Writer/director James Gunn confirms that the newly released The Suicide Squad is indeed set in the mainline DC Extended Universe. The film sees Amanda Waller recruiting a new roster of criminals for her Task Force X, also known as the Suicide Squad, with heading to the fictional South American island of Corto Maltese and destroying the Nazi-era laboratory Jotunheim and all traces of a mysterious Project Starfish. Some of the new characters introduce in the film include David Dastmalchian’s Polka-Dot Man, John Cena’s Peacemaker, Daniela Melchior’s Ratcatcher 2, Idris Elba’s Bloodsport, Sylvester Stallone’s King Shark and Peter Capaldi’s The Thinker.
Alongside the newcomers, The Suicide Squad features the returns of Viola Davis as Waller, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang and Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag. Despite these returns, the film has frequently been described by Gunn and the cast as a standalone follow-up to David Ayer’s similarly titled 2016 effort, never directly addressing it but not retconning it either. With this uncertainty leaving some audiences perplexed as to where the film sits in the timeline of the Warner Bros. franchise, the Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker has offered a bit of clarity that may assist some.
While chatting with Collider for the film, Gunn was asked about the setting of The Suicide Squad in regards to the larger DCEU canon. Though unable to offer any confirmations regarding ties to Henry Cavill’s Superman, Gunn did state the film is set in the mainline universe and referenced two key films and characters as connections for his film. See what Gunn said below:
“It is the DCEU. So it’s whatever the DCEU is today with Aquaman and The Flash and everything else, that’s where The Suicide Squad is. So that is what it is. [Whether it is tied to Henry Cavill’s Superman], that’s outside of my realm of knowledge.”
Though his lips may be sealed on the Cavill-Superman conundrum currently plaguing DCEU fans — and WB themselves — the confirmation that The Suicide Squad is set in the mainline DCEU should come as a happy note for fans. Given the film’s very loose ties with the larger franchise, aside from a continued growth in Harley following her breakup from The Joker in Birds of Prey, it’s certainly understandable that many might have contemplated the possibility that it is set on another Earth. Additionally, with The Flash primed to introduce the concept of the multiverse to DCEU audiences, some may have pondered the possibility that Gunn’s film was an even subtler introduction for it.
That being said, there is certainly enough evidence in The Suicide Squad to suggest that the film is both set in the mainline DCEU and after the events of its predecessor. Between Harley’s ongoing evolution and her and Captain Boomerang‘s subtle references to their past working with each other and Flag, it’s pretty clear the film is essentially a sequel to Ayer’s work. The biggest point of curiosity will now be what consequences the story holds for the larger DCEU moving forward, which will first be seen when Gunn’s spin-off series Peacemaker premieres on HBO Max in January.