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What Is James Gunn’s Suicide Squad About? Jotunheim and the New Mission, Explained


The first footage from James Gunn‘s The Suicide Squad has been a lot to take in, between the explosions, the “bag-of-dicks” banter, and the general presence of a man-shark with the voice of Sylvester Stallone. It’s easy to not even notice we…don’t really know what the movie is about, besides a group of DC Comics villains—some familiar from 2016’s Suicide Squad, some not—being brought together by Viola Davis‘ Amanda Waller. (Also, a lot of them are going to die.) Luckily, when Collider visited the film’s Atlanta set back in 2019, we got a few more details on Gunn’s truly wild plot, which involves mystical islands, Nazi experiments, and a sky-scraping spire known as Jotunheim.

The Suicide Squad - Starro

Image via Warner Bros.

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Here’s what producer Peter Safran said during a roundtable interview:

“It is a classic Amanda Waller [situation] putting together, in this case, a couple of groups and sending them off on a mission. It involves Jotunheim, and they’re sent to basically destroy Jotunheim. There’s been a military coup on the island of Corto Maltese and the Herrera family, who’ve ruled as dictators for 100 years, have been overthrown by this military coup. Amanda Waller wants to make sure that Jotunheim, which is a scientific research prison, is destroyed before the military coup realizes what’s inside it, before the leaders of the coup realize what’s inside it.”

The area around Jotunheim—recently blasted to bits, by the look of it—is one of the sets we got an opportunity to see in person, and I cannot stress enough how hard this production went in constructing a practical set. I walked through a mile of rubble and debris toward the base of the tower (passing a few overturned Jeeps on the way), a stone-grey dais roughly the size of your average arena stage set-up. The interior, over on another area of Pinewood Studios, looks even larger, a cavernous mess of downed pillars and walls where we watched Gunn tell his cast, repeatedly, “the room starts shaking,” to let them know something very, very large was on its way.


During a roundtable interview, production designer Beth Mickle repeatedly emphasized the importance from day one the crew put on practical sets.

“Jotunheim [is] where much of the movie takes place. It’s an old Nazi fortress that’s on this mythical island, Corto Maltese, in South America. [W]e built literally three football fields of a set and that’s so unusual in this day and age. You just never do that. And it was because we wanted to have real rubble behind them in the battle sequences, and we wanted to see the building that they’re attacking. So for that scene to be existing in a film today is just highly unusual. And we’ve done that set and then a dozen others of that scale, so it’s incredible.”

Be on the lookout for more dispatches from The Suicide Squad set, including new details on King Shark, its connections to David AyersSuicide Squad, and more. The Suicide Squad hits theaters and HBO Max on August 6th.

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