Frank Grillo Replacing Joel Kinnaman In The DCU

Frank Grillo is playing Rick Flag Sr in Creature Commandos, replacing The Suicide Squad's Joel Kinnaman.

By TeeJay Small | Published

Frank Grillo is best known for appearing in a number of Marvel films as the low-level Captain America villain, Crossbones, as well as his leading role in The Purge film series. According to a write-up in The Wrap, however, Frank Grillo has a new leading role, taking over the mantle of Rick Flag from Joel Kinnaman. Kinnaman famously portrayed the unimpeachable Colonial in both 2016’s Suicide Squad as well as James Gunn’s 2021 reboot The Suicide Squad.

Though Frank Grillo is taking on the role, the door may still remain open for Joel Kinnaman to continue playing the character across the DCU. Grillo is set to portray Rick Flag Sr. in the upcoming animated series Creature Commandos, penned by James Gunn himself, leaving the live-action role of Rick Flag Jr. still open for grabs. Of course, Kinnaman’s Flag Jr. met his demise in the 2021 film in combat with John Cena‘s Peacemaker, likely discontinuing the character from appearing in future DC films.

Of course, superhero films are marked with a number of workarounds to avoid permanent character deaths, meaning Kinnaman could still reprise the role via flashback, dream sequence, or time travel revival a la Gamora in Avengers: Endgame, though it seems unlikely given the gravity of Flag’s death scene. Rick Flag is the given name for several generations of military men in the DC comics, meaning we could still see another Flag in the future, in the form of the son of the Joel Kinnaman iteration. Frank Grillo will be portraying the eldest of the three Rick Flags in Creature Commandos, canonically making him Joel Kinnaman’s WWII-era father.

joel kinnaman
Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag

The series will feature a voice cast of new and returning DC actors, including Sean Gunn as both Weasel and G.I. Robot, Alan Tudyk as Dr. Phosphorus, David Harbour as Eric Frankenstein, and Steve Agee as John Economos, as well as Frank Grillo as Rick Flag, in place of Joel Kinnaman.

Creature Commandos is set to arrive sometime in 2024, kicking off the new James Gunn-led era of the DCU, in a phase labeled Chapter One: Gods and Monsters. The series is scheduled for a 7 episode season, with some characters crossing over from live-action, including Sean Gunn’s Weasel. With Frank Grillo taking on the role of Rick Flag Sr., this could mean an appearance of Joel Kinnaman’s Flag as a child, depending on whether or not the series puts Flag’s home life on the screen.

The new era of the DCU is set to crossover between live-action and animation, unlike previous installments, which kept animated outings entirely separate from the canon of films such as Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy and the Zack Snyderverse. This innovative storytelling style serves as just one of many ways that James Gunn intends to overhaul the modern superhero genre in order to create a new standard of storytelling and mitigate the rise of superhero fatigue. While we haven’t gotten a peek at Frank Grillo’s performance yet, we can rest assured that the WWII-era Flag will almost surely behave differently than Joel Kinnaman’s special forces Rick Flag that we’ve seen on screen.