Months after he was fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, it was announced yesterday that James Gunn has leaped over to Marvel's Distinguished Competition, a.k.a. DC, to write Suicide Squad 2, which he might also direct. The Accountant's Gavin O'Connor was previously writing and directing Suicide Squad 2, and as for why Gunn is now filling his position, supposedly it had to do with O'Connor's story for the sequel too closely resembling what's in store for Birds of Prey. According to Variety reporter Justin Kroll:
Gavin O'Connor was hired to write and direct Suicide Squad 2 in September of last year, taking over the scripting duties that The Legend of Tarzan's Adam Cozad previously handled. This past June, Todd Stashwick was brought on board to co-write Suicide Squad 2 with O'Connor, making it seem like these men would definitely be the ones picking up where David Ayer left off. But a lot can change within a few months, like Birds of Prey being prioritized. Throw in both stories being too similar, and as Justin Kroll passed along on Twitter, O'Connor departed the project and shifted focus to Has Been.
From what little we know about Birds of Prey, the story centers on Black Canary, Huntress, Harley Quinn and Renee Montoya crossing paths and clashing with Gotham City crime boss Roman Sionis, a.k.a. Black Mask. I'm guessing that Gavin O'Connor's version of Suicide Squad 2 would have seen its main characters also fighting an organized crime figure, providing a much more grounded threat for Task Force X to deal with compared to the mystical Enchantress and Incubus in the first Suicide Squad movie. In any case, that story has been scrapped, leaving James Gunn free to embark on a new creative path.
Rather being being a direct follow-up to Suicide Squad, James Gunn's Suicide Squad 2 will feature a brand-new take on the team, though it's unclear if this means it will be a full-on reboot or if it will still be set in the DC Extended Universe, but just feature a new lineup of players. Either way, we can expect to once again see super villains who have been incarcerated by the U.S. government being recruited to go on dangerous black-ops missions in exchange for reduced prison sentences and other forms of leniency.
As for Birds of Prey, it will be released on February 7, 2020, three months after Wonder Woman 1984. So far the cast consists of Margot Robbie reprising Harley Quinn, Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress and Rosie Perez as Detective Renee Montoya. Cathy Yan is directing and Christina Hodson (who's also writing the Batgirl movie) penned the screenplay.
Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates about Suicide Squad 2, but in the meantime, you can look through our DC movies guide to learn what else the DCEU has in development.