So, it's official. Warner Bros. is releasing an Extended Cut of Suicide Squad, that controversial (but incredibly successful) supervillain blockbuster that added a wealth of supervillains-turned-superheroes to the #DCEU. To be released in December (just in time for Christmas), the Extended Cut will give us an additional 13 minutes of footage!
But given the behind-the-scenes editing drama surrounding the film, and Warner Brothers's insistence that an extended cut wouldn't be released, the very existence of this Extended Cut raises some truly tantalizing questions.
1. What Age-Rating Will This Be?
This may seem like a facetious question, but who would have predicted we'd be getting an R-rated 'Ultimate Edition' of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice? It's possible that some of the scenes that are part of the Extended Edition will be a little more mature than PG-13. For example, if they develop the abusive relationship between Jared Leto's Joker and Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, that's likely to warrant a more exclusive rating. I wouldn't be surprised if some scenes require a higher age-rating.
2. Which Extended Cut Is It?
Suicide Squad had barely been released before we started hearing about the behind-the-scenes crises that shaped the film. Spooked by the poor critical reception of Batman V Superman, Warner Bros. exec members began scrutinizing David Ayers's movie. They immediately realized that the popular trailer and the actual film had a very different tone, and so they took unusual steps to resolve the problem. They hired the company who made the trailers, Trailer Park, to help produce a different cut of the actual movie. After testing the two versions with audiences in Southern California, they essentially stitched the two versions together.
That's why Suicide Squad is so mismatched, with some characters introduced no less than three times. It's because there were multiple versions, and the studio (in its wisdom) chose to use them all.
So that raises an awkward question: which Extended Cut will we get? Will we see more of David Ayers's darker vision, or will we get Trailer Park's fun-and-games version?
3. How Have They Chosen Which Material to Release?
“I think that I brought so much to the table in every scene that it was probably more about filtering all of the insanity, because I wanted to give a lot of options, and I think there’s probably enough footage in this film for a Joker movie.”
In another interview, he quipped, “Were there any scenes that didn’t get cut?”
If the cuts were half as severe as Leto implied, then why are we only getting an extra 13 minutes? How did Warner Bros. decide which scenes to include in the Extended Cut, and which to leave on the editing room floor?
4. Which Joker Will Be Canon?
One particular aspect of Suicide Squad was heavily edited; the relationship between the #Joker and #HarleyQuinn. From various clips and comments that were released as teasers for the film, we know that the relationship was originally presented as much more toxic. It lifted scenes and concepts from Mad Love, the graphic novel that told Harley's backstory, and showed the Joker as seriously abusive.
The finished version, though, was toned down quite a bit — to the extent that the Joker and Harley are being seen by many cinemagoers as a cute couple. It seems pretty clear that these edits were a deliberate attempt to tone down the elements of abuse and violence in Harley's history with the Joker.
That leaves Warner Bros. with a problem. Fans are particularly desperate for more of Jared Leto's Joker, but giving them those scenes will fundamentally alter the dynamic between Harley and the Joker. With future films certain to explore this relationship —and Harley Quinn getting her own spin-off — we would essentially have two slightly different versions of the relationship existing in the same universe. Will we wind up with an Extended Edition that isn't considered to be canon?
5. Will The Flow of the Film Survive?
David Ayers has insisted that this isn't going to be a Director's Cut.
“We have a chunk, there’s definitely over 10 minutes of material on there. But this cut of a movie is my cut, there’s no sort of parallel universe version of the movie, there released movie is my cut. And that’s one of the toughest things about writing, shooting, and directing a film, is you end up with these orphans and you fucking love them and you think they’d be amazing scenes and do these amazing things but the film is a dictatorship [laughs], not a democracy, and just because something’s cool and charismatic doesn’t mean it gets to survive in the final cut. The flow of the movie is the highest master.”
Think about his wording, though. In his view, the reason some of this content was cut is because "the flow of the movie is the highest master". In other words, these scenes hampered the film's flow.
Critics already lambasted Suicide Squad because of its choppy editing. According to Ayers, putting these scenes back into the film as part of the Extended Edition will actually make that worse. With Batman V Superman, the Ultimate Edition redeemed the film, correcting a lot of the issues seen in the theatrical cut. If David Ayers is right, this Extended Edition may actually do the opposite.
- Suicide Squad and Fantastic Four: Two Cautionary Tales for Studios
- Harley Quinn: Good or Evil? More Like "It's Complicated"
- Jared Leto on 'Suicide Squad' - "F*** 'em". Is DC Film About to Lose its Joker?
It's exciting to get a chance to get to see some of the scenes that were edited out, but I have to admit that I'm approaching the Suicide Squad Extended Edition with caution. It will be very easy for this to backfire, and actually irritate fans rather than excite them. For now, though, I'm happy to wait and see.
Are you excited about the Extended Edition?
All images: Warner Bros.