Idris Elba in the Suicide Squad sequel

While Idris Elba is still appearing in Suicide Squad sequel The Suicide Squad, he won’t be playing Deadshot after all. Elba was previously announced to be taking over the role from Will Smith after Smith left due to scheduling issues. Now, it’s been revealed Deadshot has been removed from the movie entirely, and Elba will play a new character. The reasoning behind this move lies in the hopes that Smith might return as Deadshot for future sequels.

Just what the heck is going on with James Gunn‘s Suicide Squad sequel? Word on the street was that the film was going to be something of a reboot, but since then, we’ve learned that original cast members Viola Davis and Jai Courtney are both returning, and Margot Robbie is supposedly coming back as well. Will Smith’s Deadshoot was supposed to return, but that’s where things got tricky. Smith had to drop out due to scheduling, at which point Idris Elba stepped in. But now, Variety says Elba is playing a completely new character. We don’t know who that character is, but it won’t be Deadshot.

Everyone involved with the movie apparently thought this was the best decision, as there was some concern over “disrespecting Smith, who helped bring this character to life for the first time, by replacing him with Elba.” There’s also a hope that if more Suicide Squad sequels happen further down the line, Smith might be willing to slip on that goofy Deadshot helmet again and reprise the role.

I’m not particularly attached to Deadshot as a character, so I can’t say this news bothers me. I’m just happy the film will find a new role for Elba instead of cutting him loose completely. Elba is a strong actor who has had very bad luck in movies, and I’m hoping this will be a chance for him to finally break out in a big way. Now we just need to figure out who he’s playing.

James Gunn is writing and directing the film, having landed the gig soon after being fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Since then, however, Gunn was re-hired to helm Guardians, and will now direct both superhero sequels. While we know that Suicide Squad characters Amanda Waller and Captain Boomerang will be back, and that Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is expected to return as well, it’s also been reported that The Suicide Squad will feature new characters – King Shark, Polka-Dot Man, Peacemaker and Ratcatcher.

The Suicide Squad opens August 6, 2021.

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