Following the news that Will Smith had left the cast of Suicide Squad 2, Idris Elba is now in talks to replace the actor as Deadshot in the DC film, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Sources said that Elba and Director James Gunn met on Friday and the encounter went so well that the studio immediately began talks over the role. Elba was reportedly “the first and only choice for Gunn and the studio.”
Warners Bros. is apparently very high on Suicide Squad 2 and its script, penned by Gunn. The studio rushed the project into the casting process after receiving several drafts. The project remained stagnant for a couple of years, switching out a number of writers and directors before landing Gunn as a director.
Smith’s exit from the franchise is described as being amicable, as he wasn’t officially signed on for the sequel. Ultimately, the decision came down to scheduling conflicts for the Bright actor.
The Suicide Squad sequel is described as a new take on the franchise that will feature a cast of primarily all-new characters. It is not clear as to which characters will return from the first film, which also included portrayals of comic mainstays like the Joker, Captain Boomerang, and Killer Croc. The original film had government operative Amanda Waller imposing a dangerous assignment on the villains, offering them shorter prison sentences in return for completing a secret mission
Gunn’s Suicide Squad 2 has a release date of August 6, 2021. That puts it almost seven years after the director’s film Guardians of the Galaxy, which was his first ever entry big-budget comic book films. Gunn was fired by Disney from the third Guardians of the Galaxy movie in July after past offensive tweets of his were uncovered by an online conservative group. It wasn’t long before Warner Bros. recruited him for its DC Expanded Universe.
Margot Robbie is currently the only cast members confirmed to return so far. She will reprise her role as Harley Quinn, a character she will also portray in Birds of Prey, which is expected to release February 7, 2020.
Gunn is considering a September start date for the Atlanta-based production. A release date for the sequel is set for August 6, 2021.
Elba will host Saturday Night Live this weekend, while his next big screen role is Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw. The actor is currently filming the big screen adaptation of the Broadway musical Cats, in which he plays Macavity.