Whether or not he was in talks to play Peacemaker, as persistent rumors held at the time, Guardians of the Galaxy franchise star Dave Bautista definitely was having conversation with James Gunn about jumping to DC to take a role on The Suicide Squad at one point. The actor, who was Gunn's most vocal defender when Disney fired him off Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3 (Gunn has since been rehired), repeatedly said that he did not know whether he wanted to, or would, return to the role of Drax the Destroyer if Gunn was not reinstated as the film's director by the studio.
His passion for working with Gunn, his career trajectory, and his work with Warner Bros. on Blade Runner 2049 all made Bautista seem like a likely candidate to join DC's interconnected movie universe in a role from Suicide Squad, although right around the same time Gunn was reinstated at Marvel/Disney, reports were that Bautista had been unable to schedule a part in The Suicide Squad around existing commitments. No surprise there, really; Gunn is still doing Guardians 3 right after The Suicide Squad, so scheduling around both films is no doubt incredibly tight. After all those rumors, though, The Hollywood Reporter finally asked outright whether or not it was ever a conversation Bautista and Gunn had.
His answer was to the point. "We did," he told THR with a laugh. "Yeah, we did."
With Viola Davis returning as Amanda Waller, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flagg, and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, there are still some openings on the team — especially with the confirmed departure of Will Smith's Deadshot.
Instead, we're getting a new alpha in the pack with Idris Elba joining the cast. His role has not been revealed just yet, but current rumors indicate that Elba is playing longtime Squad member Bronze Tiger, one of the most prominent characters from the comics.
“I have been an enormous fan of [Suicide Squad] in all its [DC Comics] incarnations - but to me there will always be something special about the [John Ostrander] run,” Gunn wrote on Twitter when the project started coming together. “Black ops military tales with disposable, often forgotten super villains?! Pure perfection.”
The Suicide Squad is currently on track to release in theaters on August 6, 2021.