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It could've been brutal: James Gunn breaks down the much darker Suicide Squad ending we didn't get to see
James Gunn's The Suicide Squad is a brutal film when it really wants to be. This is a movie that sets up an entire cast of characters, including ones we recognize from the previous film, and slaughters them in the opening minutes, paving the way for Gunn's own version of the Squad to move forward. When you open a movie like that, you're telling the audience to expect things to get a little rough now and then, but even Gunn had to pull back on his "anyone can die" instincts at some point.
Gunn has already mentioned in previous interviews that his list of character deaths for the film was once even longer, and noted that Daniela Melchior's fan-favorite Ratcatcher 2 was actually originally on the chopping block for the ending. Just thinking about losing Ratcatcher 2, who was a key part of the film's emotional core, is rough, but in a recent interview Gunn opened up about how he would have actually killed the character off, and...well, it's worse than you might have imagined.
Speaking with Cinema Blend about the film, Gunn revealed that his original plans included Ratcatcher 2 dying brutally not during the Corto Maltese mission, but after it, as Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) assessed what her handpicked team of antiheroes had actually done at Jotunheim. Bloodsport (Idris Elba), who by the end of the film has basically come to view Ratcatcher 2 as a surrogate daughter, doesn't take this very well.
"At the very end of the movie, Ratcatcher 2 had taken the information from Jotunheim. She had smuggled in and gotten away with all of that information from Jotunheim, and the rest of the group didn't know about it," Gunn explained. "And (Amanda) Waller blew up her head, after they went back to the prison! At which point, Harley tries to talk Bloodsport -- Bloodsport’s freaking out, because he's connected to this person, like a daughter. And he's freaking out, and Harley is actually being sort of kind, in a weird way, trying to talk Bloodsport into just letting it go. But Bloodsport ends up shooting Waller in the heart with a combustible bullet and threatening to blow her up. It was sort of complicated, but it was something like that. He didn't shoot her in the heart. He shot her right below the heart with one of the exploding bullets, which we see Peacemaker using earlier in the movie. And so now she has to do what he says."
By its very nature, The Suicide Squad is meant to be the kind of adventure in which no one is safe, and you can get hit with a surprise character death around every conceivable corner. Even with that in mind, though, imagine the reaction of audiences if Task Force X actually made it home to Belle Reve, only to lose a character like Ratcatcher 2 in the final minutes. Even for Gunn, who made no secret of his all-out approach to making the film, it felt like a step too far.
"It didn't really work for me," he said. "It didn't really tell the story that I wanted to tell, which is much more about the characters’ different journeys, emotionally. And for me, really, the ending with Bloodsport petting the rat... that, to me, was the perfect ending for the movie."
So, Ratcatcher 2 got a reprieve, and David Dastmalchian's sublimely melancholy Polka-Dot Man became the last major character to die instead. It's a brutal alternate ending to think about, but it could have been worse...Gunn could have killed King Shark halfway through the movie, and then he would've really been in trouble.