Idris Elba is the kind of actor who only plays cool characters. He has secured a leading role in one of DC’s upcoming flicks, The Suicide Squad, only his character has yet to be confirmed. Director James Gunn has teased some very subtle hints to the identity of the character he will be playing, but again, no confirmation. This has got us fans very curious, as it was initially confirmed that Elba would be replacing Will Smith for the role of Deadshot due to Smith’s scheduling conflicts. However, Gunn later revealed that Elba would be playing a new character so Smith can reprise his role as Deadshot in the future. Personally, I like this decision, because I very much enjoyed Smith as Deadshot.
On the other hand, Gunn’s decision made me wonder if a Suicide Squad movie can work without the presence of Deadshot, considering he has often been the central character of almost every Suicide Squad comic. It’s a bold move on Gunn’s part, but a director of his caliber can make it work. How exactly can he make it work? Well, Idris Elba could’ve been cool as Deadshot, but since that character has already been taken, there are plenty more characters much more suitable for him.
When I say Idris Elba only plays “cool characters,” I mean the type of characters that fit his acting prowess. He’s got a deep, distinctive voice and a very imposing stature, giving a considerable edge to his characters. Sure, he has played an average guy on occasion, but mostly plays the tough guys. If he’s gonna play someone in The Suicide Squad, his character is going to have to be more than tough enough. After all, it’s a film about the Suicide Squad and in that squad, their members tend to die quite often. I have no doubt that Elba can deliver that toughness through his acting chops, but I just need to know which character he’ll be playing. In fact, we all do, so let’s do some digging.
Some leaked set photos and videos from the set of The Suicide Squad have revealed some details hinting at the identity of Elba’s character. Based on the costume he is wearing in the videos, it appears that Elba might be playing the antihero known as Vigilante. In the comics, Vigilante has some similarities to Daredevil, as he is a lawyer by day and a vigilante by night. The difference between them is that Vigilante’s crusade against crime is much more violent than Daredevil’s. This makes him a bit more relatable to The Punisher, except Vigilante’s story only ends in tragedy. His brutal war on crime eventually caused his fragile mind to break and led him to commit suicide. He’s a tragic antihero and just might be the character Elba will be playing.
While Vigilante is a cool character, I personally don’t believe he’s the character Elba should be playing. Vigilante simply isn’t popular enough to be a leading character in The Suicide Squad movie. He doesn’t come close to Deadshot’s fame or his leadership skills to lead the Squad. On top of that, Idris Elba is too big of an actor to get such a minor DC character to play as. I won’t analyze the leaked set videos any further, because they might be true. They also might not show the complete truth, which just might be why Gunn hasn’t revealed his role yet. It feels a lot like a guessing game, but it’s one I’m willing to play.
As soon as Idris Elba was announced for The Suicide Squad, one particular DC character came to mind: the antihero called Bronze Tiger. He’s a fairly grounded comic character with uncanny abilities in marital arts. If you’re not convinced, just know that he beat up Batman. Yes, that is correct, he beat the Batman in physical combat. How many villains accomplished that? Very few, and Bronze Tiger is one of them. He served as a secret agent, infiltrating the League of Assassins, and lost his fiancee as a result.
Bronze Tiger is a character who is a slave to his demons, but unlike other villains, he wishes to be free of them. This makes him a compelling character and he’s exactly the kind of character I believe Idris Elba can pull off. Elba has the acting chops to play a tragic character and above all else, he’s got the physicality to match Bronze Tiger. Elba has played many tough guys throughout his career and Bronze Tiger can be his toughest character ever. Again, he’s a martial arts expert, which is his ultimate “super power” and that alone makes him a formidable character. As far as his history with the Suicide Squad goes, he was among the first to be recruited. The critical difference between him and his other squad members was that he actually had a code of honor.
He followed orders, sometimes served as a leader to the squad, and even went out of his way to save his fellow squad members, even if he thought they were despicable. Unlike the rest of the squad, he didn’t commit any unnecessary killing. These character traits made him the “good” member of the squad, largely separating him from the other ruthless criminals. Yes, he was still violent, but he killed when he had to, not just for kicks. This is why Bronze Tiger must be the character Idris Elba plays in the movie. He has a larger moral compass than Deadshot, has better leadership capabilities, and a far superior combatant. If Gunn plans to kill off Rick Flagg (no major loss), Bronze Tiger can take his place as team leader. He’s got the collected calmness to lead and the fighting skills to back it up.
I honestly just can’t see Idris Elba playing anyone else besides Bronze Tiger. A character like him is the perfect balance to the squad’s heavy rogue membership. The way I see Elba playing him is a troubled antihero with a damaged psyche, but still has a conscience. Will he get along with his fellow squad members? Probably not, but he finds some kind of redemption by serving with them and even trying to save them. His journey to fulfill that redemption would be Bronze Tiger’s main motivation to survive. He might not agree with Amanda Waller’s methods, but he’ll still complete the mission due to his code of honor. Maybe his actions will cause one or two of the squad members to change their ways?
Bronze Tiger is just an interesting character of odd contradictions. Deadshot had his daughter as his redeeming quality, but Bronze Tiger lacks that. However, what Deadshot lacked was a desire to be free from his demons. Bronze Tiger wants nothing more than to quell the darkness inside him and take control of his own destiny. It won’t be an easy path for him, but he can walk that path in The Suicide Squad. This is everything we need to see from Idris Elba if he plays the character in The Suicide Squad. It’s a performance I’d be looking forward to and one that Elba can thrive on.
James Gunn won’t confirm it and no other site has hinted at it, but this character is right for him. I’m willing to wait and see if Elba will be playing him, because if he does, then the DCEU will of gained a great character.