Following the departure of Will Smith, who played Floyd Lawton/Deadshot in David Ayer's Suicide Squad, Warner Bros. is reportedly considering whether to recast Smith, or replace Deadshot with another DC character and move forward.
We are firmly in the "replace" camp -- in part because it would allow Michael Rowe to reprise the role of Floyd Lawton on Arrow -- something that would have particular relevance if -- as rumored -- the show is preparing to begin its final season in the fall.
Smith will not be returning for The Suicide Squad, apparently exiting the franchise entirely. The new movie is set to be written and directed by James Gunn, who is jumping ship to the DC Comics universe after being fired from Disney and Marvel Studios from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
According to Variety, Smith and Warners blamed his departure on scheduling conflicts; the parties both decided to move forward on amicable terms, possibly leaving the door open for a return in the future.
Journalist Justin Kroll followed up his story by tweeting, "One item I forgot to add to
That inspired my follow-up:
You know who should replace Will Smith as Deadshot in the Suicide Squad movie?
Nobody. Give the character an offscreen happy ending and open up his availability to appear on #Arrow again, especially if the show really is gearing up for an ending.— Russ Burlingame (@russburlingame) February 28, 2019
While DC has never formally acknowledged that numerous Suicide Squad characters, including Deadshot, were taken off the board in the Arrowverse because they were being used in the feature films, the pattern has been repeated often enough that it seems pretty obvious.
While Superman, The Flash, and other A-list characters get multiple live-action iterations at a time, it seems that characters with a lower profile do not get that kind of flexibility for one reason or another. Ahead of the Suicide Squad film release, Deadshot was seemingly killed on Arrow, Katana was written off, and Amanda Waller was murdered, leaving John Diggle's wife Lyla Michaels in charge of ARGUS.
The current "Ghost Initiative" is a pretty clear riff on the Suicide Squad that ARGUS was running before, but with a different name.
With Oliver Queen the odds-on favorite to be a fatality in next fall's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover, it seems likely that Arrow will be wrapping up its run with the upcoming season 8. If that is the case, it would be difficult to argue that Deadshot -- one of the first recognizable DC characters to appear on the show and one of the most frequently-repeating villains for the first few seasons -- does not deserve a better final chapter than the one he got.
Will Smith is, realistically, not replaceable anyway. The actor is incredibly charismatic, has a huge fan base and is one of the biggest A-list names in Hollywood. The next person to play Deadshot in a live-action theatrical feature will have an uphill slog anyway, so why subject someone to that, when choosing not to do so would likely give Arrow flexibility to bring Rowe back one last time?
Gunn's movie is said to be a relaunch of the original film and not a full-on reboot, likely featuring many new characters. Apparently, the studio wanted the main franchise players of Will Smith and Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn to return while introducing a new slate of walking time bombs to flesh out the ranks of Task Force X.
Given that the roster of the DC Comics team regularly changes, seeing new characters and performers in the upcoming film would fall in line with their comic book roots. With Smith now out of the picture, it would likely make more sense to start from scratch and replace all of the characters from the first film, though with production reportedly beginning this fall, it's possible that Gunn's script already includes Deadshot, which would potentially require rewrites to compensate for the character's absence.
Robbie will next return in next year's Birds of Prey, which is currently filming.
The Suicide Squad is slated to land in theaters on August 6, 2021.
Do you think the film should replace the actor or the character altogether? Let us know in the comments below!
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