James Gunn Is Dropping Deadshot From ‘The Suicide Squad’ And Shifting Idris Elba To A Different Role

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James Gunn’s total relaunch of a Suicide Squad not only aims to shake up the 2016 assortment of supervillains, but there’s been some big changes since the Guardians of the Galaxy helmer took over the project. While some of us are still waiting for confirmation that Gunn’s dumping the blob people, another drop has occurred instead. This follows Will Smith stepping away from the Deadshot role due to scheduling issues with Idris Elba replacing Smith. Gunn apparently refashioned the script to dive deep into Deadshot’s backstory, but Variety is now reporting further developments, which feel a little chaotic.

The trade outlet reveals that Gunn is altogether writing Deadshot out of the project, and Elba will still be on board, but within a different, unknown role. This decision was made, reportedly, because “all parties” agreed that it was best to “move on” from the character:

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.

Variety notes that this move obviously leaves the door open for a potential return from Smith as the assassin who never misses, whether that’s within a threequel or other DCEU movie. That makes sense, given that Smith didn’t leave the project due to strife or any other “creative differences,” he simply couldn’t work the project into his packed schedule. It will be intriguing to see who on earth Elba might be playing, but there’s other reported casting news about the project also surfacing.

According to The Wrap, Viola Davis will return as Amanda Waller. This seems odd, given that her government agent appeared to want nothing to do with the Squad during a post-credits scene, but maybe she will only appear briefly, and Warner Bros. hasn’t even confirmed that report yet. Nor do we know whether Joel Kinnaman will be back as Rick Flag. Recent rumors suggested that he wouldn’t return, but Kinnaman has remained vague when questioned. In other words, stay tuned!

The Suicide Squad will arrive in theaters on August 6, 2021.

(Via Variety, The Wrap & NME)