Marvel's loss might end up being DC's gain. After James Gunn was unceremoniously fired from the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise due to old Tweets that, without question, were insensitive and out of line, many wondered what project Gunn would grab next. Would he stay at Marvel, just in a different franchise, or leap to a competitor? Now, the word is dropping that James Gunn is in talks to write Suicide Squad 2 for Warner Bros and DC, and is also being eyed to direct the property.
The Wrap, which broke the news, reports that James Gunn will have a new approach to the material, though it will still focus on a band of villains who are recruited by the government to carry out jobs that are too nasty for normal heroes in the DCEU.
Ben Affleck's Batman made a brief cameo in David Ayer's Suicide Squad, mainly because the original Squad focused on a new Joker (Jared Leto) and a live-action Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie). It's unclear right now if Gunn's Suicide Squad 2 will have any connections to the previous movie, or to the larger DCEU.
This would be a spectacular save for a franchise that many would argue got off to a rough start. We'll never know 100% what happened on the first Suicide Squad, but the end result felt like "too many cooks in the kitchen," as cool elements were rolled out but there was a significant lack of flow to the overall feature. Assuming that James Gunn is given complete control, he could really make something of this band of misfits, these reject prisoners who rebel against authority... mainly because that's kind of what Gunn did with the Guardians of the Galaxy.
The right way to do this is to give James Gunn the pieces that are in play. He'd have Will Smith and Margot Robbie as cornerstones, and a fantastic Amanda Waller in Viola Davis. Jared Leto isn't necessary (his interpretation of The Joker sure didn't work for me), but you could bring in new Squad members that are lifted from the pages of the comics. Suicide Squad 2 could be the launch pad for new heroes in the DCEU who wouldn't really get their own movie.
Imagine Green Arrow crossing paths with the Squad while they are on a covert mission for Waller? Or if they found out that the foe they were facing the whole time was Lex Luthor and Deathstroke, as introduced at the tail end of Justice League?
Basically, tone was an issue in Suicide Squad, and James Gunn could be the one to bring the right approach of music, humor and attitude to a Suicide Squad sequel. Now, Robbie might actually be out of this movie, as she moves on to Birds of Prey. And there's the rumor of a Harley/Joker movie, which might mean that Gunn gets to re-populate his team with all new, expendable DC villains.
But for now, what do you think? Is James Gunn the guy who can salvage the Suicide Squad? Do you think DC is really sticking it to Marvel by hiring away the creative genius that they cast off? Weigh in below with your best comments!
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.