There’s no denying that superhero film and television has gotten distinctly darker and more adult as of late. And some think the transition is only just beginning. With Daredevil and Jessica Jones Marvel has shown a distinct willingness to get down in the gutter, while Zack Snyder kicked off his attempt at a Justice League saga with one of the most serious (and literally dimly lit) superhero films we’ve seen to date. Recently, there’s even been talk that Marvel could sneakily be releasing a horror movie in the form of this summer’s Doctor Strange.
In the midst of all this, DC and Warner Bros. are about to release Suicide Squad, which is a film about popular DC Comics villains who are turned into a sort of elite fighting squad by the government. The movie actually looks somewhat lighthearted in its own way, but there have been reports that the first take was so serious they had to do reshoots just to inject some humor. According to Comicbook.com, director David Ayer has refuted these rumors, and has instead implied that they added more action. Either way, a movie entirely about the villains of a comic book universe, rather than a superhero with moral high ground, represents yet another foray into the darkness for this film genre.
For once, it also puts Marvel on defense. DC and Warner Bros. have pretty much been playing catch-up at the cinemas, but Marvel doesn’t have anything like Suicide Squad in the works (that we know of) and there’s actually no obvious comic storyline upon which to base such a film. But what if Suicide Squad exceeds expectations, outperforms Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice and becomes DC’s best effort to date? What if it gets better reviews than Captain America: Civil War (or at least Doctor Strange)? It’s hard to imagine Marvel not considering answering with their own villain-centric project, even if such a movie isn’t in their current plans.
So what would that look like? No one knows! But here are some of the characters who could make up the core of a Marvel Suicide Squad.
Tom Hiddleston‘s Loki is pretty much universally thought of as the MCU’s best bad guy, and even topped a pretty comprehensive list of villains compiled by Buzzfeed. He’s the closest thing Marvel has to a Joker-type character, who can make you laugh in one scene and give you chills in the next. He also has the distinct advantages of first, being alive in the MCU, and second being a box office draw in and of himself. Getting Tom Hiddleston on board for a Marvel version of this type of story would instantly make it a major release capable of roping in millions at the box office. This is effectively your Marvel Suicide Squad team captain. The only question would be how the U.S. government could rope a god into its service.
Sure, Sebastian Stan‘s Winter Soldier (aka Bucky Barnes) was effectively a good guy in Captain America: Civil War, and we all know he has a heart of gold underneath it all. But when he’s programmed (or just when he feels persecuted or wronged) this guy is an absolute terror, and seems capable of taking on pretty much any of the Avengers, or anyone else, head-to-head. The Winter Soldier seems to be a bigger and bigger part of Marvel’s plans, and while putting him on a “Suicide Squad” might be somewhat disruptive in terms of the greater story they’re telling, it makes a lot of sense for the character. He’s literally programmable, so a government branch using him to achieve their ends seems pretty feasible. We’ve seen it happen multiple times already.
Mickey Rourke‘s Whiplash (aka Ivan Vanko) has been listed many times as one of Marvel’s duller villains, but he still pretty much defines Iron Man 2, and he’s got an awesome image. There might be a reason that of all the imagery and content within that film, Whiplash is the most memorable. Despite the fact that more than five years have elapsed since that movie’s release, an Iron Man 2 title is still featured among a wide variety of online games at Gala Bingo, with Whiplash front and center. That means that to the thousands of gamers who need to play a casino game such as this to keep it relevant, Whiplash is still a pretty big draw. Not to mention that his energy-infused whip suit is still one of Marvel’s more badass and chaotic weapons. It was implied that Whiplash more or less blew up in Iron Man 2 but we never saw a body. A scarred, damaged version of the character who’s been locked up for years would be intriguing.
As the actual Suicide Squad is demonstrating, not every movie like this has to have villains who are already established. They can introduce new villains as well, which could make for an interesting opportunity for Marvel Studios. Kevin Feige and Co. have resisted the idea of using the Green Goblin in their new Spider-Man series because we’ve already seen two versions of the character in the Sony Spider-Man films. Butbecause of those films, Green Goblin is probably modern fans’ favorite Spider-Man baddie. Indeed, just as Whiplash still inhabits an Iron Man casino game online, Green Goblin is at the center of a very popular mobile game from Gameloft that’s recognized as one of the better Spider-Man video games out there. Fans still appreciate this character, and a movie like this would give Marvel Studios a way to reciprocate that appreciation without using the Goblin in their actual Spider-Man films.
Finally, it seems that Vince D’Onofrio’s Kingpin (or Wilson Fisk) needs to be mentioned. A scene-stealing hit in the first season of Daredevil, Fisk was never actually done in for good, which means he’s perfectly available should a villainous death squad come calling. While Loki would be the most powerful of Marvel’s Suicide Squad members and likely the leader, Fisk seems appropriate as the brains of the operation, or perhaps the chief liaison between the squad and the government.
Unfortunately, this concept is a pipe dream for the time being. But even with just these five characters you can begin to imagine a pretty incredible team and an enthralling adventure. If Suicide Squad cleans up the box office this summer we probably shouldn’t rule anything out completely.