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The Suicide Squad: release date, plot, cast, trailer and more

The official logo for the 2021 movie version of The Suicide Squad
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The Suicide Squad is preparing to undertake another life or death mission in Warner Bros’ DC Extended Universe (DCEU). Yep, Harley Quinn, Rick Flag and company are ready to wage war under the command of Amanda Waller – albeit against their will.

James Gunn’s R-rated supervillain movie arrives in theaters and on HBO Max in early August (or late July depending on where you live) and, if its two trailers are anything to go on, it may be the best superhero flick that Warner Bros. has made for quite a while.

With its launch date rapidly approaching, we’ve collected every piece of information on The Suicide Squad together for your convenience. We’re nice like that – unlike the various superpowered criminals in The Suicide Squad’s lineup.

Below, you’ll find everything worth knowing about the film, including its release date, trailer, all-star cast, plot details, whether it's a sequel to the 2016 Suicide Squad movie and more.

The Suicide Squad release date: August 2021 

Peacemaker, Bloodsport, Ratcatcher 2 and Polka Dot Man in The Suicide Squad

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The Suicide Squad will release simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max on Friday, August 5. It was originally supposed to arrive on August 6, but the date was moved up 24 hours to coincide with James Gunn's birthday.

However, this date only applies to US audiences, as viewers in some territories will be able to see it earlier.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that The Suicide Squad will only be available on HBO Max for 31 days – and only subscribers at the ad-free $14.99 monthly tier will be able to stream it. It’ll leave the service after September 6 so, if you choose to watch it at home instead of on the big screen, ensure you do so within a month of its launch.

UK film fans will be able to catch it in cinemas a week earlier from Friday, July 30 as HBO Max isn’t currently available on British shores.

We also know what the movie's runtime is now, too. Taking to Twitter (as he regularly does to interact with his fanbase), Gunn revealed that The Suicide Squad would be two hours and 12 minutes long.

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The Suicide Squad trailer: get a new look at the R-rated film

With The Suicide Squad set to be released very soon, Warner Bros. is ramping up marketing for its R-rated supervillain flick.

A new trailer for the movie landed online on Tuesday, June 22 and provided a more in-depth look at some of the characters, action and humor that will be on show when The Suicide Squad is released.

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn in The Suicide Squad

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The first trailer for James Gunn’s Suicide Squad arrived on March 26 – and it was worth the wait.

Looking (and feeling) like an R-rated version of another James Gunn movie series in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, The Suicide Squad will be full of foul language, violence, sexual references and character deaths (more on these later).

It’s Warner Bros’ most mature superhero movie yet and, if the online reaction to the trailer is to be believed, audiences are ready for more of these kinds of adult-skewing DCEU projects.

You can watch the red band trailer here, or check out the 'Rebellion' trailer below:

The Suicide Squad cast: who is playing who? 

Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag and John Cena as Peacemaker in The Suicide Squad

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

We aren’t messing around when we say that The Suicide Squad’s cast is absolutely stacked. There are plenty of big names in this movie, and we’re hoping that they’ll get the screen time necessary to showcase their undoubted talents: 

  • Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn 
  • Idris Elba as Bloodsport 
  • John Cena as Peacemaker 
  • Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag 
  • Sylvester Stallone as King Shark (voice; Steve Agee portrays King Shark on screen) 
  • Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang 
  • Peter Capaldi as The Thinker 
  • Michael Rooker as Savant 
  • Viola Davis as Amanda Waller 
  • Nathan Fillion as T.D.K 
  • David Dastmalchian as Polka-Dot Man 
  • Daniela Melchior as Ratcatcher 2
  • Alice Braga as Sol Soria  
  • Pete Davidson as Blackguard 
  • Sean Gunn as Weasel 
  • Flula Borg as Javelin 
  • Mayling Ng as Mongal
  • Taika Waititi (role undisclosed)

Waititi has also been cast in another undisclosed role, while Agee will also portray Belle Reve warden John Economos, alongside other actors in supporting roles.

These include Joaquín Cosío as General Mateo Suárez, Juan Diego Botto as Corto Maltese’s dictator Silvio Luna, Storm Reid as Bloodsport’s daughter Tyla, Jennifer Holland as Waller’s assistant Emilia Harcourt, and Suicide Squad comic writer John Ostrander as Doctor Fitzgibbon.

One actor who we won’t see in The Suicide Squad is Dave Bautista. The Guardians of the Galaxy star was eager to join Gunn for the DCEU movie but, due to scheduling conflicts with Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead (per Entertainment Weekly) he had to pass on being involved. 

The Suicide Squad sequel: is it a follow-up to 2016’s Suicide Squad? 

Peter Capaldi portrays The Thinker in James Gunn's Suicide Squad

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

It’s complicated. Back in April 2019, The Suicide Squad producer Peter Safran told ComicBook.com that The Suicide Squad wasn’t a continuation of the 2016 film.

Fast-forward to an October 2020 Empire piece, however, and Gunn revealed that The Suicide Squad is “its own thing” – not quite a sequel, but not exactly a reboot.

The return of Robbie, Courtney, Kinnaman and Davis (in their respective roles) for The Suicide Squad muddies the water further, too. If this quartet are reprising their characters from David Ayer’s 2016 flick, shouldn’t Gunn’s movie be labeled a sequel?

In that respect, it should be – but, as Gunn explained via Twitter, you don’t have to watch 2016’s Suicide Squad in order to follow The Suicide Squad’s events, so it can’t be a straight sequel.

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Actor John Cena has further complicated matters since Gunn's tweet. Speaking to Observer about the upcoming movie, Cena said that it wasn't a prequel or a sequel.

“The Suicide Squad is neither a sequel nor reboot," Cena confusingly stated. "The Suicide Squad is the Suicide Squad from the brain of one of the most amazingly twisted creative minds in James Gunn that I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.”

Is The Suicide Squad a follow-up to 2016’s Suicide Squad then? We say ‘technically not’ but, given all of the above, it’s easy to see why there’s so much confusion around this fact. 

The Suicide Squad plot: what’s it about?

A brief shot of Starro, The Suicide Squad's villain, on screen

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Given the above information, one thing we don’t expect to see (or hear) is callbacks to David Ayer’s Suicide Squad. If we don’t have to watch that flick to understand The Suicide Squad, we don’t think there’ll be many overt references to the 2016 installment.

With that out of the way, here’s The Suicide Squad’s official synopsis (per the movie’s official website):

“Welcome to Hell – a.k.a Belle Reve, the prison with the highest mortality rate in the US of A. Where the worst Super-Villains are kept and where they will do anything to get out – even join the super-secret, super-shady Task Force X.

“Today’s do-or-die assignment? Assemble a collection of cons… then arm them heavily and drop them (literally) on the remote enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese. Trekking through a jungle teaming with militant adversaries and guerilla forces at every turn, the Squad is on a search-and-destroy mission with only Colonel Rick Flag on the ground to make them behave, and Amanda Waller’s government techies in their ears, tracking their every movement.

“And, as always, one wrong move and they’re dead (whether at the hands of their opponents, a team mate, or Waller herself). If anyone’s laying down bets, the smart money is against them – all of them.”

With so many characters in The Suicide Squad, it’s inevitable that most of them will be bumped off. 

That’s not to say that Harley Quinn, Bloodsport and Peacemaker are immune, either. Gunn has previously revealed that he had free rein to kill any supervillain that he wanted (per Total Film) and that each actor knew whether their character would live or die before The Suicide Squad’s production began. 

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It’ll be fascinating to see who Gunn kills off in The Suicide Squad, then, and we suspect that a few of those deaths will come at the hands of the movie’s main villain – Starro.

Who is Starro? To put it simply, it’s a huge, cosmic starfish-esque monster who has plans for world domination. 

In DC Comics, Starro has many abilities (including flight, superhuman strength and regeneration), but its most famous power is its army of mind controllable starfish. If one of these alien molluscs attaches itself to a host lifeform, Starro is able to control them in any way it sees fit.

That, inevitably, spells trouble for The Suicide Squad. What happens if one (or more) of them become possessed by this hulking monstrosity? They may turn on each other and ultimately jeopardise the mission.

Speaking to Den of Geek, Gunn also teased the possibility of more than one villain in The Suicide Squad, so Starro may not be the only major threat to Rick Flag’s gang of convicts.

As for why the Suicide Squad are being dropped onto South American-based island Corto Maltese, they’re tasked with destroying Jotunheim, a Nazi-era prison and laboratory where political prisoners are held and experimented on.

We suspect that these experiments will have ties to Starro’s mind-control abilities – after all, we see Starro break out from an underground facility in the movie’s trailer. It’s possible that Corto Maltese’s army are using it to conduct its own mind control experiments, and the Suicide Squad end up accidentally releasing Starro from his prison.

One non-Starro tease, which Gunn revealed recently, explains why Bloodsport is in prison, too. According to the director, Elba's character had a run-in with Superman, although Gunn hinted that Bloodsport wasn't exactly the villain during their exchange:

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Finally, you should stay in your seat once the credits begin to roll. Gunn has also confirmed that there will be a post-credits scene to enjoy once audiences have sat through the credits (to appreciate the many, hardworking individuals who helped to make the film):

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The Suicide Squad spin-offs: are there any? 

The Suicide Squad prepare to land on Corto Maltese

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Yes. A Peacemaker TV series is currently in development for HBO Max. Cena will reprise his role for the show, which will explore the character’s origins. Gunn has written the eight-episode series and will direct several of them. 

Other cast members include Steve Agee as John Economos (the same role he’ll play in The Suicide Squad), Danielle Brooks (Orange is the New Black) as Leota Adebeyo, Robert Patrick (Terminator 2) as Auggie Smith and Freddit Stroma (Harry Potter) as Adrian Chase/The Vigilante.

Filming is set to end on June 9 ahead of the series premiering on HBO Max in January 2022.

Peacemaker may not be the only spin-off that Gunn develops, though. Responding to a fan on Twitter in January, Gunn said that he’d be interested in pursuing other projects around The Suicide Squad’s lineup, but declined to say who exactly.

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The Suicide Squad success: will it triumph at the box office?

Bloodsport, Harley Quinn, King Shark and more watch on as Starro attacks in The Suicide Squad

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

We suspect so. The Suicide Squad is basically an R-rated Guardians of the Galaxy and, given how popular that Marvel series is, it’s highly likely that Gunn and Warner Bros. are onto a winner with this DCEU movie.

There’s clearly an audience for R-rated DC movies. The movie’s first red band trailer received over 150 million views on YouTube one week after release, which broke the record set by another mature Warner Bros. film in Mortal Kombat.

If that’s any indication, plenty of people are excited to take in a funny, action-packed R-rated DCEU movie with an all-star cast, and with a proven big name writer-director behind it. We certainly are, too, so we wouldn’t be surprised if The Suicide Squad becomes a major hit as the box office recovers from the pandemic – even with its simultaneous HBO Max release.