Photo: foodphotoalex/Envato

Suicide Squad, based on the DC Comics team and the latest part of the company’s own attempt at a “cinematic universe,” is set to release in August as the follow-up to March’s Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The recent international Suicide Squad trailer has further built the hype, but many movie fans who don’t follow the comics might not be familiar with the Suicide Squad characters, which, with two exceptions, aren’t very well-known. However, key members of the Suicide Squad cast are quite known, including Will Smith, Margot Robbie and Jared Leto. With that in mind, here’s some info about the team prior to the Suicide Squad release date on August 5.

About the Suicide Squad

Traditionally, the Suicide Squad in the comics is a team comprised of DC Comics supervillains currently serving prison time (usually on death row), that take on dangerous black ops missions for the U.S. government in exchange for release or a reduced sentence. The team is often used as an explanation for how so many villains in the comics are able to seemingly come and go from prison as they please, and the roster is constantly changing. The team is usually led by Amanda Waller, played by Viola Davis in the Suicide Squad movie, who directs their missions and keeps them in line, usually using explosive implants and things of that nature.

About the Suicide Squad Characters

The live-action iteration of the team will feature Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) and Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), as well as Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), who many are expecting to be the breakout character since gaining popularity ever since she first appeared in Batman: the Animated Series, in 1992. Headlining the team is mainstay Deadshot, played by Will Smith, who in the film is caught between his mercenary lifestyle and love for his daughter; a bit different from his comic self, who wants to die spectacularly. Oh, and there’s one more member. . .

About the Joker

Played this time by Jared Leto, the Joker has never been a Suicide Squad member in the comics. He was likely added to the film to give it a “big name” character, as well as to play off his sidekick, Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. To get the most out of the role—and perhaps to differentiate himself from Heath Ledger’s acclaimed version—Jared Leto never broke character on set, including sending creepy gifts to castmates, including giving Robbie a live rat. He was so in-character that Will Smith claimed he never actually “met” Jared Leto during filming.

About Batman

While taking characters from across the DC Universe, the majority of this team is primarily associated with Batman, who will appear in this film, once again portrayed by Ben Affleck. While originally believed to be just a cameo explaining how Joker and/or Harley was arrested, Affleck has confirmed that the Dark Knight is actually rather important; he’s the one who captured most of the Suicide Squad in the first place and has clearly had a psychological effect on them, especially, of course, Jared Leto’s Joker.