By now, it has become apparent that Suicide Squad was a very different kind of film before it made its way to the big screen. Plenty of information has come out about the numerous changes David Ayer had to make to his superhero film. Many of those changes had to do with decreasing some of the darker elements of the script. Most notably, the twisted relationship between the Joker and Harley Quinn was heavily reconfigured. A lot of the criticisms about the film have come from its incongruent feel, but even these criticisms haven’t stopped fans from embracing the movie.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get to see what the film could have looked like.
“Don’t Call It A Comeback”
David Ayer has maintained that the theatrical version of Suicide Squad is his director’s cut. It’s possible that this is true. However, it’s equally possible that Ayer is a smart businessman and doesn’t want to tarnish his reputation with the studio by claiming that they put out a compromised version of the movie. Remember Josh Trank? Shortly after Fantastic Four, he sent out a tweet that implied his version of the film was disassembled by the studio. It was a poor move – regardless of the honesty – that cost him dearly. If Trank had played nice, he may have been given an opportunity to release his cut of the movie at some point.
But, if Warner Bros. has to keep up the idea of Suicide Squad‘s theatrical cut as Ayer’s preferred version, it would be bad PR for them to release a cut that undermines the product they’ve already released. So, instead of labeling a home release as a director’s cut or Ultimate Edition, simply title it the Alternate or Extended Version. Fans will be eager to consume a new take on the story, and Warner Bros. will rake in the cash from all the sales. However, there is one big problem stopping this…
“Conform Or Be Cast Out”
Ever since the Marvel Cinematic Universe took off, we have seen the concept of alternate cuts fade away. That has a lot to do with the idea of continuity that a cinematic universe leans on. Canon becomes crucial to these films and putting out conflicting versions of a story creates discord among fans. Which version is the “true” one? Marvel has been notoriously tight-fisted with their home video releases, only allowing deleted scenes compilations instead of extended cuts.
Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is the first superhero shared universe film to get an official extended edition. Warner Bros. set a precedent with that release that is more filmmaker friendly. “Hey, make our superhero movies and we’ll let you put out two cuts!” Granted, that likely had to do with Zack Snyder’s incredible clout over at Warner Bros., but it’s a practice that could help make DC feel unique in contrast to Marvel. Film fans love various edits of their favorite films. Heck, there’s a copy of Blade Runner sitting on my shelf that has five different versions of the film available to watch! If DC actually wants their comic book films to be filmmaker-driven, they should allow the directors to put out new takes on their films.
“I Want It All”
As someone who actually enjoyed Suicide Squad, it’s been tough to see the overly harsh dismissal the film has received. If an alternate version could sway some of that opinion, it’d make this fan extremely happy. Honestly, there’s also a selfishness to this desire. Being a fan makes you want to dive deep into the things you love. A different take on Suicide Squad would be welcome not only as some perceived course correction but simply as more Suicide Squad for fans to devour. If DC was smart, they would recognize this opportunity and exploit it.
Suicide Squad isn’t the travesty many have made it out to be, but it’s clear that we could have received a different take on the film. If Warner Bros. did release that different take, it would draw in the curious and the devoted in equal measure. Let’s hope we get to see that Suicide Squad one day.