Amanda Waller (Viola Davis)
Making her debut in Legends #1 in 1986, as the creation of John Ostrander, Len Wein and John Byrne, Amanda Blake Waller is synonymous with the Suicide Squad. She is of questionable character – sometimes appearing as an ally of superheroes, sometimes as an antagonist. She is, however, always ambitious and has the confidence of her convictions.
Waller’s initial origin story solidifies that of the Suicide Squad, by having her established as a widow whose husband, son and daughter were murdered while living in a notorious housing project. Caring for her remaining children, she also achieved a doctorate in political science, and began her career in Washington as a congressional aide and government agent. In doing so, she learned about the previous versions of Suicide Squad, and convinced the country’s leadership to approve the formation of a third, under her supervision.
Later, she was appointed Secretary of Metahuman Affairs, but was then reassigned to run Checkmate – an organization tasked with protecting American interests overseas – until forced to resign. Waller was, at one time, imprisoned herself, though she was later pardoned, released and returned to reorganize the Squad.
The “New 52” re-launch of DC comics in 2011 found Waller in command of the Suicide Squad, having requested the position as the head of a disposable, but skilled team. In adaptations, several different versions of Amanda Waller have appeared onscreen in both live-action and animation. In addition to the traditional depiction as head of Suicide Squad, she has also been seen as the Warden of Belle Reve, a government agent, the Director of A.R.G.U.S (Advanced Research Group Uniting Super-Humans), and a scientist working for the Department of Extra-normal Operations; and she has been portrayed at various times by C.C.H Pounder, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Pam Grier, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Angela Bassett, Debra Cole, and Penny Johnson Jerald.
Preview footage released so far seems to indicate that, in line with the rest of the burgeoning DC cinematic universe, the New 52 Waller is the version we will see in Suicide Squad.