‘The Suicide Squad:’ How the Cast Helped Edmonton Resurrect the Nathan Fillion Civilian Pavilion

The Suicide Squad premiered in theaters and on HBO Max this past weekend. The newest addition to the DC Extended Universe follows the unlikely ragtag team of misfits, criminals, and psychopaths who are forced to save the world or face death. The standalone sequel to 2016’s poorly received Suicide Squad stars Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Viola Davis, Joel Kinnaman, Jai Courtney, Pete Davidson, and Canada’s own Nathan Fillion.

For years, a few devoted members of the Edmonton, Canada, community had tried to get a building in a small park to be christened the Nathan Fillion Civilian Pavilion with no luck. After seeing the story, a few famous faces helped make dreams come true. 

Cast and crew including Nathan Fillion, Storm Reid, Margot Robbie, John Cena, James Gunn, Michael Rooker, Jai Courtney, and Daniela Melchior attends the Warner Bros. premiere of "The Suicide Squad" at Regency Village Theatre on August 02, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.
Cast and crew at the Warner Bros. premiere of ‘The Suicide Squad’ | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Nathan Fillon is from Edmonton

Fillion is known for his work on the big and small screens. Since starting in the 90s, he’s appeared in the cult-favorite sci-fi western Firefly, the crime drama Castle, and now The Rookie. Before that, Fillion was just a kid trying not to freeze his behind-off in the Canadian cold. 

As Fillion told City News when asked about his childhood, “Picture this: A young Nathan Fillion, about eight years old, third grade, running from Saint Hilda in Mills Woods, down Mill Woods road to his home. Trying to make it home on his short little legs so that he could watch reruns of Gilligan’s Island because that was the only window into a place that wasn’t a winter tundra.” 

Nathan Fillion attends the Warner Bros. Premiere of "The Suicide Squad" at The Landmark Westwood on August 02, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.
Nathan Fillion at the Warner Bros. Premiere of ‘The Suicide Squad’ | Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage

Fillion obviously made it out and is now appearing in The Suicide Squad as TDK. “The problem with TDK is that he’s got powers, but he’s not powerful. I think that leads to his vulnerability which is his overconfidence,” Fillion said of his character. 

Origins of the Nathan Fillion Civilian Pavilion started before ‘The Suicide Squad’

The original idea for the Nathan Fillion Civilian Pavilion came from SONiC 102.9 announcer Lauren Hunter. She had learned that the local Edmonton government was planning on turning a few downtown parking lots into a new Central Park. Hunter started a change.org petition with the goal to name a small structure on that land after one of Edmonton’s own. 

“To honor great Edmontonian actor Nathan Fillion, we propose we build a small building on this park, and call it… ‘The Nathan Fillion Civilian Pavilion,’” Hunter’s proposal read. The hilarious idea remained untouched for two years. Warner Bros. eventually saw it, conveniently before The Suicide Squad was released in Canada.

The cast and director of The Suicide Squad responded

Trying to find a way to promote the film in the Great White North, Warner Bros. gathered the cast together to react to the Nathan Fillion Civilian Pavilion petition. The video was released on Aug. 3.

After The Suicide Squad actors got over the idea’s absurdity, they jumped on board. “I’m intrigued, excited, and eager to watch how this story plays out,” John Cena said stoically. The actor plays Peacemaker in the film. 

It took a minute for Margot Robbie, who plays fan-favorite Harley Quinn, to stop laughing. “That is so funny! I 100% support this completely, and I really, really hope you succeed in this mission, Edmonton. I believe in it.”

Even Polka-Dot Man himself was excited. David Dastmalchian said he wanted to “have a picnic and a barbeque and celebrate at the Nathan Fillion Civilian Pavilion.” Director James Gunn seemed to like the idea as long as it was built away from his home. 

“There needs to be a Nathan Fillion Civilian Pavilion somewhere, and if it exists in Edmonton, it’s far enough away that it doesn’t have to be too close to my house.”

What is the actual Nathan Fillion Civilian Pavilion?

When the film premiered on Aug. 6, the petition had 27,000 names. After the video’s success and the full support of Margot Robbie and the rest of The Suicide Squad cast, the city of Edmonton decided to resurrect a real-life Nathan Fillion Civilian Pavilion — sort of. 

“It’s great that so many Edmontonians see the humor in it, and it’s been particularly exciting to see the video responses from Mr. Fillion’s co-stars on The Suicide Squad,” the city said in a statement.  

“We love to see Edmontonians so engaged with their city and its public places. We hope residents will keep sharing their excitement and ideas,” the statement continued. The city then announced that the Edmonton City Hall be renamed ‘The Nathan Fillion Civilian Pavilion’ — for the weekend.

The compromise is nowhere near a permanent solution and really just a plastic sign hanging on the wall. However, the Nathan Fillion Civilian Pavilion technically became a reality thanks to Edmonton, Hunter, and The Suicide Squad cast.

Related: How ‘The Suicide Squad’ Gave Polka-Dot Man Actor David Dastmalchian His Glowing Face