[This post contains MASSIVE SPOILERS for Suicide Squad.]
David Ayer's Suicide Squad is the third installment of the blossoming DC Extended Universe, meaning the mega-franchise is now starting to take shape. As is the case with most comic book films these days, viewers entered the tale of villains and antiheroes curious to see how it tied in with its predecessors, and how it would tease the upcoming installments. Though each movie tells its own story, some interconnectivity is required with the shared universe model, illustrating how all the projects work together and serve the larger narrative.
Since the DCEU is still in its infancy, some may look at Suicide Squad and feel that the opportunities for connections are all too brief. However, Ayer's film is a cornucopia of goodies for DC Comics fans, including those who have been following the new movies. For the purposes of this list, we're looking specifically at how Suicide Squad relates to Man of Steel, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Justice League. Be sure to check out our upcoming Easter eggs post for a full breakdown of all the references in the movie.
A Time After Superman Died
When Suicide Squad was in production, there was much discussion about where in the DCEU timeline it would take place. Some rumors suggested it was set prior to the events of Batman V Superman, but the opening moments of the film reveal that it is very much a "sequel." Amanda Waller is motivated to form Task Force X because Kal-El is no longer flying through the skies to protect us, and she's concerned that the next "superman" may not be so friendly towards humans. She frequently references the Man of Steel's earlier exploits and cites metahumans as the reason why her "worst of the worst" should go into battle. Footage of Superman's funeral from Dawn of Justice is even shown.
Based on this information, it would appear that the DCEU is going for something somewhat similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in which most of the installments follow each other chronologically. Yes, the Wonder Woman standalone is a period piece in World War I, but other than that, Warner Bros. is staying away from prequels. Despite being the first solo movies for each, Aquaman and The Flash are going to be set after Zack Snyder's Justice League. This should make things relatively easy to follow for casual audiences, while also allowing the various installments to build upon one another instead of backtracking.
The Bat And The Rogues
Ben Affleck's Batman was one of the breakout stars of Dawn of Justice, and the Oscar winner is now arguably established as the face of the franchise moving forward. It isn't any surprise that the filmmakers are interested in including him in any way they can, and with Suicide Squad featuring a number of classic Batman enemies, it was only natural for the Dark Knight to make a cameo or two. The Suicide Squad trailers already showed the Caped Crusader pursuing the Joker and Harley Quinn through the streets of Gotham (saving Harley from drowning), but Batman has a much more impactful encounter with Deadshot.
During the sequence where Floyd Lawton is walking with his daughter, he crosses paths with Batman (who was tipped off by Amanda Waller). The master assassin is prepared to murder Bruce Wayne in the streets, before his daughter stands in front of Gotham's hero and refuses to move. Obviously not wanting to kill his child to defeat the Bat, Deadshot is reluctantly taken to prison. These two scenes do a great job of establishing the lived-in nature of the DCEU, where most of the characters have been active for years prior to their first big screen appearances. In an age where the origin story formula has become a bit stale, this is a welcomed development.
Harley Quinn And Robin
One of the most noteworthy Easter eggs in the DCEU thus far is the Robin suit that resides in Bruce's Batcave. With the taunting message "Ha. Ha. Ha. Joke's on you, Batman," written across the front, it's very apparent what happened to Batman's sidekick. Anyone familiar with the comics and the famous "Death in the Family" storyline are aware that Jason Todd met his tragic end at the hands of the Joker, and Snyder obviously pulled from that source material while making his films. Suicide Squad essentially confirms that the DCEU Robin had a very similar fate to his on-page counterpart.
Each member of the Squad are introduced with flashy graphics that shed some light on their histories and abilities. When it's Harley Quinn's time to shine, one line of text will certainly catch the attention of fans. She was apparently an accomplice in the murder of Robin and is wanted for that particular crime. Given that Harley is one of the best parts of Suicide Squad, viewers have hardly seen the last of her. In all likelihood, she and her puddin' will continue to make life miserable for Batman when Affleck's solo vehicle makes its way to theaters, and Robin's death could very well be an important aspect at play.
Boomerang's Gone In A Flash
As was reported before Suicide Squad's premiere, Batman wasn't the only Justice League member to make an appearance in Ayer's film. Captain Boomerang is one of the Flash's best-known adversaries, so there was room for the Scarlet Speedster as well. Boomerang is first seen robbing an American bank (after he had already cleared out his home nation of Australia), and he knocks out his partner so he can make away with more of the cash. Barry Allen then shows up, quips about there being no honor among thieves, and uses his powers to apprehend Boomerang.
Not much is known about the DCEU's The Flash at this point in time, and the movie is currently in need of a new release date. One would think that Boomerang would at least be one of the villains in Barry's solo vehicle, since the filmmakers were interested in introducing him in Suicide Squad. A staple of shared universe productions is setting up certain characters to flesh them out later down the road (see: Wonder Woman in Batman V Superman), so this shouldn't be any different. Many are in agreement that Jai Courtney was good in the role, so he should get another chance to play the beer-chugging bad guy.
In order to keep the unpredictable members of her Task Force X in line, Amanda Waller pulls no punches and has each one injected with an explosive device. This is the ultimate leverage. If someone tries to escape or act for their self-interests, all Waller has to do is push a button and kill them. Slipknot learns this the hard way early on, becoming the "red shirt" to show the rest of the gang that the government is serious.
It's a small detail that may go unnoticed, but Van Criss, a WayneTech company, is responsible for making the bombs. This revelation, along with the mid-credits scene (more on that later), indicates that Waller has been in league with Bruce Wayne for a while as she figures out the best course of action. Given that the Suicide Squad is meant to be a covert operation that very few people know about, it's highly implausible that the U.S. government contacted Wayne Industries on-the-record for this specific item. Waller can obviously handle herself very well, but even she needs a little bit of help from time to time, and Bruce has plenty of valuable resources.
The Best of the Best
If one is interested in a greater analysis of Suicide Squad's button scene, read our Suicide Squad mid-credits scene explained post. Here, we'll just cover the broad strokes. Waller is in a meeting with Bruce Wayne, who disapproves of her strategy to use villains to protect the world. As we all know by now, Wayne is spearheading the Justice League movement, and he feels that he and his new friends can do precisely what Waller wants Task Force X to accomplish. In the sequence, Wayne receives a packet of information that includes files on Arthur Curry and Barry Allen, perhaps shedding light on how Bruce knew where to look for them in the Justice League trailer.
Though their time on-screen is very brief, it's clear that Wayne and Waller have a truly fascinating dynamic that will hopefully be explored in future films. With so many people curious about the Enchantress incident in Midway City, Waller is feeling the heat and needs protection, which Wayne is willing to provide. As Bruce leaves, Waller tells him that he should "stop working nights" because he looks so tired, hinting that she knows Batman's secret identity. Suicide Squad showed that Waller is not someone you should mess with, and in the event that Bruce ever wrongs her, the cat (or bat?) could be out of the bag.
These are the connections to the larger DCEU we noticed while watching Suicide Squad. Though the franchise is still in the early going, the studio is doing a nice job of interweaving plot points and characters between entries, making it feel like a cohesive world as the build their slate up. There will no doubt be plenty more in the years to come.
Let us know which Suicide Squad connections were your favorite in the comments below and be sure to point out any that you noticed!
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.