James Gunn's DC Comics endeavor will officially be titled The Suicide Squad. Although it appears to be arriving in the same interconnected universe as 2016's Suicide Squad movie before it and feature some of the same characters, it will not be a sequel to that movie.
"It's called The Suicide Squad,' Shazam! producer Peter Safran told ComicBook.com. "It's not Suicide Squad 2. It is not a sequel. I will leave that alone but, yes, it's called The Suicide Squad."
The Suicide Squad remains quite mysterious, but has revealed a few details in terms of its cast. Jai Courtney and Viola Davis are expected to reprise their roles as Captain Boomerang and Amanda Waller, respectively. Meanwhile, Will Smith's Deadshot has been recast with Idris Elba stepping into the role. Gunn became the director of the film when he was fired from directing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. He has since been re-hired for the Marvel film but will direct The Suicide Squad first.
Though the early efforts in the current big screen world offered up for DC Comics characters focused heavily on tying together characters for crossovers and references, the focus recently and moving forward will be on independent films. Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Shazam! have all proved to have positive responses without relying on interconnectivity to earn praise from critics or success at the box office.
"I think that is the goal," Safran said in an earlier interview. "It is giving heroes their time to shine and not feeling like you have to shoehorn in some universal connection amongst them all. The studio's been incredibly supportive and DC's been supportive about saying, 'Take the time that you need to introduce these characters in the right way and tell the stories that audiences want to see with these characters.'"
In the weeks which have followed early screening, Safran and his team have certainly enjoyed the positive remarks following their recent effort with Shazam!.
"It is so unbelievably satisfying to get this kind of response," Safran said. "It's so difficult to make a movie that really connects with the critics and, you hope, with the audiences, which we'll discover this weekend, but it seems like it really is. It's really hard to do that, and particularly when you're trying for a tone that is somewhat unusual and perhaps a bit of a throwback, and so the fact that our touchstone was always those movies, the early Amblin movies, of Goonies and Gremlins and Ghostbusters, that was always the touchstone, the fact that we really managed to thread that needle feels incredibly good. We did something special, and you don't always get rewarded for doing something unique and different in this business. People seem to have really embraced it."
The Suicide Squad does not yet have a release date. Shazam! is now playing in theaters.