If you were wondering how different the Suicide Squad sequel/relaunch will be from its predecessor, we now have at least one answer: It won’t feature its top-billed star. Will Smith is out as Deadshot, the bald-and-bearded assassin who served as semi-leader to the motley crew of baddies-turned-sorta-goodies.
This comes from Variety, who say the exit was “amicable” and that it mostly had to do with scheduling and not, say, any potential plans incoming series director James Gunn’s has to make the sequel a lot more fun than the grimy, whiskey-soaked first. In fact, even with a shooting date planned for the fall, there’s still little word on how much the next Suicide Squad will be different. That said, the only returning cast member so far is Margot Robbie, who will reprise giddy destructor (and sometime Joker gal pal) Harley Quinn both here and in the all-female spin-off Birds of Prey.
The first Suicide Squad, released in 2016, was a production nightmare, plagued with re-shoots and re-edits that transformed what was likely a heavier, uglier, more unpleasant film into a romp with lots of Queen and Sabbath on the soundtrack. In other words, it was probably more in line with previous films by director David Ayer, like the gritty cop saga End of Watch and the punishing World War II grinder Fury.
Gunn, meanwhile, was infamously removed from the Guardians of the Galaxy wing of the MCU by Disney execs, who got cold feet after right-wing pundits dug up some of his old, super-dirty joke tweets. Will he try to make the next Suicide Squad goofier? Almost certainly. But if so he’ll have to do it without Will Smith. Shame — inserting goofball fun into blockbusters was kind of how Smith became a movie star.