James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad is finally here, and the consensus seems to be that it was worth the wait. And like Gunn’s approach to the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, he has neither completely eschewed DC Universe cameos and Easter eggs like many filmmakers like to do, nor gone all-in with wall-to-wall worldbuilding like Zack Snyder. Meeting in the middle, The Suicide Squad has a handful of Easter eggs, cameos, and hidden references, and each one is exciting to spot.
We tried to run down all of them that we could find in the first 24 hours of the film’s release. They are listed below, so feel free to let us know in the comments, or hit us up on Twitter at @russburlingame, if we missed anything major.
In The Suicide Squad, welcome to hell — a.k.a. Bell 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, including Bloodsport, Peacemaker, Captain Boomerang, Ratcatcher 2, Savant, King Shark, Blackguard, Javelin, and everyone’s favorite psycho, Harley Quinn. Then arm them heavily and drop them (literally) on the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese.
The Suicide Squad will see the return of Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Joel Kinnaman as Colonel Rick Flag, and Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang from 2016’s Suicide Squad. Joining them in the film are David Dastmalchian as Polka-Dot Man, Steve Agee as King Shark, Daniela Melchior as Ratcatcher 2, Idris Elba as Bloodsport, John Cena as Peacemaker, Nathan Fillion as T.D.K., Pete Davidson as Blackguard, Flula Borg as Javelin, Mayling Ng as Mongal, Peter Capaldi as The Thinker, Michael Rooker as Savant, Alice Braga as Sol Soria, and Sean Gunn as Weasel.
Corto Maltese, a fictional island nation created in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, is one of a handful of “stand-in” countries in the DC Universe, filling in story roles without alienating anybody who comes from a real country that they otherwise might have used in the role.
It isn’t a major setting; it’s mostly referenced more than seen, and that has been true in the Arrowverse, too.
Corto Maltese is named for an Italian comics character created by Hugo Pratt.
In the comics, Jotunheim is in Qurac, another of DC’s fictional countries (and one that gets name-dropped in the episode as the place where Rick Flag and Bloodsport served together). As in the movie, it was built by the Germans during World War II, and got wrapped up in a Suicide Squad mission that involved a local coup.
The name “Jotunheim” is a reference to the “Land of the Giants” in Norse mythology, and they claimed only a race of giants could have built it.
Originally created by legendary Suicide Squad scribe John Ostrander along with artist Luke McDonnell, John Economos (Steve Agee’s bearded ARGUS agent in the control room) is the warden of Belle Reve in the comics, and so ends up working with Waller there, too.
There were a few villains in the background of Belle Reve who were recognizable enough to be worth calling out here. One of them was Calendar Man, the villain of Batman: The Long Halloween (the second half of which will be available as an animated movie on Tuesday starring Jensen Ackles as Batman and The Suicide Squad‘s David Dastmalchian as Calendar Man.
If you missed him, he was played by James Gunn’s brother and Gilmore Girls star Sean Gunn.
Double Down, a relatively obscure villain from the DC pantheon, is a disfigured villain whose body was fused with a deck of magical cards. You might remember him from the Arrowverse, where he was played by Josie and the Pussycats veteran JR Bourne.
Jared Leland Gore, the actor who plays Double Down in The Suicide Squad, apparently also had a role as a stand-in for one of the actors on Black Adam.
The last of the background villains that stuck out at us was a woman with mutlicolored skin. We don’t know who the actress is, but if the pattern is to be believed, it appears this is the DC Films version of Crazy Quilt, a name that has a long history.
The version of Crazy Quilt who was a woman, was part of Alexander Luthor’s Secret Society of Super-Villains and later worked with the Secret Six around the same time as King Shark.
The aforementioned Suicide Squad writer John Ostrander, who helped shape the property and originated the Jotunheim mission story, is actually the sadistic doctor who can be seen placing the bomb in the base of Savant’s neck.
This is from the war room, where there’s a news broadcast on in the background from GBS.
As previously seen in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, GBS News is a Metropolis-based news network which has ties to the Daily Planet. It is also the place where Cat Grant and Jimmy Olsen worked in the ’80s, making it kind of the proto-version of CatCo in Supergirl.
Senator Joseph Cray, the man Amanda Waller is plannng to play golf with, was a recurring character from Suicide Squad #11-22 in the ’80s. He was implicated in a scandal that involved selling state secrets.
His death was particularly Suicide Squad-worthy. Having been tasked with preventing an enraged Rick Flag from killing Cray by any means necessary, Deadshot killed Cray himself rather than killing Flag, reasoning that he had certainly managed to prevent Flag from doing it.
Milton (who?) drives a van that helps get the Squad from place to place in a few scenes (and is even featured on one poster). On his keychain is a small plastic cartoon character who, if you were an American, you might mistake for the character of Nancy.
Instead, this is Mafalda, an Argentinian comic about a six-year-old girl who loves the Beatles, hates soup, and represents the middle class and progressive youth. It was created by beloved cartoonist Quino, who sadly passed away in October.
Peacemaker’s drink order actually makes a lot of sense for a South American mission.
Fernet is an Italian type of amaro, a bitter, aromatic spirit that includes herbs and spices with a base of distilled grape spirits.
(We admit freely that we’re getting all of this from Wikipedia.)
Per its Wikipedia entry, “Fernet is usually served as a digestif after a meal but may also be served with coffee and espresso or mixed into coffee and espresso drinks. It typically contains 45% alcohol by volume. It may be served at room temperature or with ice.
“The Italian liqueur has a cult following in the international bartending community and is immensely popular in Argentina. The South American country consumes more than 75% of all Fernet produced globally and because of its popularity, it has Fratelli Branca’s only distillery outside of Italy. As it is traditionally mixed with Coke, Fernet has also contributed in making Argentina one of the biggest consumers of Coca-Cola in the world. Fernet and Coke (Spanish: fernet con coca) is so ubiquitous in Argentina that it has been described as ‘the country’s unofficial drink.”http://comicbook.com/”
After a few drinks, as the Squad starts to loosen up, you can see Lloyd Kaufman, legendary schlockmeister behind Troma Films and the first studio executive to give James Gunn a job, making a cameo appearance, dancing slowly with a woman near the bar. You can see him in the photo above, just behind John Cena’s Peacemaker.