Production on writer/director David Ayer's Suicide Squad is well underway, with the big reveal of our first real look at Jared Leto's Joker underscoring how different this new generation of DC supervillains will be from what has come before. Updates on the Joker have managed to squelch some of Suicide Squad reports of late, such as the possibility that Deathstroke may not appear.
Another piece of Suicide Squad news drowned out by all things Joker is the addition of hip hop artist/actor Common (Run All Night) to the film's evidently still-growing cast. He was at one point set to play John Stewart a.k.a. Green Lantern in WB's cancelled early 2000s attempt to bring the Justice League to life, and his new role remained a mystery... but maybe not anymore.
According to JoBlo editor-in-chief Paul Shirey (by way of CBM), Common could be playing traditional Aquaman villain Black Manta, which is something we suspected when his casting was announced. Here is Shirey's tweet:
Twitter grain-of-salt scoop per my source: Common may be playing Black Manta. #SuicideSquad
— Paul Shirey (@arcticninja) April 25, 2015
We of course have no confirmation and don't know who the source is, so take it with plenty of salt, as the tweet even says. We've heard before how a much more subtle Aquaman link could appear in Suicide Squad, but if Common really is playing Black Manta, this only furthers the perception that the supervillain team-up/throwdown is the crucial entry to DC and WB's movie universe, laying the antagonistic groundwork for the future.
While we expect Ayer's take on some of DC's most brutal villains to be as 'grounded' and 'gritty' as some of his previous films (like End of Watch and Harsh Times), the filmmaker's spin on the comic book characters' more fantastical elements are thought to be as practical and functional as possible. This leaves us with the question of just how he could make a sea-faring villain like Black Manta work in this world.
One appeal of the character for a writer-director is the Black Manta's non-fixed comic book origins. The villain first appeared in 1967 and has gone through a number of pre-New 52 incarnations, which have seen him abandoned as a child, subjected to experimental treatments which cured his autism but left him with a huge capacity for violence and - for one reason or another - an overpowering desire to destroy Aquaman.
If Common is really playing Black Manta - and not, say, Bronze Tiger - he might appear just enough to establish the Atlantean side of DCMU, potentially setting up an expanded role (as the main antagonist, even) in the 2018 solo Aquaman movie starring Jason Momoa. Stay tuned for details as they emerge.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will be in theaters on March 25th, 2016; Suicide Squad on August 5th, 2016; Wonder Woman - June 23rd, 2017; Justice League - November 17th, 2017; The Flash - March 23rd, 2018; Aquaman - July 27th, 2018; Shazam - April 5th, 2019; Justice League 2 - June 14th, 2019; Cyborg - April 3rd, 2020; Green Lantern - June 19th, 2020.
Source: Paul Shirey