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Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang in The Suicide Squad

While it may not have been a winner on the critical front overall, 2016’s Suicide Squad definitely shined commercially, making over $746 million worldwide. So naturally Warner Bros and DC were game to move a sequel into development, and while director David Ayer had the opportunity to return for Suicide Squad 2, or as it’s known now, The Suicide Squad, he opted not do so. In his words:

I had a chance to do it, but I went another way.

So had his mindset been different, David Ayer could have easily agreed to tackle The Suicide Squad, meaning he’d get to reunite with Margot Robbie, Jai Courtney, Viola Davis and Joel Kinnaman for another round of Task Force X-led cinematic action. But not all directors who helm a superhero movie return for a sequel, and Ayer decided to willingly step away from this property.

Instead, Warner Bros went through an extensive search for someone to fill David Ayer’s shoes, and while The Accountant’s Gavin O’Connor held the job for a little bit, ultimately it was Guardians of the Galaxy’s James Gunn who was selected to write and direct The Suicide Squad. Gunn was hired during the period when he’d been fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and then rehired onto it, so once he’s completed The Suicide Squad, he’ll tackle the MCU threequel next.

As for David Ayer (who has spoken with James Gunn about The Suicide Squad), he clarified while speaking with Slashfilm following the Television Critics Association panel for his new show Deputy that he’s not done with the comic book movie genre. He plans to return to it down the line, saying:

I love the world creation of it and I love the power of the IP and the fans. It’s dangerous. It’s like juggling chainsaws, but I am drawn to it and it’s definitely an arena I’ll play in again.

We’ll likely see David Ayer play in the comic book movie playground again g, which Ayer says is currently “on hold.” I suspect that’s because Warner Bros is waiting to see how Birds of Prey, which features the next appearance of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, will do, and then the studio will decide if it wants Harley to team up with Catwoman and Poison Ivy in Gotham City Sirens or go in a different direction.

David Ayer has been attached to Gotham City Sirens since late 2016, and in July 2017, he explained that the reason he decided to tackle that project instead of a Suicide Squad sequel was because he wanted to create a story that his daughters would appreciate as they grew up. We’ll be sure to let you know whether Gotham City Sirens does indeed end up moving forward or if it gets shelved.

In the meantime, David Ayer’s next movie, The Tax Collector, is set to come out later this year, and he’s also working on a Dirty Dozen remake. No specific plot details for The Suicide Squad have been revealed yet, but it’s introducing plenty of new characters, including David Dastmalchian’s Polka-Dot Man, Daniela Melchior’s Ratcatcher and Steve Agee’s King Shark.

The Suicide Squad charges into theaters on August 6, 2021, so keep checking in with CinemaBlend for more coverage. You can also look through our DC movies guide to learn what else this superhero franchise has in the works.