Though the next installment in the “Suicide Squad” franchise is moving full-steam ahead with the addition of Idris Elba to the team, the movie will now move forward without one of its main characters.
Though it was previously reported that Elba would be replacing Will Smith as Deadshot in the new pic, sources now tell Variety that all parties including director James Gunn have decided to move on from the Deadshot character, with Elba playing a new character in “The Suicide Squad.”
Warner Bros. had no comment on the decision.
It is unknown what character Elba would now be playing, but after taking the last few weeks to discuss, everyone involved felt this was the right move. The team also did not want to feel as if it was disrespecting Smith, who helped bring this character to life for the first time, by replacing him with Elba. While many believe chances are still slim for a future return, the decision keeps the door open for Smith to possibly come back in future films, since his original reason for leaving had to do with scheduling and not creative differences.
Variety first reported in February that Smith would not be appearing in the next film and Warner Bros. and Gunn moved instantly to add Elba to the team after the director and actor sat down days after Smith’s departure. The meeting went so well that Elba agreed on the spot to join the next installment, but even at that time it was not set in stone whether he’d be playing Deadshot or a brand new member of the team.
With this decision, it looks like the only three characters expected to return are Harley Quinn with Margot Robbie, Jai Courtney’s Captain Boomerang, and Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller. Gunn is in the process of casting the remaining team members with production expected to start in the fall. The film is scheduled to bow on Aug. 6, 2021.
The original “Suicide Squad” — starring Smith, Jared Leto and Robbie — became a massive box office sensation when it hit theaters in 2016, grossing $746 million worldwide.