The story of how Will Smith’s Deadshot got arrested was altered significantly during production of 2016’s Suicide Squad, but given how heavily the original scene darkens DCEU Batman, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. After Joss Whedon’s extensive changes to Justice League, fans demanded the Snyder cut – Zack Snyder’s original vision for the superhero team-up. Along the journey to HBO Max, Snyder cut fever was emboldened by snippets of deleted scenes and cut character moments, revealed either by Snyder himself or others involved with production. Now #ReleaseTheAyerCut is gaining traction online, the same is happening with Suicide Squad, and the latest leaks (confirmed legit by David Ayer) offer some fascinating insight into what the theatrical version omitted.
One such deleted scene depicts a vastly altered version of Deadshot’s backstory. In the Suicide Squad‘s theatrical cut, Deadshot is shopping with his daughter, Zoe, nervously looking over his shoulder. And with good reason, as Amanda Waller has given the mercenary’s name to Batman, who swoops upon Will Smith’s character in a dark alley. As the brawl begins, Batman warns that he’d rather not be violent in front of the young girl. Deadshot disagrees, but it’s the daughter who ultimately convinces her dad to hand himself in.
The scene almost played out very differently. According to the Twitter account at the center of Suicide Squad‘s latest Ayer cut leaks (RTAyerCutSS), Deadshot was originally the one who protested about fighting in view of his daughter, while Bruce Wayne (an orphan deeply traumatized by his parents’ murders, lest we forget) replies, “take a good look at her, she’ll have gray hair when you see her again.”
Batman isn’t exactly known for his mercy, and Ben Affleck’s iteration is more heavy-handed than most, especially in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice where he’s happily branding folk. But to revel in a young girl not seeing her father feels distinctly out of character for the Dark Knight – even Batfleck. Batman’s traumatic childhood means he’d sympathize with the criminal’s daughter, if not with Deadshot himself, instead of delighting in the thought of her daddy going to prison. This is especially true since, in spite of his murderous profession, Floyd Lawton is clearly a loving father. Perhaps if Batman was apprehending an abusive parent, then he might use the “take a good look” line, but surely not toward a man who uses his merc money to provide for his daughter.
The original scripted exchange makes no sense from Deadshot’s perspective either. Suicide Squad portrays Lawton as a deeply flawed but largely well-meaning father, who can’t stop letting his daughter down and hates himself for that. It makes sense that Deadshot is so desperate to avoid capture, he’d draw a gun in front of his own child. Only her physically blocking the way could deter him, and this moment of shame sets Deadshot on his redemptive arc in Suicide Squad, where saving the world and growing as a person earns a second chance to be a good father.
The theatrical version of Deadshot’s Suicide Squad arrest is far from perfect. Though Batman warns Floyd to give up quietly, any faithful depiction of Bruce Wayne would avoid involving children altogether. He could’ve simply waited for Deadshot to drop Zoe off before swinging in, rather than terrify an innocent child by creeping up on her in a dark alley. But the leaked script’s scene is even more drastically out of character, with Batman not only attacking Deadshot in view of his daughter, but weaponizing her to get inside Lawton’s head. It’s not clear whether this scene was altered in the writing process or whether it would’ve remained in the Ayer cut if not for studio intervention, but whoever softened Batman’s dialogue certainly had the right idea.