As of Friday, James Gunn is helming upcoming movie projects for both Marvel and DC -- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and The Suicide Squad. His opportunity to write and direct for the latter came after Disney fired him from the former. Disney just pulled a 180 on Guardians, but The Suicide Squad will have priority over Peter Quill and his unlikely space friends’ next adventure.
The filmmaker’s next Suicide Squad looks to be moving further away from what was established in David Ayer's 2016 movie than one might have expected. Just check out what DCEU producer Peter Safran recently teased in an interview with JoBlo Movie Network:
First of all, we don’t call it Suicide Squad 2 'cause it’s a total reboot, so it's The Suicide Squad and I think people should be extremely excited about it. It’s everything you would hope from a James Gunn script and I think that says a lot and that promises a lot and I know that we will deliver a lot.
These words shouldn’t be a complete surprise to DCEU fans following information that has come so far for The Suicide Squad. Upon the official announcement of the movie, it was described as a "relaunch" of the franchise with a unique vision from James Gunn and "mostly all-new cast of characters and actors."
For many, this still left potential for the franchise to draw from some elements of the 2016 movie, such as bringing back some of the cast, but Peter Safran’s words make it sound like James Gunn goes back to the drawing board for the project.
Idris Elba has already been cast as Deadshot to replace Will Smith’s past role. Smith has a packed schedule ahead of him, but that may not be the only reason he will not reprise the role if the studio is opting for a clean slate for the group of misfits. Another actor in question is Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. Recent reports indicate the fan favorite will likely return to the franchise, since she also will star in Birds of Prey and was key to the initial success of Suicide Squad.
Would it really be a "total reboot" if Margot Robbie came back for The Suicide Squad as a key player? It certainly could be done -- and the character is an important enough asset to the universe to run through some sticky continuity red tape -- but Safran's words beg the question.
So let’s stop calling The Suicide Squad a sequel, because it most certainly is not one. The film is expected to begin production this year and has a release date of August 6, 2021. As for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3? James Gunn’s deal with Disney was made around his plans for The Suicide Squad and will pick up after he’s finished up with the DC film and perhaps not come to theaters until 2023, per our calculations.