- James Gunn is focusing on a new cast of characters for his "Suicide Squad" sequel, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
- Gunn’s strategy for the sequel represents Warner Bros.’ grander ambitions for the DC movie universe going forward, which is to focus on what has worked and get rid of what hasn’t.
Last week, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Will Smith will not return to James Gunn’s "Suicide Squad" sequel. And on Wednesday, multiple outlets, including THR and Variety, reported that Idris Elba will replace Smith as the mercenary with perfect aim, Deadshot.
Warner Bros. did not immediately return a request for comment from Business Insider.
THR reported that Smith departed due to scheduling issues, and that aside from Deadshot and Harley Quinn, Gunn will focus on a new cast of characters for the sequel, which is tentatively titled "The Suicide Squad." Gunn’s strategy for the "Suicide Squad" sequel represents what’s happening with Warner Bros.’ larger DC movie universe.
After "Justice League" was a critical and box office disaster in 2017, Warner Bros. shifted gears to focus on standalone stories rather than a connected universe like the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara told the Los Angeles Times last week that the movies will focus more on "individual experiences around individual characters."
"Aquaman" proved the strategy could work, as it raked in over $1 billion. Now, Warner Bros. is going full steam ahead with its DC superhero projects, including "Shazam" in April and "Joker" in October.
Gunn was hired to write and possibly direct the sequel in October, three months after he was fired by Disney from the third "Guardians of the Galaxy" movie after past offensive tweets resurfaced. While "Guardians of the Galaxy 3" is currently in limbo, the "Suicide Squad" sequel is moving along swiftly.
The first "Suicide Squad" performed well at the box office with $746 million worldwide. But it bombed with critics (it has a 27% Rotten Tomatoes critic score) and its box office fell dramatically in the US after its fist weekend (it dropped 67% in its second weekend).
Gunn steered unknown characters to box-office success with the first two "Guardians of the Galaxy" movies, which grossed $1.6 billion worldwide combined. Now, he’s starting over with the "Suicide Squad" sequel, save for what worked.
Robbie’s Harley Quinn was the most acclaimed performance in "Suicide Squad," and she is even starring in another movie coming to theaters in February, 2019: "Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn"). Elba, meanwhile, is a proven movie star, and will appear in another action-packed, physically demanding role this summer as the villain in the "Fast and Furious" spin-off, "Hobbs and Shaw."
With Gunn at the helm, the sequel seems to be course correcting, a familiar theme among the DC movies. The DC movie universe is focusing on what has proven to be successful, such as the standalone stories in "Wonder Woman" and "Aquaman" (a sequel and spin-off to "Aquaman" are already in the works).
Below is every upcoming DC movie with an official release date:
- "Shazam!" — April 5, 2019
- "Joker" — October 4, 2019
- "Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)" — February 7, 2020
- "Wonder Woman 1984" — June 5, 2020
- "The Batman" — June 25, 2021
- "The Suicide Squad" — August 6, 2021
- "Aquaman 2" — December 16, 2022
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