Suicide Squad, next summer’s supervillain movie featuring characters like the Joker, Harley Quinn, Rick Flagg and the Enchantress teaming up together in an insane task force, might not seem like it could have any real-life parallels. After all, a task force of the world’s craziest people sounds like it exists solely on screens and comic books.
Au contraire. Suicide Squad has some unexpected parallels to an organization that is very real, and much crazier than you probably realize: the French Foreign Legion.
1. Both have stylish getups
Suicide Squad made quite a splash with the Joker’s new look, which is a far cry from Jokers past like Heath Ledger’s anarchist threads or Jack Nicholson’s gangster suit.
And while they’re clearly less striking, the French Foreign Legion’s uniforms are similarly bold and sharp with splashes of color.
2. Both are composed of non-natives**
Suicide Squad is a task force that is not exactly composed of cops, secret agents, or anyone affiliated to the side of good in the DC universe. The French Foreign Legion, although a French army and not evil, is comprised of citizens who largely aren’t French.
“The French Foreign Legion is one of the only Western military forces comprised mostly of foreign nationals,” Simon Bennett wrote in Vice. “It was established nearly 200 years ago for the same reason Australia exists — to give society’s dregs a fresh purpose in life, ideally one that took them as far away from home as possible. The Legion will gladly send you to war to fight for a country you’re barely acquainted with. In exchange, you get shipped off to God knows where and have a chance to reinvent yourself.” If that’s not a prompt for a rogue’s gallery supervillain movie, I don’t know what is.
3. Both see love as a battlefield, or a battlefield as love. No, really.
This seems like a strange term for an army, but Vanity Fair has written of the foreign legion’s bizarre crossover between war and passion: “It’s the dark romance of the French Foreign Legion: haunted men from everywhere, fighting anywhere, dying for causes not their own.”
4. Although the French Foreign Legion welcomes anyone, it saves rank promotions for French nationals.
Similarly, only Suicide Squad leader Rick Flagg gets the top position. Call it a glass ceiling if you like.
5. Many members of the French Foreign legion are fugitives of the law answering to assumed names.
One officer described in Vanity Fair “had been barred from the regular French Army because of troubles with the law when he was a teenager, and so had joined the Foreign Legion under the identity, initially, of a Francophone Swiss.”
Do you really think Suicide Squad’s Deadshot and [Captain Boomerang](http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/GeorgeHarkness(New_Earth) are real names? Nobody would quake in fear of “Floyd” and “George.”
6. Both are motley crews filled with mercenaries.
The French Foreign legion is such a mish-mash, its regularly referred to as “strange” and a “curious rabble of humanity”. Sounds like another kind of squad.
7. Failure is kind of the point, or at least is not a drawback.
The French Foreign Legion exists to remove these men from society. If they die on the mission, it’s not much of an issue. Similarly, as Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller says in the Suicide Squad trailer, “getting people to act against their own self-interest is what I do for a living.” She’s not expecting them to survive, and she doesn’t care.
8. Foreigners think it’s badass, while natives roll their eyes.
Similarly, we might think Suicide Squad looks badass, but Batman has different ideas.
9. Both have some sweet tunes.
10. Both are short on women, but you do not want to mess with the few present
The French Foreign Legion has let only one woman join: British socialite Susan Travers, who Mad Max: Fury Road’ed across barren landscapes, buried herself alive to survive, and generally kicked ass, took names, and gave zero lifetime fucks. Similarly, Harley Quinn and Katana are the male-dominated Suicide Squad’s only women, but you’d be a fool to go up against either of them.
If you’re a hardcore Suicide Squad fan bemoaning the lack of a suicide squad in your real life, fret no more: Just go join the French Foreign Legion. And good luck with that.
Suicide Squad hits theaters in August.