Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

James Gunn Finally Confirms The Suicide Squad's True Villain

Contains spoilers for "The Suicide Squad"

Just minutes into "The Suicide Squad," a group of antiheroes including Savant (Michael Rooker), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Javelin (Flula Borg), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and others storm the beach of a forested island called Corto Maltese. Shortly after their arrival, Blackguard (Pete Davidson) reveals that he made a deal with the military faction against whom their squad was sent to battle. However, his betrayal is simply met with another betrayal, and not only is he killed but the entirety of their attacking force save for Harley Quinn and Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) dies before their mission can properly commence. (Technically Weasel also survives, as was revealed in the movie's post-credits scene.)

This scene introduces the might of the Corto Maltese government, which later turns out to be housing and experimenting on Starro the Conqueror, a giant alien starfish. A second Suicide Squad, comprised of Bloodsport (Idris Elba), Peacemaker (John Cena), King Shark (Sylvester Stallone), Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian), and Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior) is tasked with putting an end to the threat posed by Corto Maltese's stewardship of Starro.

Though the final battle in "The Suicide Squad" pits the titular team against Starro the Conqueror, James Gunn confirmed on a recent podcast appearance that neither Starro nor the Corto Maltesean regime is the true villain of film. That distinction belongs to the United States government.

The U.S. government is behind everything

In an appearance on the Script Apart podcast, host Al Horner asked "The Suicide Squad" writer and director James Gunn about what he perceived to be a more critical portrayal of the United States in his film than audiences typically see in a big-budget release. He cited Gunn describing both government representative Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) and the U.S. at large as the film's real villains.

"Is it more critical or is it just realistic? We've been unfairly involved in smaller cultures for a long time. This is just another example of that," Gunn replied.

Prior to the timeline of the film, politician Silvio Luna (Juan Diego Botto) and military Major General Mateo Suárez (Joaquín Cosío) take over Corto Maltese from its previous rulers. As the Suicide Squad finds out, this predicated their arrival because the U.S. government was working with the prior regime, whereas the new Corto Maltesean leaders resent the United States. The U.S. government, in fact, bankrolled the island's research into Starro. When the alien — angry after being held for decades in a facility against her will — is unleashed, Waller simply orders the Suicide Squad to walk away and let Starro wreak havoc on the island, in effect ridding the U.S. of the politically problematic nation of Corto Maltese.

Gunn does describe both Corto Maltesean governments as "terrible," but it's the U.S. that shoulders blame both for collaborating with the island's prior leadership, and later intending to wash its hands of the destruction caused by the giant starfish alien it funded. In the end, The Suicide Squad is heroic not just for defeating a powerful alien, but for defying the orders of Waller and the nefarious aims of the United States.