We have heard that James Gunn’s Suicide Squad sequel will be something of a soft reboot or a relaunch of the franchise. And the more things develop, the more that rings true as the film is looking less and less like it will resemble David Ayer’s 2016 film. It looks like there will be very few returning characters and perhaps one less than we thought because Joel Kinnaman is reportedly out as Rick Flag in The Suicide Squad.
THR reports that some of the characters from Suicide Squad expected to return for the follow-up are Harley Quinn, Deadshot and Rick Flag. However, another of The Hollywood Reporter’s sources says that Rick Flag will not be in James Gunn’s film. So there is definitely some ambiguity about the situation, but fans should prepare for the possibility that the commander of the team in the first film will not be returning for the sequel.
Given this ambiguity about Rick Flag’s presence in James Gunn’s film, it makes you wonder if there is a scenario where Rick Flag the character returns, but Joel Kinnaman does not play him. We just saw this play out with the character of Deadshot. Will Smith could not reprise his role due to scheduling conflicts and now Heimdall himself, Idris Elba will replace him, hopefully giving the actor a meatier comic book role.
That would potentially get into some weird territory though, if multiple characters are played by different actors in the sequel while Harley Quinn is still played by Margot Robbie. Recasting one character is fine (see War Machine in the MCU) but multiple could get into a murky area that would just seem kind of weird. But if Rick Flag is not in the film at all as has been reported, that would gel with the word that James Gunn will primarily be using DC characters that were not in the first movie.
It’s hard to say how Rick Flag’s absence will affect the sequel, given that we don’t know what the story will be. The character did play an important role in the first film, both as the leader and handler of the team and as the boyfriend of June Moone, who became the villain. But there are other major players who could fill his shoes so he doesn’t have to return.
Harley Quinn and Deadshot were the standouts of the first film and the most visible, so those two feel like the characters that must return and they supposedly are, albeit with Idris Elba playing Deadshot. If Rick Flag is out it will be just another differentiator between the two films, and lend to the sequel's supposed direction as a soft reboot.
With all the changes, it does make you wonder if The Suicide Squad will even acknowledge the events of the first film. It’s all kind of interesting because while Suicide Squad was a critical failure, it was a hit at the box office, so changing things up to such a degree could be risky.
That said, Warner Bros. seems to have a lot of faith in James Gunn to move pieces around and makes the movie he wants to make to hopefully duplicate the critical and commercial success he had with Guardians of the Galaxy for the DCEU.
We’ll keep you updated as this movie comes together. The Suicide Squad opens in theaters on August 6, 2021. For movies you can look forward to a little bit sooner, check out our 2019 Release Schedule.