Colonel Richard “Rick” Rogers Flag Jr. Before his untimely demise at the hands of Peacemaker, the Task Force X leader was a U.S. Army colonel and special operations forces specialist. Unlike many of the names in the DC canon, Flag’s backstory is more straightforward and in the vein of a more traditional war hero story. It’s not exactly unique to do a war story about a veteran, though, under the superhero guise, there’s so much potential in playing with history when it comes to Rick Flag’s character. Now, the money is actually focused on Flag’s time serving the army. Given the fact that the film isn’t exactly going off the origins of the comic book, which is when he was serving as a pilot during World War II, it would be best to not actually base it off the Suicide Squad character. Sure, the spin-off could use the war in Iraq as the basis of his time served, but there’s more fun in playing with the history of World War II.
Of course, the focus should be on Flag’s heroic efforts, dedicating his life to serving his country, but there are several avenues to explore when tackling this subject. Mentally, what is Flag going through? It’s understandable that his father Richard was the leader of the 194’s Suicide Squadron, so him taking a huge risk to sacrifice his life for the greater good is no surprise, but exactly how far does that lead him? Does he become scared out of his mind once he gets on the battlefield? I’m no army expert, but surely, there’s a difference in mindset once you see your fellow comrades being killed left and right. Perhaps it’s the story of a kid who quickly turns into a man? Or, the more interesting route, a soldier obsessed with proving he’s the best and goes far and beyond to win at any costs. A man who has no issues sacrificing his life, but in turn, is a huge risk to the team because of the fact that he’s such a daredevil when it comes to their objectives.
Of course, since this is a superhero film, maybe the war contains soldiers with supernatural abilities? It would be the first time that comic book property went deep in one of the central wars that rocked America, and there’s a great story to be told that can bend the rules of comic book films and open Pandora’s box into a greater universe. However, Flag doesn’t just have to be interesting on the battlefield. Perhaps his mentality on serving justice carries off the battlefield? He deals with the villains and scum of the earth (or at least in his city) by his own methods, but not in a traditional sense. Maybe he thinks Batman or Superman are the ones ruining this world in some type of twisted ideology that firmly puts him in the anti-hero/villain category? This could actually also introduce General Wade Eiling, who brainwashed Flag in the comics. There is a reason he’s apart of the Suicide Squad, granted it’s not due to the fact that he went AWOL against the traditional villains of the DC comics, but Amanda Waller is a corrupt name herself, so Flag isn’t exactly Mr. Goody Too Shoes when it comes to dealing with Task Force X. What makes him stand out is that he doesn’t have any super powers. It’s always fascinating to see how normal humans like Flag or Waller share the same world as these beings with supernatural powers.
Waller had an extremely rough life growing up so her demeanor is completely understandable, but it would be great to get a better sense of what the character thinks about his everyday life being invaded by people who isn’t like him. Flag isn’t showcased as a racist or anything of that nature, but that doesn’t mean his worldview is skewed or jaded by the corruption and violence that he has to deal with outside of the battlefield. However, it’s also not impossible to follow the Suicide Squad version of Flag’s character as well, namely the nature of his relationship with Waller and his missions in Task Force X. Waller had no issues putting him in charge of the squad who’s purpose was to pretty much die. Maybe they’re co-workers and nothing more? Perhaps Flag did something that went against Waller’s morals? It would be surprising if these two were good friends, though it would give deeper insight on Waller’s mentally when it comes to her worldview. As you can see, there’s plenty of story to tell for the leader of Task Force X. With the success of Peacemaker, hopefully Warner Brothers opens the branch to focus on other names like Flag.