[WARNING: the following article contains MASSIVE POTENTIAL SPOILERS for Suicide Squad]
Director David Ayer and Warner Bros. may have assembled a cast of established stars and compelling character actors for Suicide Squad, but that just isn't enough to fulfill fan appetite. As exciting as it may be to see a live-action take on Harley Quinn, or Jared Leto's brand new Joker, the film must first worry about supplying enough action, conflict, and memorable villains to keep casual audiences engaged.
We've speculated on the villains and conspiracies that may stand against the titular team, but it now seems one antagonist in particular may have been revealed. It goes without saying that those who wish to remain unspoiled and surprised in theaters should steer clear, as potential SPOILERS lie ahead.
For months now, the seemingly unrelated tidbits and rumors surrounding the film's cast, plot twists, villains, and comic cameos have made it hard to get a sense of any larger picture. Now that notorious 'scoopster' El Mayimbe has offered up word that the main antagonist of Suicide Squad will be a DC Comics character named 'Antiphon', we've got a few theories on just what Ayer is really up to.
First off, the bad news: to call Antiphon even a minor character is giving him too much credit. According to the scoop, Antiphon will - as was the case in writer Keith Giffen's 12-issue run - be a member of The Onslaught, the long-time enemy force of the Squad. But in a departure from the comics, this version of 'Anitphon' will be a badly burned, one-legged commander. That's a far cry from the slick villain seen in the comics, but with Antiphon's role limited to brief appearances in just two issues, it's a safe bet that the name is merely a nod for easter-egg-crazed fans.
The Onslaught was always a top candidate for an organized opposition to the Squad (apparently competing with the group to attain a biological weapon). The group made its first appearance in John Ostrander's first issue back in 1987, (then operating under the name Jihad) but without an older, more seasoned supervisor similar to either Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman) or Amanda Waller (Viola Davis).
Now, it seems that Antiphon will be filling that role, but combining this rumor with previous casting reports and plot details means the film's central antagonist - and its closing twist - may finally become clear.
The Possible Twist
Those following the film will recall the earlier rumors which surfaced once Tom Hardy dropped out of the film. Hardy's departure came alongside word that David Ayer's changes to the existing script not only cut down his role to focus on Deadshot, Harley Quinn and Joker, but revealed him to be working with the movie's villain - Rick Flag, Sr., his father.
Since that closing twist had no basis in the pages of DC Comics, it was left on the back burner until more evidence arrived. Now that word of an aging, battle-scarred leader of the Onslaught has surfaced, it seems possible that the man known as 'Antiphon' may in fact be Flag, Sr.; a role previously tied to Ed Harris. In fact, Harris recently confirmed that Kinnaman had briefly mentioned a role he should consider, implying the rumors may be highly exagerrated, and the role far from substantial.
The cast of the film alone made it clear that Warner Bros. was looking to make Suicide Squad a major player in their shared DC Comics universe. And though a shadowy terrorist mastermind revealed to be double-crossing his own government isn't exactly a groundbreaking twist, putting an actor like Ed Harris in the role, and placing the villain's own son in harm's way as a result could add some depth. Whether Rick Flag, Jr. is in on the plan or not.
That's the most sense we can make of the rumor, considering that Antiphon will, if adapted into the movie, be essentially an original character. What do you think of our detective work? Does a small role for Ed Harris as the rarely-seen mastermind behind Amanda Waller's downfall sound like a worthwhile twist? And do you hope to see Joel Kinnaman stay loyal to the... bad guys, or switch sides to work with his father?
Suicide Squad hits theaters August 5, 2016.