Since the Suicide Squad trailers started premiering, there has been a lot of attention on Harley Quinn (totally understandable) and the Joker. But the cast is a lot wider than that, and now that the movie is finally out, we can take a look at one of the most interesting characters starring in it: Deadshot, aka Floyd Lawton.
Aside from being played by Will Smith, potentially one of the coolest guys on the planet, this character has a lot going for him. He has an interesting backstory, and the fact that he is nothing more than a human with super talented skills – not a superhero in any way – really makes him very exciting. Just like Batman, this is a guy who relies on his physical prowess as well as his high-end gadgets to go up against superpowered enemies and even gods. That’s no mean feat, especially for an on-again off-again villain.
That’s not the only interesting thing about Deadshot, however – and there are at least 15 facts that you probably don’t know about him. You’ve seen the movie, so now get to know the character a little better. Prepare to gain a lot more respect for Deadshot and get excited for the next time we get to see him on screen.
15. His Original Version
When he first came into comic books in the 1950s, Deadshot was – perhaps predictably – completely different to how he is today. He wore a blue tuxedo complete with top hat and a small mask across the upper half of his face, and he was more of a gunslinger than a sniper, shooting with a pair of pistols. He was also white, and not much was known about his backstory. That changed in 1988 with a mini-series by John Ostrander which gave him a family and a troubled past – half of that family being killed off in 2005 by Christos N. Gage. The version we currently know only came about in the New 52 series after Flashpoint. Well, the version we know in the comic books, at least. We’ll get on to how even that one is different from the movie version a little bit further down the list.
14. His First Time On Screen
When Will Smith stepped onto the set as Deadshot, he made cinematic history. This is the first time that Deadshot has been portrayed on the silver screen, though not the first time in live action. He has previously appeared on television in recent years in various different guises – in Smallville, for example, he was a cowboy marksman wearing a duster. He has also shown up in Arrow in a more traditional version, and actually teamed up with some fellow Suicide Squad members there. In The Flash, they managed to destroy the character completely so far by making him a police officer who can’t shoot a gun – albeit with the excuse that they were in a topsy-turvy upside down version of our reality, which seems like a fairly lame way to get a rise out of the character. Looks like Smith has the definitive version on our screens for now.
13. He Has Near-Perfect Accuracy
How many times would you say most heroes or villains miss their marks? For villains the percentage has to be a lot higher, for certain, because of all of those pesky superheroes getting in the way. But in Deadshot’s history, he has been known to be off-target only once in his life. That’s right – his accuracy is so high that he has only missed a shot on the single occasion when Batman managed to knock him off-target. This was not even a total miss, as he still managed to give his target a flesh wound – he simply failed to kill them as intended, which counts as total failure in his book. Given that he has no superpowers, this makes his marksmanship all the more impressive. It also serves to explain why he has such a fearsome reputation among heroes and villains alike – even the ones that do have powers and should logically be able to defeat him easily.
12. His Allegiance Changes Often
Most characters tend to be straight villains or heroes, and it’s only rarely that they make the switch from one side to the other. When they do, it also tends to be permanent. Deadshot is a character that has bounced around from one side to the other on a frequent basis, however: he started out as a hero who would shoot his opponents in non-lethal locations to disable them, but he quickly switched to the dark side and started going up against Batman. In fact, he was only introduced in the first issue to be a placeholder while Batman was “gone” (a ruse which quickly dissolved, as there was no way the writers would kill off their prized hero). He has been a supervillain, but also a villain-for-hire as in the Suicide Squad. His allegiance can be bought with money very easily, so it’s no wonder he switches sides so frequently.
11. His Leadership Is Impressive
So Deadshot gets chosen as the leader of the Suicide Squad in the comics. So what? Well, actually, it’s pretty impressive that he even made it that far. In the comics, he faced a much bloodier path to heading up the squad than simply being chosen. After serving for a short while, he then had to reclaim leadership from Black Manta by taking him out, after he turned villain. He’s the longest-serving leader and has lead all kinds of line-ups, both before and after the New 52. All this – and he doesn’t even have superpowers. Seriously, that takes skill. He’s by far the most impressive leader the Squad sees, even including Amanda Waller herself. He has an ability to manage all of the other villains in the line-up with his cool demeanor and ability to threaten even superpowered individuals, which keeps them toeing the line even when they really don’t want to.
10. He Has Another Team
So Deadshot is dedicated to the Suicide Squad, right? Well… maybe not, considering that he’s also part of another team on the side. The “Secret Six” is a team of villains who all band together to take on secret missions, just like the Squad. However, the Six normally work for other villains rather than helping out the good guys. They also have a leader called Mockingbird, an anonymous mantle normally taken up by other characters (including Amanda Waller, who apparently also likes to play both sides). This leader might give them any kind of mission, good or evil, and they normally take it without question so long as the price is right. Deadshot isn’t the leader here, but rather follows orders from whoever is in charge at the time – a mantle which has shifted several times, with the group also self-governing in-between leaders. They’re more traditional bad guys than the Squad.
9. He Has A Death Wish
Deadshot tends to make risky decisions, and doesn’t seem to care whether he lives or dies at all. In fact, he often goes far towards the other direction, seeming to prefer death out of the two options. He has even shot himself on multiple occasions to achieve a goal, and has died several times in the New 52 canon. Thankfully for fans, each of these deaths is followed by Amanda Waller reviving him, not that she gets any thanks for it. He killed himself to be able to take out a terrorist ringleader at the same time, and was also murdered in cold blood by the Unknown Soldier. Both of those occasions saw him being revived, only to look very disappointed on finding out that this was the case. It’s not clear where his death wish comes from, but it definitely makes him even more of a ruthless killer and fighter.
8. He Was Combined With Bullseye
26 years after Deadshot hit the comic book shelves, he was followed by Marvel’s Bullseye, with whom he shares many similarities. They are both very accurate marksmen, with Bullseye being able to use almost any object as a projectile. When Amalgam comics merged DC and Marvel timelines, they called him Deadeye, making him a mix of both characters. He has Deadshot’s equipment, Bullseye’s adamantium reinforced bones, and the marksmanship of both, making him a super-assassin. It’s telling that there is very little difference to the character once the combination is made. DC definitely got there first, however, with Bullseye being little more than a rip-off. There is a long history of this kind of rivalry between the two brands, with several characters being quite obvious ploys to try to get readers of one character to switch over to the other label. This can also lead to confusion between fans as to who is who!
7. He’s Been Physical With Harley
And yes, we do mean it in that way. Harley may be dedicated to her “Mista J”, but that doesn’t mean she can’t bump uglies with any other character, and she definitely has an appreciation for Deadshot. She makes the first move in the New 52 canon, telling him she was interested while he initially rebuffed her. Later, though, they end up having a physical relationship, which Harley exploits to make the Joker jealous. When she tries to call Floyd her “puddin’”, he tells her that he’s only interested in the physical side of things. They switch between flirting and hitting each other on a regular basis after that, though where Harley is concerned things are never quite as simple as that. Sometimes they take a real turn for the crazy, as we’re about to see in the next entry – but that’s just what you get for messing with a psycho girl.
6. He Wore The Joker’s Face
At one point, the Joker had his face cut off. Because of course he did. It didn’t actually kill him, of course, but in the meantime that face of his was just sitting around all unused. Harley managed to break in and grab that piece of skin that had been cut off, all in one piece. Given the entry above, you can imagine what someone as deranged as Harley would decide to do with it next. That’s right: she kidnapped Deadshot (while he was supposed to be putting her in custody) and tied him up, and then put the Joker’s face on top of his. Both of her lovers in one body – how wonderful! He ends up having to play along and pretend like he is the Joker until he can escape, which he manages to do by shooting her in the stomach. Because, again, of course. She survives and it becomes one more tale of their messy relationship.
5. He Had A Son
Floyd Lawton had a son in his original backstory, and he was killed in a pretty brutal way. Sodomised and murdered by Wes Anselm, he is ripped out of Deadshot’s life – only for Deadshot to later discover that he also has a daughter. This explains his dedication to the child despite the fact that she grows up away from him – he simply can’t face losing her as well after his son’s death. The son has been removed from his backstory in the New 52 era, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t still up a writer’s sleeve somewhere. It also gives a heart-wrenching twist to Deadshot’s backstory and motivations. In many ways, it allows his character to relate to Batman all the more, since Robin’s death at the hands of The Joker does echo this for readers. But why does he hate Batman so much anyway? Read on to find out…
4. He Had A Brother
Also deep in his past is the fact that he had a brother, who he idolized, and an abusive father. It has been speculated that his attachment to Rick Flag as a leader is because of the fact that he looks up to him as a brother. Conversely, this influences also leads him to hate Batman with a passion. Because he also equates Batman with his brother, he is unable to kill him. This makes him hate him more than ever, knowing that he cannot take down his main nemesis no matter how much he interferes in his work. In his first incarnation he also took over Batman’s position as protector of Gotham, which would strengthen that big brother feeling all the more. When your enemy turns out to be the embodiment of someone that you used to love dearly, it’s easy to see how those feelings of hate could be amplified so much more.
3. His Passion Is Money
Although he loves his daughter and would go to great lengths to protect her, Floyd actually has one motivator which is even bigger: money. When Batman threatens to kill his family in revenge for an assassination, Floyd barely bats an eyelid, and is still determined to go along with his plan. But when Batman freezes his client’s account, preventing his payment from being transferred, Deadshot finally lets his mark escape with his life and calls off the hit. He had correctly guessed that Batman was bluffing – the caped crusader would never murder innocents just to make a point, and Floyd knew that. It was only when the threat of his money being taken away was made that he finally gave in. The message is clear: if he’s on the side of the good guys for now, it’s only because they are paying well enough. The second that revenue stream stops, he will be back on the prowl for his next assassination mission.
2. He’s Usually White
The casting of Will Smith came across as a little controversial to some fans, not least because the actor is normally known for playing more family-friendly roles. The main issue that a lot of people had is the fact that Deadshot, in every single incarnation up to now, has been white. It’s an interesting choice to change his race for the film, and it seems a lot of peoples’ fears for the character were assuaged once they got to see it. It also makes up for the lack of racial diversity in DC’s line-up, which contrasts very obviously to the latest round of Marvel films coming soon, with characters like Black Panther, Falcon, and War Machine. But then again, maybe it was just meant to distract us from the fact that they rejigged Enchantress as an ancient Mayan (or somewhere approximate) and then kept her other form as a white actress.
1. He’ll Be Back
While we can only speculate for the moment about what is coming next, we do know that we are going to be seeing a lot more of Will Smith as Deadshot. He has signed a multi-film deal to appear as the character, with speculation almost certain that he will be appearing in the recently confirmed Suicide Squad 2 (after all, how could he not?). Beyond that, we will have to see how many more pictures they decide to put him in – but if he proves a fan favorite, we could see him taking roles in just about every DC movie to come. There are a few scheduled in already which are unnamed, leaving us to speculate about whether any of them might focus on a particular Squad member and their backstories – almost all of which Deadshot could easily slot into, even if just for a cameo or two.