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NOTE: This article is about the incarnation of The Thinker from the DC Extended Universe. The mainstream version can be found here: Thinker.
Villain Overview

I call it Starro the Conqueror! That's meant to be derisive. Sorry, old chum. These two are here to kill you. It's out of my hands.
~ The Thinker's most famous quote as he introduces Starro.
Thinker: The fodder of powerful men through every age. Dissidents, journalists, political rivals, and their loved ones. Oh, please, unclutch your f-cking pearls, Flag! We serve the same master.
Ratcatcher 2: We were sent here to stop you.
Thinker: Child, your government didn't send you here to protect the world from alien technology. Your government sent you here to cover up THEIR part in it.
Rick Flag: You're a goddamn liar.
Thinker: American GODDAMN astronauts found Starro! YANKEE-F-CKING-DOODLE DANDIES! Although the Cold War was ended, YOUR government saw the potential in weaponizing such a powerful beast, but banish the thought of any such experiments being held on American soil. Your people have always been squeamish about the sacrifices NECESSARY for scientific advancement. So, the United States made a secret deal with the Corto Maltese government to conduct their illegal experiments here in Jotunheim. And they hired me to oversee them. And now, because of a run-of-the-mill f-cking military coup, they're gonna destroy thirty years' worth of efforts.
~ The Thinker explaining the truth behind Project Starfish and the US government's role in his experiments.

Gaius Grieves, better known as The Thinker, is one of the two main antagonists (alongside Starro) of the 2021 film The Suicide Squad, the tenth installment in the DC Extended Universe.

He was a man with greatly enhanced intelligence who as a result found himself as the top scientist in Corto Maltese and the chief behind the development of Project Starfish as well as a trusted ally of Silvio Luna, he is later forced into assisting Task Force X in infiltrating his base of operations Jotunheim to destroy all of his research.

He was portrayed by Peter Capaldi, who also played Angel Islington in Neverwhere, Ronnie Pilfrey in Fortysomething, Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It and Cardinal Richelieu in The Musketeers.


Early Life

Gaius Grieves was a Glaswegian scientist based in Corto Maltese who was granted telepathic abilities and greatly enhanced intelligence thanks to a thinking cap he developed to help him advance his performance in his field, ultimately leading him into becoming the leading scientist in Corto Maltese and the man charged with overseeing Project Starfish, an investigation into an alien starfish-like creature.

Over the next thirty years, Grieves tortured and tormented the beast and subjected many individuals trying to investigate the inner operations of his research and Corto Maltese in general, such as journalists, rival politicians, etc… and even his own personnel into becoming extensions of Project Starfish (who he now dubbed as Starro the Conqueror) thanks to the creature's nature of conquering the minds of others with its ability to produce multiple copies of itself that would latch onto a human host's face and turn them into a puppet upon killing them, something which The Thinker used to his advantage time and time again to do the previously mentioned deeds. Throughout his research, The Thinker would also constantly add and upgrade his Thinking Cap, granting him even further knowledge than he had previously.

When dispatching Task Force X teams to infiltrate Corto Maltese, Amanda Waller briefs Team 2 (comprised of Bloodsport, Ratcatcher 2, Peacemaker, Polka Dot Man, and King Shark) on what to do once they're in the city itself. Part of this brief includes having them get The Thinker to help them enter Jotunheim by whatever means necessary.

The Suicide Squad

Grieves first appears while being walked into a meeting with President Luna and General Suarez, almost immediately he expresses his annoyance to both men for killing his employees and he and Suarez get into a heated fight before being broken up by Luna who asks Grieves for an update on Project Starfish to which he obliges, showing off the captive Starro as well as his research much to the simultaneous awe and horror of everyone present, he then uses this opportunity to woo his way into a position as one of Luna's top men.

That night Grieves attended the local club he frequents to relax only to be confronted by Bloodsport, who held him at gunpoint and explained his plan to him and Grieves scoffed thinking the idea was ridiculous but was forced to comply and taken by Ratcatcher 2 and Polka Dot Man to the bus which Task Force X was using where he was left handcuffed to a chair, awaiting the team to regroup thanks to a mishap involving Bloodsport, Rick Flag, and Peacemaker allowing themselves to be arrested to create a diversion. While on the bus The Thinker was left with Polka Dot Man while Ratcatcher 2 ran off in search of a missing King Shark while Milton stood guard in front of the bus. Here The Thinker tried to manipulate Polka Dot Man into letting him go and betraying his teammates only to be shot in the ear for his troubles disfiguring his left ear much to his chagrin, he began berating an increasingly distressed Abner for this until the others returned to the scene to diffuse the tension.

Following this, the group tailed the truck containing Bloodsport, Flag, and Peacemaker until the three men escaped, at which point they all regroup in the bus only for Flag to decide to delay the Jotunheim mission further so they can rescue Harley Quinn who the three were informed by the soldiers escorting them was being held and tortured by Suarez. The rescue attempt turned out pointless in the end, however, as Harley had already broken out herself. With that, the team threatened The Thinker with death should he betray them and reiterated their plan to blow up Jotunheim, which Grieves was appalled to find would be a dangerous mission that would put all of their lives at risk although never the less was still forced into complying.

The Thinker reluctantly helped the team into Jotunheim by driving the bus through the security gate to avoid suspicion and then had his retinal scan forced upon him by Peacemaker, much to his chagrin. Once inside he led Ratcatcher 2 and Flag to Starro and all of his victims while explaining the truth behind their mission, Starro itself and The Thinker's research as well as what the government and Waller have been hiding from them while going on to rant about America and how they're too afraid to do what he feels must be done for science. An infuriated Flag takes the evidence necessary to expose Waller and prepares to leave only to be stopped by Peacemaker, who reveals that he needs the information to stay hidden as Waller promised him a pardon in exchange for it, just as an argument began to break out between the two however the explosives arranged to blow up the base went off early thanks to a mishap involving Polka Dot Man resulting in Starro's containment being breached. When everyone including The Thinker came to and realized what had happened he asked in horror what they had done before trying to flee before Starro dragged him into its chamber.

The Thinker pleaded for his life with the creature, but to no avail, and in revenge for all the years of torture, Starro killed Grieves by painfully tearing off his limbs, then smashing him into a window, squeezing him to death. Following this Starro would then attempt to take control of Corto Maltese for itself feeling it was now entitled to it, justifying The Thinker's name for it even further now.

Ultimately the remaining members of the Suicide Squad managed to kill Starro and keep the evidence against Waller to themselves to blackmail her into releasing them, putting an end to all of The Thinker's machinations.


The Thinker was a handsome man in his early sixties and was tall and slender with pale skin, a gaunt face, blue eyes, thick black eyebrows and a bald, bulbous head with several wires and light bulbs sticking out of it due to the thinking cap embedded into his skull. He also had very prominent veins visible across his scalp. Clothing-wise, the Thinker was first seen wearing a blue tracksuit with white piping and a matching collar; however, when out partying he wore a crumpled navy blue suit alongside a Hawaiian shirt and blue trainers. This is the outfit he wears for the remainder of the film and in all of the marketing. After being blasted in the face by Polka Dot Man his left ear was left as a bloody, mutilated mess which he had to wear a bandage over to help heal, something that ultimately couldn't happen as he would die the following day.

In a brief flashback to his earlier days, he looked mostly the same, only younger and with fewer wires in his head and bulging veins on his scalp. He also wore a white lab coat in this flashback.


As his name would suggest, The Thinker was a very intelligent man and a genius scientist, however, he was also a self-serving, narcissistic, opportunistic, and ruthless individual willing to do quite literally anything to expand his ever-growing knowledge and research. He was also very cruel, immature, and had little to no patience for anyone based on his explosive rant to Rick Flag and Ratcatcher 2. He also had a very sarcastic and condescending view of the world and those around him and was quite pessimistic, anxious, and dismissive of the suicide squad upon being forced into assisting them, viewing their mission as practically impossible.

The Thinker also took great pride and sadism in his work, cruelly mocking and expressing joy at all of the work he had done while working on Project Starfish, including the torture of Starro itself and the hideous deaths and mutilations of all the victims he sent to the beast, including even some of his own workers, showing that he didn't care for ruining the lives of anyone if it meant expanding his research. The Thinker also apparently didn't get along with General Suarez even though the two were allies.

He also had a distaste for Americans, disliking them for being too clean in comparison to those in Corto Maltese, citing their reluctance and fearfulness over his continuing research on Project Starfish as "cowardice", especially since many officials in the government (including Amanda Waller) had ties to Corto Maltese's corruption and The Thinker's research.

Surprisingly, The Thinker was also quite social, frequenting a gentleman's club following his working day and is quite chatty with the squad themselves although, despite this, he didn't have any real friends and only had loyalties to himself or anyone who could give him what he wanted, he was also rather manipulative although didn't show it after Polka Dot Man attacked him for attempting to do so to him.

He also is alluded to being a pervert and having bizarre kinks based mainly on his amused response to Ratcatcher 2's threat to command a horde of rats to go up to his rectum as well as from how Starro says that he "had his way" with its assimilated victims.


You slaughtered my staff!
~ An annoyed Thinker confronting Mateo Suarez for killing his workers.
Suarez: That shit in your face, that's to make your brain good, yes?
Thinker: Yes makes my brain good!
~ The Thinker and Mateo Suarez bickering.
Silvio Luna: What is this?
Thinker: That is Project Starfish…
~ The Thinker showing off Starro to Silvio Luna.
Your machine manipulates animal behavior, clever. I'm working on something similar with humans.
~ The Thinker commenting on Ratcatcher 2's ability and alluding to the mind-control properties of Starro.
Thinker: My answer might not be what you expect.
~ The Thinker's response to Ratcatcher 2's threat to him.
I know who you are, if you google world's lamest supervillain, Polka Dot Man is the first result.
~ The Thinker trying to get under Polka Dot Man's skin.
What's it like living life as a punchline?
~ The Thinker taunting Polka Dot Man.
Sad souls in costumes wanting you to think they're all dark and deep. Spandex twats!
~ The Thinker berating the Suicide Squad to Polka Dot Man.
They think you're stupid Abner! Just like your mother. All it would take is one blessed act of rebellion for you to restore your dignity in its entirety… give me the gun.
~ The Thinker manipulating Polka Dot Man.
~ The Thinker to Polka Dot Man after the latter shot him the ear.
Swallow before you speak you bloody barbarian!
~ The Thinker to Peacemaker.
This is suicide…
~ The Thinker's reaction to Task Force X's plan.
~ The Thinker while being forced to escort the Suicide Squad into Jotunheim.
What's wrong? I thought you wanted to meet Project Starfish…
~ The Thinker mocking Rick Flag and Ratcatcher 2's horrified reactions to his work.
Those morons must've set the explosives off too early! HAND OVER THE DRIVE LET'S GO!
~ The Thinker to Peacemaker before getting knocked unconscious by the explosions.
What have you people done?!
~ The Thinker's reaction to Starro being set free.
Let's just talk about this. I understand where you're coming from. I crossed the line. Okay! I crossed the line! But I'm ready to change! I AM ready to change! I didn't mean to hurt you!!
~ Thinker's last words before being killed by Starro.


  • This is the second live-action incarnation of The Thinker following the Clifford DeVoe incarnation seen in the Arrowverse.
    • Related to the previous fact he is also the first live-action version of The Thinker to not be based on Clifford DeVoe, with him primarily taking influence from the New 52 version of the character, most notably with his physical appearance.
  • The Thinker is Peter Capaldi's first-ever comic book movie role.
    • Related to the above fact, the chance to do a superhero movie, the opportunity to work with James Gunn, and being blown away by the script were the three factors that had Peter immediately jump on board for the film.
  • Prior to release many mistakenly believed that this incarnation of The Thinker was Clifford DeVoe due to him being the most popular incarnation however James Gunn clarified this wasn't the case. Surely enough when the movie was released it was revealed that this was a new incarnation of The Thinker known as Gaius Grieves based mainly on the unnamed New 52 Thinker.
  • Peter Capaldi was the only actor ever considered for the role of The Thinker and James Gunn asked him to play the part after seeing him as Malcolm Tucker who this incarnation of The Thinker was actually based on (as well as the New 52 variant of The Thinker himself), something which becomes quite apparent towards the end of the film as The Thinker's monologue to Rick Flag and Ratcatcher 2 is uncannily similar to the stylings and even delivery of Malcolm Tucker's infamous rants.
    • Related to the previous fact, Capaldi actually improvised half of his dialogue for the scene where The Thinker reveals Starro and the truth behind the US Government's involvement with it.
  • After filming wrapped the crew gifted Peter Capaldi one of The Thinker's lightbulbs from his thinking cap as a souvenir.
  • In the "Roll Call" cast reveal The Thinker is seen shooting electricity out of his hands which is odd since he isn't able to do this in the film.
  • A monologue from The Thinker seen nowhere in the film is heard at the start of the theatrical trailer for the film. In an interview, Gunn confirmed that it was from a scene between him, Polka Dot Man, and Ratcatcher 2 that was cut for pacing but also clarified that since he still loved the scene he would include it on the DVD/Blu Ray releases as a deleted scene.
    • This scene also explains The Thinker's seemingly random ear injury with Gunn clarifying that after his failed attempt at manipulation Polka Dot Man blasted his face thereby injuring his ear.
  • The Thinker's thinking cap may actually be causing him physical damage in some ways as throughout the film The Thinker's scalp looks incredibly swollen with several bulging veins.
  • During an interview, Peter Capaldi said his favorite scene in the movie to film was the scene where he himself as The Thinker and Task Force X walked through the rain into Jotunheim.
  • For unknown reasons, The Thinker wears khaki chinos as opposed to the blue suit trousers he wears in the completed film in some promotional materials.
  • The Thinker's death scene was originally even more graphic, with him originally being swung twice into the window with his crushed face and mangled body being shown to the camera before, in the end, being splattered into the window as in the final cut.

External links


           DC Extended Universe Logo.png Villains

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Suicide Squad
Deadshot | Harley Quinn | Captain Boomerang | El Diablo | Killer Croc | Slipknot | Bloodsport | Ratcatcher 2 | Peacemaker | King Shark | Polka Dot Man | Captain Boomerang | Blackguard | Mongal | Javelin | The Detachable Kid | Weasel | Savant | Amanda Waller

Eyes of the Adversary
Enchantress | Incubus

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Joker | Jonny Frost | Panda Man | Monster T

Darkseid's Elite
Darkseid | Steppenwolf (Zack Snyder's Justice League) | DeSaad | Granny Goodness | Parademons (Parademon Scout)

Black Clad
Black Clad Alpha

Corto Maltese
The Thinker | Starro | Silvio Luna | Corto Maltese Armed Forces (Mateo Suarez | Vera)

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Suicide Squad: Eyes of the Adversary (Enchantress & Incubus) | Suicide Squad (Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, El Diablo, Killer Croc, Slipknot & Amanda Waller) | Joker's Gang (Joker, Jonny Frost, Panda Man & Monster T) | Griggs
Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay: Professor Zoom | Suicide Squad (Amanda Waller, Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, Bronze Tiger, Copperhead, Punch, Jewelee, & Count Vertigo) | Killer Frost | Blockbuster | Silver Banshee | Vandal Savage | Scandal Savage | Professor Pyg | Tobias Whale | League of Assassins (Deathstroke) | Two-Face
The Suicide Squad: The Thinker | Starro | Silvio Luna | Corto Maltese Armed Forces (Mateo Suarez & Vera) | Suicide Squad (Bloodsport, Ratcatcher 2, Harley Quinn, Peacemaker, King Shark, Polka Dot Man, Captain Boomerang, Blackguard, Mongal, Javelin, The Detachable Kid, Weasel, Savant & Amanda Waller) | Kaleidoscope | Calendar Man | Double Down | Karma | Ratcatcher | Polka Dot Man's Mother | Bloodsport's Father

See Also
Harley Quinn Villains | Peacemaker Villains

           Harley Quinn (2016) DC logo.png Villains

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Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn): Harley Quinn | Huntress | Black Mask | Victor Zsasz | Stefano Galante | Carlo Rossi | Happy | Joker
The Suicide Squad: The Thinker | Starro | Silvio Luna | Corto Maltese Armed Forces (Mateo Suarez & Vera) | Suicide Squad (Bloodsport, Ratcatcher 2, Harley Quinn, Peacemaker, King Shark, Polka Dot Man, Captain Boomerang, Blackguard, Mongal, Javelin, The Detachable Kid, Weasel, Savant & Amanda Waller) | Kaleidoscope | Calendar Man | Double Down | Karma | Ratcatcher | Polka Dot Man's Mother | Bloodsport's Father

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