Will Smith will not be back to revisit the truly iconic line, “What is this, some kind of Suicide Squad?” in Warner Bros.’ upcoming sequel The Suicide Squad. The follow-up has been in development ever since the DC movie hit theaters in 2016 and went on to gross an impressive $746.8 million worldwide—and win an Oscar for Best Makeup & Hairstyling. Reviews were unkind to writer/director David Ayer’s film, which reportedly went though serious changes in post-production as Warner Bros. tried to rework the film to fit more in line with the film’s cheerful, “Bohemian Rhapsody”-backed trailer that scored a positive response.
Ayer was maybe possibly going to return at the helm, but first he tackled the Netflix blockbuster Bright—which reteamed him with Smith. As Ayer moved on, the studio courted Jaume Collet-Serra (Non-Stop) to take the helm, but he opted to make Disney’s Jungle Cruise instead. They then enlisted The Accountant director Gavin O’Connor to take the reins, but when the Birds of Prey movie reportedly moved forward with a plot similar to the one O’Connor had planned for Suicide Squad 2, he moved on.
Warner Bros. finally gained serious traction on the sequel when they hired James Gunn to write and direct, coming off the Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker’s firing from Disney. And now, with production on The Suicide Squad aiming to begin this fall, Variety reports that Smith has opted not to reprise his role as Deadshot due to scheduling conflicts.
Gunn’s take on the film is said to be something of a reboot, and reports have swirled that not many actors from the first movie will be returning. Variety says the studio always wanted its “biggest stars” like Smith and Margot Robbie to come back, but Smith’s exit is curious. The actor doesn’t currently have anything publicly on his schedule that would prevent him from shooting this fall save for maybe promotional duties on his Ang Lee film Gemini Man, which hits theaters in October. He’s currently filming the long-awaited Bad Boys sequel Bad Boys for Life. It’s possible Warner Bros. and/or Gunn actually did want to create The Suicide Squad from the ground up, jettisoning most if not all of Ayer’s cast, and this “scheduling issues” reasoning is a bit of an excuse.
Or perhaps it’s true. It would certainly make sense for Warner Bros. to want Robbie back, as her portrayal of Harley Quinn was the only universally praised aspect of the first movie. The actress is currently shooting her own star-vehicle DC movie—the female-driven team-up film Birds of Prey—and while her involvement in The Suicide Squad is unconfirmed as of yet, I’d be surprised if she doesn’t have some part to play in the proceedings.
With Suicide Squad 2 filming due to begin in Atlanta in September, we should learn more soon as the decisions regarding who will and won’t be back have to be made. Have we seen the last of Jai Courtney’s beer-chuggin’ Captain Boomerang?
The Suicide Squad is slated for release on August 6, 2021.