The Suicide Squad is an upcoming American superhero film based on the DC Comics antihero team Suicide Squad. Set for distribution by Warner Bros. Pictures, it is intended to be a soft reboot and standalone sequel to Suicide Squad (2016) and the tenth film in the DC Films shared universe. The film, written and directed by James Gunn, stars an ensemble cast led by Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Peter Capaldi, and Viola Davis.[1]

Plans for a sequel to Suicide Squad began before that film's release and were confirmed in March 2016. Though director David Ayer was initially set to return, he dropped out in December 2016 in favor of Gotham City Sirens. Warner Bros. considered multiple directors, including Mel Gibson and Daniel Espinosa, before hiring Gavin O'Connor in September 2017. However, O'Connor left the project a year later due to creative differences. In October 2018, James Gunn, who at the time had been fired by The Walt Disney Company from directing the Marvel Studios film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, was hired to write the film, and signed on to direct in January 2019. Gunn looked to the 1980s Suicide Squad comics for inspiration and chose to focus on new characters rather than continue the 2016 film's narrative. Principal photography began in Atlanta, Georgia in September 2019, and concluded in Panama in February 2020.

The Suicide Squad is scheduled to be released in the United States on August 6, 2021. A spin-off television series centered on Peacemaker is in development for HBO Max.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Production[edit | edit source]

Development[edit | edit source]

In March 2016, ahead of the release of Suicide Squad, Warner Bros. Pictures announced a sequel was in development. David Ayer and Will Smith were attached to reprise their respective roles as director and Deadshot, and filming was on track to begin in 2017 after the pair completed work on Bright.[18][19] The following month, Ayer expressed an interest in making the sequel R-rated,[20] but by December had exited in favor of directing Gotham City Sirens.[21] Warner Bros. entered negotiations with Mel Gibson to direct shortly afterwards,[22] but he passed after production delays.[23] Daniel Espinosa, Jonathan Levine, and Ruben Fleischer were also under consideration.[22][24] In March 2017, The Legend of Tarzan writer Adam Cozad was hired to write the screenplay. The Suicide Squad sequel was said to be a priority for Warner Bros., with a focus on coming up with a story.[25]

Warner Bros.' top choice to direct was Jaume Collet-Serra, but he passed in favor of Disney's Jungle Cruise because he did not like the idea of continuing a story another director started.[26][27] David S. Goyer was also considered to direct the film.[28] In July, Zak Penn pitched a new story treatment and had begun a new draft as a favor for the studio.[23][29] At San Diego Comic-Con that month, the film was officially titled Suicide Squad 2.[30] By August, Jared Leto was set to reprise his role as the Joker from the first film,[31] and Variety reported production would not begin until late 2018 because of Smith's production schedule on Aladdin and Gemini Man.[32] In September, Gavin O'Connor was hired to direct and co-write the film with Warrior screenwriter Anthony Tambakis.[33][34] Michael De Luca joined the project as producer alongside Charles Roven.[35] O'Connor brought in David Bar Katz and Todd Stashwick to co-write the screenplay in June 2018,[36] which was finished in September and featured the Suicide Squad attempting to track down Black Adam.[37][38] According to VarietyTemplate:'s Justin Kroll, O'Connor's script was too similar to the one for Birds of Prey, which Warner Bros. gave a green-light to first. Frustrated, O'Connor withdrew from the project in favor of The Way Back.[39]

Months earlier, in July 2018, The Walt Disney Company and Marvel Studios dismissed James Gunn from directing the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after old controversial tweets surrounding topics such as rape and pedophilia began circulating.[40] As a result, Warner Bros. immediately became interested in recruiting him to direct a DC Films movie,[41][42] and offered him a number of properties, including Superman.[43] Gunn chose the Suicide Squad sequel, and by the time he completed his exit settlement with Disney and Marvel in October, Warner Bros. hired him to write the screenplay and potentially direct.[44][45] Ayer supported the decision, saying that Gunn's hiring was a "brave and smart move" by Warner Bros. and calling him "the right man for the job",[46] while fellow Guardians of the Galaxy alumnus Dave Bautista expressed interest in appearing in the film.[39]

Pre-production[edit | edit source]

By January 2019, Gunn had been hired to direct and Warner Bros. retitled the film The Suicide Squad, with production set to start in September for a scheduled August 6, 2021 release date.[47][48] Charles Roven and Peter Safran were also attached to produce.[49] Safran stated the film was retitled "because it's a total reboot ... It's everything you would hope from a James Gunn script and I think that says a lot and that promises a lot and I know that we will deliver a lot."[42] Although Disney had reinstated Gunn as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 by March, production for that film would not begin until he completed his work on The Suicide Squad and its spin-off television series for Peacemaker.[50][51]

In February 2019, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed Smith would not be reprising his role as Deadshot from the first film due to scheduling conflicts.[52] Gunn met with Idris Elba to discuss replacing him, which "went so swimmingly that talks began with the studio in earnest." Elba, who was the only choice of Gunn and Warner Bros., signed on to portray Deadshot in March.[53] However, by April, Gunn and Warner Bros. had decided to have Elba portray a different character, which would enable Smith to return in a future film.[2] At that time, Viola Davis and Margot Robbie had been confirmed to return as Amanda Waller and Harley Quinn,[2][9] while Jai Courtney announced he would be reprising his role as Captain Boomerang in an interview.[10] The involvement of Joel Kinnaman, who portrayed Rick Flag in the first film, was initially unclear,[53] but he was set to return by July.[8][7] Leto's involvement was also unclear,[42] and unlike Kinnaman, he was not expected to appear by September as Gunn felt the character wasn't necessary.[54][55]

At this point, production of The Suicide Squad was set to begin after Robbie finished her work on Birds of Prey.[56] The Suicide Squad was described as a new take on the property rather than a direct sequel to the 2016 film.[11] Unlike Ayer, who was primarily inspired by the New 52 Suicide Squad comics, Gunn drew inspiration from the 1980s comics by John Ostrander and Kim Yale.[57] As such, Gunn decided to focus more on characters who were not introduced in Suicide Squad, such as a female version of the Ratcatcher, Polka-Dot Man, King Shark, and Peacemaker.[11][58] During pre-production, he also considered adding Sportsmaster, Kite Man and the Section 8 character Dogwelder to the film's Suicide Squad team, but ultimately decided against using them.[59][60][61] Gunn was said to be considering casting Bautista as Peacemaker,[58] though this could not happen due to scheduling conflicts.[62] In April, David Dastmalchian and Daniela Melchior were cast as Polka-Dot Man and Ratcatcher, respectively.[11][63] John Cena entered talks for an unspecified role.[64] In July, Storm Reid joined the cast, while Cena's involvement was confirmed.[7] In August, Flula Borg and Nathan Fillion were cast in an undisclosed roles,[17][65] and Steve Agee was hired to voice King Shark,[15] with Taika Waititi entering negotiations to join in an unspecified role.[66] In September, Peter Capaldi joined the cast, and Pete Davidson entered negotiations for a cameo.[67] The remainder of the cast was confirmed later in the month.[12]

Filming[edit | edit source]

Principal photography began on September 20, 2019, at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Atlanta, Georgia.[67][68] Filming in Atlanta was expected to last three months before transitioning to Panama for a month.[69] Joel Kinnaman described the film as a comedy.[70] Filming wrapped on February 28, 2020.[71]

Post-production[edit | edit source]

In April 2020, Gunn confirmed that he was editing the film at his home and that the COVID-19 pandemic had not affected the film's post-production and release date at that time.[72] A behind-the-scenes featurette was released on August 22, during the virtual DC FanDome event. The film was described as a being like a 1970s war movie.[73] Gunn has cited The Dirty Dozen (1967) and City of God (2002) as influences and inspirations for the film.[74]

Music[edit | edit source]

John Murphy will compose the soundtrack for The Suicide Squad, marking Gunn's first film without a score composed by Tyler Bates.[75]

Release[edit | edit source]

The Suicide Squad is scheduled to be released by Warner Bros. Pictures in the United States on August 6, 2021.[49]

Spin-off series[edit | edit source]

In September 2020, Gunn announced that a spin-off television series centered on Peacemaker was in development for HBO Max and that he would write the episodes and direct some of them, and executive produce it with Safran and have Cena reprising his role.[76][51]

References[edit | edit source]

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