The Suicide Squad: Everything we know about James Gunn’s sequel

Despite scathing reviews, DC’s 2016 film Suicide Squad was a financial success, raking in more than $745 million worldwide. It should be no surprise then that Warner Bros. Pictures announced plans for The Suicide Squad, a sequel that will follow a new team of villains forced to complete a dangerous mission.

Directed by James Gunn, The Suicide Squad will be a soft reboot of the film franchise set within WB’s interconnected universe of DC Comics characters, but not a direct sequel to the 2016 film. The film has already assembled an impressive cast that includes several returning characters — including Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn — and a long list of newcomers to the DC Extended Universe, including John Cena, Taika Waititi, Idris Elba, Nathan Fillion, Peter Capaldi, and Pete Davidson.

With The Suicide Squad scheduled to hit theaters August 6, 2021, here’s everything we know about the movie so far.

A personal director’s note

After principal filming wrapped in Atlanta in March, director James Gunn posted a picture of some of The Suicide Squad’s cast and crew, with an especially personal note. Most directors post something on social media after filming concludes but Gunn’s hits an especially poignant note.

Gunn reveals that this film’s production was marred by personal tragedy. His father died two weeks before shooting started and his dog died two weeks before it ended. Naturally, that made work tough, but Gunn said that despite the circumstances, it was “the most fulfilling time I’ve ever had making a movie.”

Slated for summer 2021, The Suicide Squad still has a ways to go before release but Gunn’s deeply personal, existentially optimistic note may inspire some confidence for the quick reboot.

Harley Quinn’s new look

Fresh off the premiere of her team-up film Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey, Margot Robbie was spotted on the set of The Suicide Squad with director James Gunn. A photo snapped of Robbie reveals the new look she’ll be sporting as Harley Quinn in the film.

The full cast

After a year of rumors and speculation regarding the cast of The Suicide Squad, director James Gunn revealed the official cast list for the film in September 2019. The list was made public on Twitter, with Gunn offering fans a cryptic warning: “Don’t get too attached.”

Returning from the 2016 movie along with Robbie will be actress Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, and Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flagg. They’ll be joined by John Cena, Taika Waititi, Pete Davidson, and Idris Elba in unidentified roles, as well as Firefly actor Nathan Fillion and former Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi.

Among the new characters confirmed for the film are Daniela Melchior as Ratcatcher,and David Dastmalchian as Polka-Dot Man. Additional cast members playing unidentified roles include include Flula Borg, Sean Gunn, Jennifer Holland, Mayling Ng, Storm Reid, Alice Braga, Michael Rooker, Joaquín Cosío, Juan Diego Botto, Tinashe Kajese, and Julio Ruiz.

Gunn posted a photo of himself with several of the film’s cast members later that month.

From left to right, the photo features Flula Borg, Daniela Melchior, David Dastmalchian, Gunn, Jennifer Holland, Nathan Fillion, Sean Gunn, and Mayling Ng.

Two cast members who won’t be returning are Will Smith and Jared Leto, who played Deadshot and Joker, respectively, in the first film. The two actors aren’t expected to reprise their roles for The Suicide Squad.

The director change-up

James Gunn was temporarily dropped from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 by Marvel Studios due to a controversy regarding insensitive jokes he posted on Twitter years earlier, WB hired the celebrated filmmaker to helm and write The Suicide Squad. He was first hired to rewrite the script, but later signed on as director in October 2018.

Initially, Warner Bros. tapped Gavin O’Connor to direct the Suicide Squad sequel. O’Connor, directed the action film The Accountant and wrote a script for the movie, but allegedly left the project after Birds of Preywhich allegedly has a very similar plot, got the green light instead.

Before O’Connor landed the job, other directors rumored to be on WB’s short list included Mel Gibson — apparently back in demand after the success of Hacksaw Ridge. Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra, who directed the shark attack movie The Shallows, seemed to be the top choice for the film at first, but he took another gig, directing Disney’s Jungle Cruise.

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