James Gunn, who had already been confirmed as the writer of Warner Bros.' 2021 Suicide Squad movie, is now officially in talks to direct the film.
The Guardians of the Galaxy director was fired at Marvel over the summer, after activists dredged up decade-old social media posts and created a controversy around them to get back at Gunn for comments he had made about right-wing U.S. politicians. Three months later, Warner Bros. had picked him up to write The Suicide Squad, which will be a kind of soft reboot of the franchise. At the time, rumor was that he might direct but had not committed to it.
“It’s official that we have got a new member of the DC family: acclaimed writer/director James Gunn has been attached to write Suicide Squad 2,” said host Tiffany Smith. “Gunn is poised to bring a completely fresh take to the franchise after the first film was written and directed by David Ayer.”
Filmmaker Gavin O'Connor had been tapped to direct Suicide Squad 2, but according to Variety's Justin Kroll, pitched a script similar to the upcoming Birds of Prey movie, which got greenlit before Suicide Squad 2 could. O'Connor stepped away to take on his next project, Has Been. He will presumably still work with Warner Bros. on the sequel to Ben Affleck's The Accountant if that gets off the ground.
Warner Bros. just announced that the film, which has been discussed as a refresh of the Suicide Squad brand after the first one made a bunch of money but failed to connect with critics, will be in theaters in August of 2021. This non-sequel sequel will reportedly also star familiar characters like Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Killer Croc, Captain Boomerang, and the Joker.
There is no word on whether recasting is needed for Gunn’s take on the DCEU franchise, but that seems somewhat unlikely given that Will Smith recently suggested that he is still open to a Deadshot follow-up.
If Gunn does sign on to direct Suicide Squad 2, it’ll show fans the director is moving on from his buzzed-about exit from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The director was fired by Disney after controversial tweets from Gunn surfaced from years past. The sudden decision prompted outrage from fans and MCU cast members who asked for Disney to reconsider, but recent reports only doubled down on Disney’s decision to axe Gunn.