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Why Is Will Smith Not In The Suicide Squad? The Producer Explains What Happened

Will Smith in Suicide Squad

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The DC Extended Universe had a rocky start, with projects like Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad failing to connect with audiences. The latter will be getting a sequel/reboot thanks to James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, featuring a handful of returning actors. But Will Smith won’t be reprising his role as Deadshot, and now one producer explained what happened.

From the cast of David Ayer’s 2017 Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn and Deadshot were arguably the two biggest characters. As such, fans were disappointed to learn that Will Smith wouldn’t be reprising his role in James Gunn’s upcoming R-rated blockbuster. During a set visit attended by CinemaBlend, Producer Peter Safran spoke to journalists about Deadshot’s absence, and the practical reason why Will Smith didn’t return. In his words,

We discussed it. I think the Will of it all was really more of a schedule thing than anything else. We knew we had to start shooting in September because, frankly, we knew probably earlier than other people did that James was going to come back and do Guardians. So it was really important that we started shooting when we started shooting and Will wasn’t available, and that kind of made it easier all around. What are you going to do? He’s not available. So it’s also nice to, frankly, help separate it from the first movie, I think, in a greater fashion

Well, there you have it. Will Smith is an extremely busy star, who is usually in high demand. And when a scheduling conflict prevented him from playing Deadshot in The Suicide Squad for James Gunn, the producers had to shift the story, and instead introduce new characters like Idris Elba’s Bloodsport.

Peter Safran’s comments from The Suicide Squad’s set visit show what it’s really like working on a massive DC blockbuster. While audiences get to see a shiny finished product, they’re each ultimately made by a group of people. And sometimes very real life things like scheduling can result in a seismic change on screen. Case in point: the cast of James Gunn’s upcoming DC debut.

The Suicide Squad will be hitting HBO Max at the same time as theaters. You can use this link to sign up (opens in new tab) for the streaming service.

When it was first revealed that Will Smith wasn’t going to be returning for The Suicide Squad, heads definitely turned. It was originally reported that Idris Elba was going to replace him in the role, before Elba was instead cast as Bloodsport. This should allow Smith to hopefully return to the DCEU sometime in the future.

Luckily for fans, we won’t have to wait long before our questions about The Suicide Squad are finally answered. The first reactions to the blockbuster have been overwhelmingly positive, and it should be interesting to see how James Gunn’s sensibilities as a filmmaker translate to the DCEU.

The Suicide Squad will hit theaters on August 6th. In the meantime, check out the 2021 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience.

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.