When the rumored lineup for this summer’s Suicide Squad movie was first announced back at the tail end of 2014, there were more than a few fans left scratching their heads. Characters like Vixen, Mindboggler, and Jaculi weren't exactly household names, after all. Once the official roster was announced a few weeks later and a few more major characters were confirmed for the project, most of the confusion was cleared up, but one name above all still stood apart from the rest has the "Huh?" of the team.
Probably the least well known inclusion on the Suicide Squad roster is Slipknot, a D-List villain set to be played by Adam Beach. More recognizable as a masked metal band than a comic book character, the name "Slipknot" just doesn’t have the same kind of recognition that Harley Quinn, the Joker, or Deadshot enjoy. However, this rope-wielding villain has been around since the ‘80s, and has been part of the Suicide Squad in the comics for years. Just in case you're still finding yourself scratching your head and shrugging your shoulders, we’ve pulled together a few key talking points about the DC baddie in preparation for his big screen debut on August 5th.
Here are 12 Things You Need To Know About Slipknot.
12 He Started Out As A Firestorm Villain
Even casual comic fans now know Firestorm from the hugely successful CW universe – their Firestorm has appeared on Arrow, The Flash and is currently starring in Legends of Tomorrow! All around, he's one of the most powerful characters the Arrowverse has to offer.
What you may not have known is that Slipknot started his comic journey by battling the nuclear-powered hero in "Fury of Firestorm #28: The End of His Rope." The punnily-named issue saw Slipknot first appear on top of a greenhouse, as he dropped a noose around Ronnie Raymond’s neck. What follows is a short battle, as Slipknot first shows off his abilities as an acrobat and with his ropes – and it looks for a moment as though he may win the day!
Of course, we know that won’t actually happen, and Firestorm bounces back to take Slipknot out and save Lorraine Reilly (Firehawk), who was the real target of Slipknot’s attack. Slipknot only appeared in this one battle with Firestorm before being carted away to prison and (eventually) joining the Suicide Squad.
11 His Ropes Are As Strong As Steel
Ropes may not seem like a particularly intimidating weapon, especially in the superhero world, but Slipknot’s ropes are special. At some point in his past, Christopher Weiss (Slipknot’s real name) worked for a chemical company in the southern United States. While there, he developed a chemical adhesive which he uses to coat his ropes. This adhesive coating makes his rope weapons stronger than steel and almost unbreakable.
Slipknot uses these ropes in a wide variety of ways, which gives him his villainous nickname. In addition to using the ropes to lasso, trap and tie people, he also uses them to choke and hang his victims, and even uses them to swing from buildings (much the same way Spider-Man uses his webbing to travel). He is usually pictured with only one or two ropes in hand, and while we are led to believe that he has an inexhaustible supply of these (and of the chemical used to create them), he only needs to use one at a time due to his skill with them.
10 He Is A Trained Assassin
Not a lot is known about Christopher Weiss’s background – but it seems that he has been busy in his earlier life. As well as working for a chemical company (and presumably being an expert chemist, as evidenced by his advanced adhesive formula), Weiss also somehow found the time to train as an assassin. This isn’t explained in detail, but in his first battle with Firestorm he shows off some impressive abilities – sneaking up on him in the first place, setting traps, racing along rooftops, etc etc.
He also claims that he has forgotten more about hand-to-hand combat than Firestorm will ever know, and he was hired to take on Firestorm while Firehawk was being kidnapped. The guy has some kind of background in battle, we just never really find out what it is. All of which means that on top of his indestructible ropes, Slipknot is an incredibly talented fighter and assassin, which makes him a lot more of a threat. Perhaps we’ll learn a little about his killer past in the movie!
9 He Lost An Arm On A Suicide Squad Mission
After Firestorm put him in prison, Slipknot was recruited to the Suicide Squad. He was sent on a search and destroy mission alongside Bronze Tiger, Captain Boomerang and Rick Flag. The team was headed to swampland in order to find a Manhunter robot base and take it down. Slipknot, as a new and untrusted member of the team, was fitted with an explosive bracelet and told that if he strayed too far from the team, the bracelet would go off.
Captain Boomerang, who wore his own bracelet, convinced Slipknot that the bracelets were a scare tactic, and wouldn’t actually explode. Boomerang actually was just hoping to find out if they worked, before attempting his own escape, and he succeeded. Having little success against the robots, Slipknot decided to give the team the slip – at which point the bracelet exploded. He lost his arm, and was left for dead in the swamp.
Many fans are hoping that we will see a version of this sequence in the film, as Captain Boomerang is also in the live-action version of the team.
8 He Was Then Given A Bionic Arm
After his time with the Suicide Squad, Slipknot managed to recover (but didn’t return to the team, for fairly obvious reasons). He reappeared in the comics just over a decade ago, around the time of the Infinite Crisis storyline. At that point, he was not only fully recovered from his injuries, but the arm that was blown off in the swamp had been replaced with a Winter Soldier-esque bionic version!
The new arm allowed him to perform all the same kinds of moves that he used to, as well as increasing the strength, grip, and power in that arm. However, the arm didn’t come with any extras – other than the increased strength, there are no weapons or gadgets included as part of his upgrade. It’s unlikely that we will see this newer, bionic version of the character in the film, but if he survives to see the credits roll (more on the unlikelihood of that later), we might see it appear onscreen somewhere down the line.
7 He Joined The Cult of Kobra
After his short time with the Suicide Squad had come and gone and Slipknot made his reappearance, he seemed to have had something of a religious conversion, and had become a member of the Cult of Kobra. Headed up by Kobra himself, a megalomaniac with special armor and an increased lifespan, the Kobra Cult are a force to be reckoned with in the DC universe, often battling with SKULL. As religious fanatics, its members will fight to the death for what they believe in and for their leader. Recruits also hiss when they talk, a nod to their snake-like commander.
When Slipknot was featured in the 2004 miniseries Identity Crisis, he was shown in prison as a follower of Kobra, hissing when he spoke. (He was being interrogated about an attack on Jean Loring at the time). This never became a huge plot point for his character or for the series, and it is highly unlikely that we will see this religious version of the character in the upcoming film.
6 He Has Tangled With Tattooed Man Before
Another character (it appears) will also be making an appearance in the Suicide Squad movie will be Tattooed Man – played by Common. Although Common hasn’t officially been confirmed as Tattooed Man, he has revealed his character’s nickname to be "Monster T," and several photos have been snapped of the rapper/actor with heavy tattoos and piercings on set. Assuming that Common’s Monster T will be a live-action version of Tattooed Man, we may well see him and Slipknot go head to head at some point, as they did in the comics.
After the events of Final Crisis, Slipknot is hired by Mister S to take Tattooed Man down. He fails, but is able to escape Tattooed Man by threatening to kill his son if he isn’t allowed to go. Later, however, Tattooed Man is badly beaten by Mister S and his goons, and Slipknot throws him onto the street, humiliating him. In another confrontation, Tattooed Man manages to destroy Slipknot’s bionic arm and leaves him for dead -- for the second time in his life.
5 Tattooed Man Killed Him In The End
After several battles between Slipknot, Tattooed Man, and the mysterious Mister S (actually Tattooed Man’s brother), it seemed as though the Tattooed Man had won. He had left Slipknot for dead, and although his newfound status as a hero had been damaged, it seemed that he had made it through the battle.
However, Slipknot wasn’t actually dead (again). In retaliation for the loss of his arm (again), he kills Tattooed Man’s son, Leon. This action led to his eventual death, as Tattooed Man joined Deathstroke’s new team (Titans/Villains For Hire), after they promised him Slipknot’s head on a platter. Deathstroke delivered, and Tattooed Man and Slipknot squared off once more, with Tattooed Man eventually beating him. In a gruesome finale, Tattooed Man wraps his barbed wire tattoo around Slipknot’s neck, pulling it tight and decapitating him with it. Ouch.
4 He Looks Very Different In The Comics
While all of the characters have been given an updated look for their live-action outing, Slipknot’s is markedly different to his comic book counterpart. In the books, Slipknot is all about the spandex suit. In his earliest appearances against Firestorm, he wore a black body suit with baggy sleeves and a cutout around his ribs – an interesting fashion choice to say the least. The suit came over his head, and he wore this loose-sleeved outfit during his time with the Suicide Squad as well. Later, he switched up to something more form-fitting, with a red body, blue/grey arms and legs, and a yellow/gold stripe up the center of the chest. Both outfits cover most of his head and face, leaving only his mouth and eyes uncovered.
In the movie, he sports an outfit that's much more grounded in reality, with black clothing and armor, and what looks like a device for holding and unspooling his ropes strapped to his chest.
3 Adam Beach Has a Tragic Past (Worthy of a Comic Book Character)
Adam Beach, who will be playing Slipknot in the Suicide Squad movie, has definitely experienced more than his fair share of tragedy. Born in Manitoba, Canada, the actor was raised on the Dog Creek First Nations reserve, and his childhood was far from idyllic. He lost both his parents at the tender age of 8 – his mother was killed by a drunk driver, and his father drowned weeks later.
After he and his brothers went to live with family in Winnipeg, young Adam started acting to express himself. He was quickly revealed to be very talented, and his career took off. Later, he landed a breakout role in 2006's Flags of Our Fathers, where he played a decorated Marine that became an alcoholic. The role gained him several awards nominations, and he did it all despite the fact that during filming, both his grandmother and his best friend passed away. Despite going through enough loss to compete with Batman in the painful-childhood stakes, Beach is not only a fantastic actor and a consummate professional, but he works as a motivational speaker, focusing on helping Native American and First Nation youths – proving that while he may be a villain on screen, he’s something of a hero in real life.
2 This Isn’t Beach’s First Comic Book Movie
It’s getting rarer and rarer to find talented actors who haven’t at least dipped their feet in the realm of comic book movies, and Beach is no exception. The actor had a small part in 2011’s Cowboys and Aliens, a sci-fi/Western mashup that saw huge names such as Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford as cowboys in the old West, fighting an alien invasion. Beach played Nat Colorado, second in command to a cattle baron. The film -- based on the fantastic graphic novel of the same name -- pretty much bombed at the box office, where it struggled to recoup its $163 million budget.
This will be Beach’s first entry into the DC universe, though – even if it might be short-lived! If Slipknot ends up being killed by Tattooed Man (as it happens in the comics), it appears he’ll also be being killed by another comic book veteran. Common, who is presumed to be playing Tattooed Man, played the Gunsmith in the 2008 action flick Wanted, which was also based on a graphic novel of the same name.
1 Slipknot Probably Won’t Make It Through The Movie Alive
As we’ve already mentioned, there is a high chance that Slipknot won’t survive the Suicide Squad movie. For one thing, he’s an incredibly small character – since 1984, Slipknot has only appeared in 35 issues, and he is rarely used in a role larger than that of a hired goon with super-strong ropes. He is, in short, expendable.
Some fans theorize that he will die trying to outwit Amanda Waller’s bomb collars (or bracelets, or implants, or however Waller chooses to blow up renegade team members -- it's sort of her thing), the same way that he lost his arm in the comics. With Captain Boomerang in the film, we may even see Boomerang convincing him to test the bombs. If he survives the bombs and his fellow team members, Slipknot is likely to bite it at the hands of Tattooed Man/Monster T, as we've already explained.
However it happens, we’re willing to bet that Slipknot will be dead before the credits roll. You'll notice that is presence is very limited in the film's promotional material, and the shots of him fighting alongside the squad appear to be before the bigger action sequences have taken place. And frankly, his death just makes a bit too much sense. The whole point of Waller's Task Force X is to take on what are essentially death sentences, missions that are simply too dangerous for the armed forces. As the least known member of the Suicide Squad...well...we would advise against getting too attached to the guy.
How early on do you think Slipknot will bite the dust? Does he have any shot of making it through the film alive? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.