The DC Universe has gone through quite a few evolutions in recent years, with new creatives stepping in to put their stamp on DC’s iconic heroes and villains. Over the past year, audiences began to get a taste of James Gunn’s take on the universe, first through The Suicide Squad and through its HBO Max television spinoff, Peacemaker. Both projects, which were well-received by critics and fans alike, utilized characters that comic fans probably never expected to see onscreen — leaving some eager to see who Gunn could focus on next in his future DC projects.
Late last month, it was announced that Gunn and producer Peter Safran have signed on to co-lead DC Studios, overseeing the vast majority of film and television projects inspired by DC’s comics. In addition to this larger role, Gunn has confirmed that he’s still working on a second season of Peacemaker, as well as an additional spinoff, which would take a different tone than the former show. Reports in recent months have begun to hint at what the project could entail, including the possibility of Viola Davis reprising her role as Amanda Waller in an HBO Max-exclusive series produced by Gunn and Safran. While we still don’t know much about Gunn’s second television series — much less if Waller is involved with it — here are ten characters we think would be awesome picks for his next live-action ensemble.
One of the biggest scene-stealers of The Suicide Squad was Cleo Cazo / Ratcatcher II (Daniela Melchior), a legacy, rodent-controlling antihero who ends up becoming a profound part of the film’s emotional core. With the news that Gunn is already working with Melchior again on next year’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, fans definitely want to see them collaborate on another DC project — especially given how much narrative potential Cleo still has.
While Cleo does not yet exist in the pages of DC’s comics, it’s incredibly easy to imagine her joining forces with a team like the Secret Six or the Birds of Prey, or even going out on her own adventures.
Another character that’s easy to imagine on Ratcatcher II’s adventures — or on whatever wild plot the show has in store — is Nanaue / King Shark (Sylvester Stallone and Steve Agee). A giant man-shark hybrid, King Shark was a major highlight of The Suicide Squad, with a delightful comedic timing and dynamic with other characters.
As countless comics, the Harley Quinn animated series, and even The Flash‘s television show have proved, there’s definitely a lot of narrative potential with King Shark, and a lot more heads for him to bite off.
Rounding out The Suicide Squad veterans would could be options for the spinoff is Gaius Grieves / The Thinker (Peter Capaldi), who Gunn seemed to hint that he has “big plans” for in a tweet earlier this summer. Of course, there is the caveat of Grieves having brutally and clearly been killed by Starro in the third act of the film, meaning that anything involving him would either need to be a prequel to the events of The Suicide Squad, or concern an alternate version of The Thinker.
Either way, fans probably would not be opposed to seeing more of Capaldi in the DC Universe.
Now, let’s get into some of the characters that Gunn considered for The Suicide Squad, who ultimately did not make it into the finished film. One of the weirdest names on that list is Liam Hawkleigh / Gunhawk, an Army sniper who becomes a foe of Batman’s alongside his girlfriend, Gunbunny.
Depending on what shape Gunn’s new television series could take, Gunhawk and Gunbunny would be the kind of bizarre deep cuts to fold into it — even if they ultimately ended up being cannon fodder.
Another character on that list of almost-The Suicide Squad cast members was Killer Frost, an anti-hero who already has a unique following thanks to The Flash television show. Three characters have held the mantle over the years — Crystal Frost, Louise Lincoln, and Caitlin Snow — and each bring their own unique backstory and personality.
Even after a near-decade of the character appearing on The Flash television show, the idea of Gunn putting his stamp on Killer Frost feels inspired, especially if she’s a member of a Suicide Squad-esque team.
A third surprising name on Gunn’s list was Knockout, a beloved former Female Fury who gets a second act on Earth. Over the years, Knockout operates as both an antihero and a more traditional villain, becoming a key member of the Secret Six and sparking a romance with fellow team member Scandal Savage.
Knockout is another character that Gunn could potentially have an inspired approach to, regardless of whatever context she might appear in.
If the first season of Peacemaker didn’t make it clear, Gunn has a unique approach to the heroes and villains from the near-timeless world of Charlton Comics, the characters of which were later folded into DC’s publishing arsenal. One of the lesser-known members of that roster is Sarge Steel, a hardboiled private eye who later becomes a key figure in the government’s handling of superheroes.
Fans had already theorized that Sarge Steel could be waiting in the wings of Peacemaker, as the conspiracy of Project Butterfly began to grow and involve more branches of government. Either way, Sarge Steel would be an excellent supporting character for whatever plot Gunn has in store.
Continuing the thread of Charlton characters who have yet to make their live-action debut, Captain Atom might be one of the most memorable — and complicated. Also known as Allen Adam or Nathaniel Adam, the latter is an Air Force pilot who gets subjected to science experiments that give him a wide array of superpowers, including the manipulation of atomic energy.
Captain Atom is one of those characters that is largely woefully unused in DC’s media — but it wouldn’t be impossible to imagine Gunn righting that wrong, and branching out the live-action Charlton mythos in the process.
Despite a version of him appearing on Arrow for several seasons, Michael Holt / Mr. Terrific is one of those characters with a lot left unexplored in live-action. The genius engineer and Olympic athlete, who succeeded the original Mr. Terrific, Terry Sloan, has factored into DC’s comics in countless ways. This includes being a member of the Justice Society of America, founding the Fantastic Four-esque group The Terrifics — and being part of the global handling of superheroes as a high-ranking member of Checkmate.
While Mr. Terrific might seem like a more heroic character than many of the ones Gunn has brought to the screen thus far, that’s what makes the idea of him handling his DCU debut all the more exciting. Plus, Gunn also did recently tweet out his praise for DC’s recent Strange Adventures maxiseries — which just so happens to feature Mr. Terrific as a major character.
We know Gunn loves turning a CGI-heavy character into a standout, whether through Groot and Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy or Weasel in The Suicide Squad. Another one that could join that list, and be quite a deep cut in the process, is G.I. Robot. Initially debuting in DC’s war books, the character has been reimagined multiple times over the years, both as a robotic soldier fighting of his own volition, and later as a pawn used by Lex Luthor.
While he might not be as cuddly as Rocket or Weasel, G.I. Robot is the kind of off-the-wall character who would thrive in a Gunn-helmed project. Just imagine Gunn’s brother, Sean Gunn, performing the mo-crap for the character.
What characters do you hope appear in James Gunn’s new DC show? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!