ScreenCrush’s Comic Strip is a weekly roundup of the hottest superhero movie/TV news items. From Marvel to DC and points in between, if it pertains to costumed comic book heroes, we’re covering it here, bringing you our expert analysis. This week, explore the party that is the Suicide Squad set, ponder some odd Michael Shannon comments, and parse the latest Marvel movie news.

The DC Movie Sets Sure Seem Like Fun

Lost and Game of Thrones veteran Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje recently celebrated his birthday on the set of Suicide Squad, where he is playing the hulking Batman baddie known as Killer Croc. Will Smith (who plays the villainous mercenary Deadshot) brought him a birthday cake. And then this picture happened:


Now that’s just delightful. In addition to showing off how good that practical make-up is under lighting conditions that aren’t especially cinematic, it gives us a glimpse of a film set where everyone is seemingly having a great and memorable time. And how do we know this? We know this because the cast and crew have started giving each other homemade tattoos. Seriously:

Jay Hernandez (who plays El Diablo) shared this photo on Instagram. It seems that Margot Robbie decided to start getting awfully literal with her grungy, tattooed take on Harley Quinn. This is the kind of set where everyone obviously liked each other well enough to let their co-stars ink them.

Seriously. Here is Jai Courtney (aka Captain Boomerang) showing off his prison-esque “SKWAD” tat, courtesy of Ms. Robbie. For those who don’t know, SKWAD is director David Ayer’s hashtag-friendly social media nickname for Suicide Squad.

Courtney wasn’t the only actor to let Harley Quinn write permanent words on his skin. Karen Fukuhara, who plays Katana in the film, got one as well:

And in a display of solidarity, David Ayer let himself get inked:

Joel Kinnaman (Rick Flagg) also got inked, but he let Will Smith do the dirty work. This is getting weird:

Cast members celebrating a memorable film set by getting tattoos is nothing new. A portion of the Lord of the Rings cast famously celebrated the wrap of the trilogy by getting inked. But this is a special kind of nutty. No matter how Suicide Squad turns out in the end, this was the film set where everyone shared birthday cake with actors dressed like reptile monsters and gave each other amateur tattoos when they weren’t, you know, making a multi-million doll superhero movie. Your film sets certainly sound memorable, Mr. Ayer.

While the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice set doesn’t sound like an ongoing party, Jesse Eisenberg did have plenty of nice things to say about the film’s production. In an interview with Collider, the new Lex Luthor praised director Zack Snyder for making his massive superhero epic feel intimate:

The way he shoots things – at least, insofar as my scenes were concerned – was very specifically and very simply a lot of my scenes are dialogue driven and it felt like I was on any other kind of intimate movie set. So watching that trailer for the first time, was when I really got a good sense of the overall movie, the look, and I thought it was really incredible.

The environment on the set is one of respect and intimacy and allows the actors to do what actors do well even in the context of this huge and larger scope. And the production.

Eisenberg also had nice things to say about the screenplay and screenwriter Chris Terrio:

You know, the script is phenomenal. Written by Chris Terrio, who is just brilliant. And Zack Synder is just visually, masterful. And I think everything that’s been released and parsed within an in of its life has been received so well.

So, overall, working on a DC movie set doesn’t sound like a particularly grueling gig. Someone tell Idris Elba. Maybe he’ll defect.

In Other DC News...

But enough about parties. Let’s get down to business.

In an interview with Vulture, Michael Shannon confirmed that he plays more than the dead body of Zod in Batman v Superman. In the middle of an amusing anecdote about costume difficulties and being locked in a toilet, he dropped a tidbit that’s worthy of a raised eyebrow:

I was in my costume, and I couldn’t use my fingers because in the sequel I have flippers instead of hands. So I had these wax flippers on my fingers, and I couldn’t open the door, and I could hear Zack [Snyder, the director] being like, ‘Where’s Shannon? Where the f**k is he?’ and the whole crew was standing around. I was like, knocking on the door with my flippers, ‘Let me out of here!’

The next paragraph is pure rumor-mongering and speculation, but consider it spoiler-y. Feel free to skim past it.

It has been rumored that the third act of Batman v Superman would involve Lex Luthor using Zod’s DNA to create a creature capable of defeating Superman, forcing Kal-El, Batman and Wonder Woman to team up. This creature would be the DC movie universe version of Doomsday, one of Superman’s most iconic villains. Based on that quote above, it is entirely possible that Shannon just confirmed that he’ll be providing motion capture for this hulking, mostly CGI beast ... and that the new Doomsday has flippers, apparently.

In less casually spoiler-y news, Batman v Superman costume designer Michael Wilkinson spoke at length about designing the new outfits for all three of the movie’s superheroes. This is worth a read:

To get ready to design the costumes for Batman v Superman, I really did my homework. I immersed myself in the long histories of these iconic characters. I studied how they have been portrayed over the last 75 years on film, on TV, in comic books, graphic novels and video games. I studied what they mean to people, what they stand for, why they are important. I started an exhaustive search for new materials and technologies — original ways of portraying these characters that would be unlike anything audiences have seen before. I wanted the costumes to help make the characters inspirational and relevant to modern audiences.

We tweaked the Superman suit only slightly from our suit from Man of Steel. We streamlined plus sharpened the details of the costume a little to suit the more earthly (less alien) context of this film. The batsuit is a complete 180 degree turn from the previous film incarnations — our Batman’s power comes from his incredible physical strength and fighting skills, not from armor. The director Zack Snyder wanted him to look as much like the comic book version as possible — to be respectful to the original source. As for the Wonder Woman suit, well she has never been seen in a film before, so there was nothing to compare it to! There is of course the costume from the TV show. Zack wanted our character to be a fierce and intimidating warrior — gritty, battle-scarred and immortal…. Zack had a great idea to have some kryptonian script subliminally included in the details of the suit, so we made that happen. There is ancient Greek script on Wonder Woman’s weapons too. My favorite details of the batsuit are the brass knuckles on the gloves.

The note about Batman’s suit being powered by its wearer rather than empowering its wearer is a cool detail, but the really interesting note is the Kryptonian script on Wonder Woman’s costume. Could the race of immortal Amazons be the result of ancient Kryptonians visiting Earth and getting busy and creating a race of warriors? In the gritty, detail-obsessed DC universe, that would make a lot of sense.

And Here is Your Marvel Movie News

It was a much lighter week for Marvel news, but we did get this hilariously blunt quote from Jeremy Renner when he was asked about being on team Captain America in Captain America: Civil War:

I don't know; they wrote me in that side, it made sense to me.

Also, someone claims to have recreated the Civil War footage from the Marvel D23 panel in storyboard form:

Meanwhile, across studios, Fox has released a new high-flying still from Deadpool.

20th Century Fox

And finally, here’s Bryan Singer speaking from Storm’s apartment on the set of X-Men: Apocalypse: