Here's why El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) had to die in Suicide Squad. In 2016, Warner Bros. released their first anti-hero-centric project with the David Ayer-directed Suicide Squad. The movie debuted a string of DC bad guys, all of whom operated at the mercy of Amanda Waller (Viola Davis). The film's titular gang featured Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and Deadshot (Will Smith), who were arguably the true leads of the film. However, Suicide Squad also gave other characters their own chance to shine, letting audiences in on each of the Squad members' backstories in an attempt to make the anti-heroes more relatable. Few of the film's supporting characters shone quite as well as Hernandez's Chato Santana though.
A former gang member who has the ability to summon flames, El Diablo didn't have much screen time in Suicide Squad. That said, Suicide Squad was able to establish his personal story effectively despite his smaller role in the film's overall story. As the film revealed, El Diablo's inability to control his temper often directly affected his powers, and at one point in his past, he lost control and accidentally killed his wife and children. Racked with guilt, he surrendered himself to the police and only ever used his pyrokinetic powers to whip out a solitary flame.
Hesitant to use his powers again, El Diablo barely contributed to Task Force X's mission until the end. He sacrificed his life to defeat Incubus (Alain Chanoine), Enchantress' (Cara Delevingne) demonic brother, saving the remainder of the team in the process. Now, Ayer has revealed that in his original cut of the movie, El Diablo lived. The character's fate was changed in reshoots because of the idea that, in order to redeem him in the audiences' eyes, he needed to die. Check out the filmmaker's tweet below:
It's no secret that Ayer's original plans for Suicide Squad were heavily altered in reshoots. As is well known, Warner Bros. wasn't keen on a dark film following the divisive response to Zack Snyder's Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice months earlier, resulting in Suicide Squad being drastically changed from Ayer's original vision. So, while Ayer didn't explicitly say this, it sounds like the change in El Diabl0's fate also had something to do with the creative meddling from the studio. That said, it's puzzling why they opted to kill the character in such a fashion when they wanted a more lighthearted and hopeful narrative. The character's arc could've had a more optimistic ending had he been redeemed in the final battle and lived after. That way, the movie could have proved that redemption was possible, even for the members of Task Force X.
As long as Ayer keeps engaging with fans who have questions about his original plans for the film, interest over the so-called Ayer Cut of Suicide Squad will continue. Since the announcement that Snyder will be given the opportunity to finish his take on Justice League in the form of a four-part series on HBO Max, DC fans have been hopeful that Ayer will also be granted the same chance with Suicide Squad. Even James Gunn, who wrote and directed next year's The Suicide Squad - a loose follow-up to Ayer's 2016 film - is supporting the cause. There has been no word yet from Warner Bros. about whether or not they're considering the idea.