It didn’t take long for former Guardians of the Galaxy franchise writer and director James Gunn to find a new comic book movie franchise.
Gunn is reportedly in talks to write — and possibly direct — the next Suicide Squad movie for Warner Bros. Pictures and its live-action DC Comics cinematic universe. According to io9, Gunn will approach the project with an entirely new take on the property, which could mean it won’t be a direct sequel to the 2016 film written and directed by David Ayer.
The report comes as a bit of a surprise, given Gunn’s high-profile exit from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 at Marvel Studios in July. Disney terminated its relationship with Gunn after a right-wing extremist initiated a campaign to have him removed from the project due to his political beliefs and criticism of U.S. President Donald Trump. The leader of the campaign to oust Gunn unearthed offensive messages the filmmaker posted on Twitter years ago (and had apologized for but not removed), and encouraged his followers to complain to Disney about the messages.
The studio responded by immediately severing its relationship with Gunn.
In the time since Gunn’s departure, the Guardians of the Galaxy cast and various other public personalities have called on Disney to reverse their decision, and criticized the studio for caving to the demands of — as they described it — “those so easily duped into believing the many outlandish conspiracy theories surrounding [Gunn].”
If the report proves true, Gunn will become one of the most notable filmmakers to make the leap from Marvel’s superhero universe to that of its main rival, Warner Bros. Pictures. The pairing of Gunn and the Suicide Squad property — which typically involves a group of villains forced to undertake a seemingly impossible mission in order to earn their freedom — also seems like a brilliant match, given the filmmaker’s talent for handling ensemble casts.
Released in August 2016 and starring Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and Viola Davis, Suicide Squad was panned by critics and general audiences, but still managed to earn a respectable $325.1 million in U.S. theaters and $746.8 million worldwide. It also featured the debut of Jared Leto as another incarnation of the villain Joker.
There’s been no official confirmation of Gunn’s attachment to the Suicide Squad sequel at this point. There’s also no official release date set for the next Suicide Squad movie at this timet.