to her plan.
12. More Character Development (For Most)
It’s not just June and Flag who get better hashed out backstories. Nearly everyone on the Squad gets more time to be introduced before they are recruited. (Nearly everyone because, unfortunately for Slipknot and Katana, what you see in the film is basically also what you get in the novel.)
Boomerang, also, does not get much more backstory in the book and his character is often referred to by different names – Boomer, Boomerang, Digger, or Harken – which makes it feel as if nobody really knew what to do with his character to begin with.
But Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Flag, and Croc all get much more development in the novel than what we saw on screen.
Deadshot’s rivalry with Flag is more pronounced, for instance; the former’s military background was shining through, and Flag was impatient and even willing to humiliate soldiers who do not stand to attention at his authority.
Harley Quinn gets to reveal flashes of her past life as Dr. Harleen Quinzel when she analyzes some of the Squad members and even lends many insights and observations during the battles to come.
Croc get the most interesting snippets when he reveals to Deadshot that he was his client who requested him to send him the hit’s head after he was done with the job. It is also revealed that Croc is afraid of heights, and got a bit sick as they were leaving Belle Reve – he threw up a goat’s head at Harley’s feet. (Clearly, high altitude and vomit are Croc’s only weaknesses.)
11. Johnny Frost Has A Bigger Role
And it’s not just the Squad who get more story time. Even the Joker’s main henchman, Johnny Frost, gets a bigger role. All of Frost’s scenes are with the Joker either in Arkham, or away from the Squad, but these chapters are largely told from his perspective and, being the Joker’s main man, has much insight to share about his boss.
He knows how to best handle his crazy boss’ tendencies and is the only person on the planet who witnessed the Joker’s and Harley’s relationship from the beginning. He even mentions himself that he knows why they work so well together even though they are polar opposites – the Joker, he says, is a meticulous planner, while Harley is just a loose cannon who never thinks anything through.
He also shows his annoyance at the other henchmen in the Joker’s motley crew. He is frustrated at Panda, for example, for never removing his giant panda head costume even as they are driving away in their getaway van.
10. Waller Shows Fear And A Tiny Bit Of A Conscience
Viola Davis played the role of Amanda Waller perfectly and is one of the highlights of the film. Waller is the powerful sociopath in charge of the Suicide Squad. In the movie, she is ruthless and shows no mercy to ensure that she gets exactly what she wants. In the novel, she is all that and more.
Waller is a bit more rounded as a character in the novel as she shows a bit of a sense of humor when she catches Flag and June in a kiss for the first time. She tells them, “I sure hope you two are using protection. Don’t want you spawning the antichrist, do we?”
Several times, she also shows fear that her plans and the Suicide Squad will fail in their mission at Midway City as she watches them from her drone. She observes them being unable to work together as a team and faults the timing of the apocalypse – they didn’t have enough time to train together before setting them off on their first mission.
But Waller also shows that she has a heart – as long as it serves her purpose in the end. She gifts Deadshot with a new punching bag, a new mattress (which he had destroyed in an earlier chapter), and better meals at Belle Reve to show that she had already selected him for her Task Force X even before he gave them a show with the shooting targets when they first met.
9. The Suicide Squad Gets More Bonding Time
Both in the book and the movie, the Squad is thrown into the action within minutes of meeting each other for the first time. It’s not the best scenario to get a team together to work as a unit, especially when the team is made up of criminals with the mentality of every man for himself.
But the novelization does the movie one better by allowing at least some small talk between the Squad en route to Midway city for some pre-action bonding time. Deadshot and Flag get into heated arguments; Flag claims Deadshot is nothing more than a murderer, while Deadshot insists the soldier is more like him than he lets on.
Harley also makes the Squad reluctantly talk about what got them locked up in Belle Reve and even tries to psychoanalyze Diablo, saying that he’s suffering from a guilty conscience.
8. Navy SEALS Have A Bigger Role
The Suicide Squad isn’t the only team in the movie fighting the hordes of Enchantress’ minions. The Navey SEALS also got significant screen time, and in the novel, they are used often to highlight the difference between the chaotic order of the Squad, and the organized military training of a team that has learned to work together.
One of the SEALS, GQ, has a particularly larger role in the novel than in the movie. GQ and Flag go way back and have served many missions together. He watches out for his men, who are not only his soldiers, but his friends as well. He recognizes all of them when they are turned into Enchantress’ soldiers and is more conflicted every time he has to put down one of his former comrades.
Towards the end of the novel, it is also GQ who suggests using the nanite charge in the subway to explode underneath Incubis. Flag is initially against this idea because whoever detonates the charge would only have two seconds to run away. But GQ says he is willing to make that sacrifice as it is required of him.
7. Risque Jokes And One-Liners That Didn’t Make The Movie
It is normal for any movie to deviate from their original scripts when the final cut is released. The Suicide Squad novel doesn’t just have some jokes and one-liners that didn’t make it into theatres, but shows interesting aspects about the Squad.
Harley Quinn, for example, has some of the best lines in the book (and in the movie as well). In one chapter, she chats with Boomerang, convinced that he must be getting paid by Waller to join the Squad, and she wants to know exactly how much. She tells him that she wants to get what he’s making – or even just 79 per cent of what he’s getting paid; after all, she’s a woman and what more can she expect?
6. Enchantress’ Dialogue Is Not As Magnanimous
The Squad members aren’t the only ones with more lines. Even Enchantress gets more dialogue, which isn’t confined to grand talk of building her great machine to take over the world. She actually toys with the Squad when they arrive at the subway.
“Why are you here? Is it because the soldier led you here? For Waller? But, boys – and I include you too, Harley Quinn – why do you serve those who cage you? I am your ally, and I know what you want,” she tells them, without even looking at them.
Like Harley Quinn, Enchantress also has a habit of winking and blowing fake kisses to her enemies, particularly Flag. She also tells Waller, when she is captured, that she was an extremely unpleasant boss.
Enchantress also allows her brother, Incubus, to play with the Squad before he kills them off, but asks him to do so quietly so that she can concentrate on putting the final touches on her long-range weapon machine powered by magic.
5. More EA Fight Scenes
Although not much information about the Enchantress’ soldier minions is given in the movie, significantly more detail is given to their appearance in the book.
When the Squad and the SEALS first get a glimpse of them, they note that the faceless enemy are covered in an indescribable black substance and are covered with hundreds of glowing green eyes that eerily follow them (and glow red when they are collectively angry). Diablo is the first one who calls them the “Eyes of the Adversary,” or EAs for short.
The EAs work with a hive mind and sometimes do not detect the Squad nearby when they are preoccupied with other tasks. They are also much harder to kill. In the first battle alone, the SEALS mention that they had enough ammo to take out a small country but they are nearly empty with their first encounter with the EAs alone.
The novel also details just how much destruction Enchantress, Incubus, and the EAs were able to do in just three days. According to the novel, first the city government send in cops when Incubus first attacked the subway. Then the army was sent in, but they were downed in less than 30 seconds. Finally, Flag was sent in with June – but we all know how that plan turned out.
4. How Joker Survived The Crash
When Harley’s rescue Chinook was shot down, we all knew that despite Harley’s grief over losing her Puddin’ that the Joker would make it out somehow. The novel does not have us waiting until the end to find out that Mister J was, in fact, alive and well.
A chapter details that just before the Chinook crashes and explodes, the Joker is able to jump out just in time. One of his first thoughts as he watches the flames burn is rescuing Harley. He reveals that being with her is like a mine field – being with her kept him stimulated, but knowing that one day he would strangle the life out of her kept him focused. Their relationship was a “dangerous and corrosive one.”
Everyone who came into contact saw how volatile the Joker and Harley were when they were together, even Monster T, who was shown in the scene in the bar, became panicked when the Joker told him that he was giving Harley to him as a gift. Knowing that one wrong move could get him killed. In the movie, the Joker kills him but in the novel, Monster T accepts Joker’s gift of a gun and shoots himself to spare himself whatever torture the Joker would put him through for daring to look at Harley.
3. Boomerang Loves The Outback
When Enchantress has the Squad under her spell, they are all shown alternate versions of their lives where they are granted their heart’s desires. Deadshot is living happily with his daughter, Zoe, and the Demon (Batman) is no longer a menace in his life. Harley Quinn is a housewife with the name Harley Ker. She and her husband, Jo, are living a quiet life with their kids in tow.
Boomerang is finally given some significant backstory in this chapter when his hallucination is revealed to be a flashback of his time in the Australian Outback during his four month Walkabout. He reveals that this spiritual journey brought him so much serenity that he was hoping it would guide him throughout the rest of his life. But fate brought him violence and hardship so he turned into Boomerang to survive. As he watches his weapons, all his decked out boomerangs, burn in his vision, he tells himself this time was going to be different: “No more death.”
It is also this vision that Boomerang goes back to when he is locked back up in Belle Reve at the end of the film. While the rest of the Squad were content with their simple perks as rewards, Boomerang wanted the freedom of the wide open Outback.
And one more thing… even though the novel doesn’t expand upon Boomerangs “fetish” for pink unicorns, it does explain that he’s had Pinky ever since he was a young boy and when an EA tries to grab it, he is relentless in obliterating the monster to get its paws off his beloved unicorn.
2. Diablo’s Sacrifice Is More Powerful
Another character who is given more justice in the novel due to the linear storytelling format is Diablo. For most of the novel, everyone only knows him as a dangerous flamethrower who took out an entire prison in a few seconds by turning it into an inferno. Most of the time, as the Squad learns how to work as a team, Diablo holds back and constantly repeats that their fight is not his fight and he wants no part in their salvation or saving the world, since he doesn’t deserve repentance.
More than once, the Squad gets frustrated with Diablo’s reluctance to lend a hand in their brutal fights against the EAs. Only Harley Quinn tells them to back off, calling Diablo her “hot stuff.”
But finally, in The Golden Tree Bar, Diablo reveals why he chose to have himself locked up in isolation at Belle Reve. Using his fire to create dramatic images with flames, he confesses that he killed his wife and children in a fit of rage – losing everything he loved in one moment.
1. A Lot More Harley And Joker
And finally, the novelization has chapters that almost all Suicide Squad and Harley Quinn fans have been clamoring for: more scenes with the Joker.
The sadistic and psychotic relationship of Harley and Mister J has so much detail in the novel that Jared Leto may have felt frustration after much of his work was cut out of the final film.
When the Joker first begins torturing Harleen Quinzel, he reveals that he wonders what would happen if he gave someone electroshock therapy without any muscle relaxant or sedatives, or if he continued the therapy for hours to days on end, instead of just a few minutes.
For her part, Dr. Quinzel is excited when the Joker begins torturing her. In Belle Reve, when she is being gagged or force fed, she laughs and enjoys it because it reminds her of what her Puddin’ would do to her. She never gives up hope that the Joker is just around the corner ready to come to her rescue at any moment.
In Harley’s flashback to Ace Chemicals about her “birth,” the Joker is described as angry that Dr. Quinzel is not the woman who emerges from the vat of chemicals. He wasn’t finished playing with her and demands who has taken her place. Harley joyfully kisses him and says, “I’m Harley Quinn! And you’re my Mister J.”
The two are inseparable and even Batman was a victim of their psychotic crimes. In the scene where he rescues Harley after the Joker crashes their car into the water, Batman says, “The Joker took something important from me. It’s my turn.”
Suicide Squad is in theaters now. Wonder Woman opens 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.
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