The Suicide Squad is definitely not a reboot but it's also not a sequel. This is the message producer Peter Safran hammered home to members of the press on the film's set back in 2019. Safran continually promised, "We don't address it," when faced with questions about how James Gunn's new DC Comics movie will connect to or acknowledge the original Suicide Squad movie from David Ayer. Safran said this as though it were an easy thing to comprehend; a movie which returns cast members as a sequel would but simultaneously acts as though the predecessor does not exist. It seems like a point moviegoers will better comprehend upon seeing the movie as the new adventure is also promised to not contradict previous stories from the original Squad, Birds of Prey, or other DC Comics titles involving The Suicide Squad's characters.
"We just don't address it any tangible form," Safran said. "Yes, they're the characters, the actors that played them in the first movie. But we really wanted to make sure that this stands on its own two feet. So again, it's why you can't really call it... It's not a sequel, but there are some characters that were in the first movie, right? So it's not really a full reboot either. So we just call it James Gunn's The Suicide Squad."
When asked if the events of the first film have happened: "We don't address it." Is there any thread connecting The Suicide Squad to Margot Robbie's Birds of Prey movie? "Not really. No. It's very much a standalone film."
The concept of a Suicide Squad (a group of jailed super villains who have bombs implanted in their heads with the opportunity to listen to Amanda Waller's commands and reduce their sentences or die) is not going to be a new things. "It's business as usual," as Safran explained it, though they won't be calling back to previous on-screen events.
Safran sees the newcomers as an opportunity to set the film apart from the 2016 film while also keeping actors and characters which fans enjoyed around. For example, the film once considered having Will Smith reprise the role of Deadshot but a quick move from pitch to production didn't allow for the schedules to align. "I think that what really distinguishes [the characters] from whoever they were in the first movie is James' writing, the way he writes these characters," Safran said. "Again, he was not beholden to anything that existed from the first film so he really got to give his version of: this is what Rick Flag would be. This is what Harley Quinn would be. This is who Boomerang would be. So everything from dialogue, back story, wardrobe, it's all just whatever James felt best suited these particular characters"
Fans can see this formula at work in recent DC Comics movies. For example, Aquaman, Shazam!, and Birds of Prey did little to tie themselves to the Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, Justice League, or Suicide Squad movies before them which could have easily had strong ties, references, or influences on each films' characters.
"I think Suicide Squad very much is in line with what we did on Aquaman and Shazam! in the sense that the ideas make a great standalone movie," Safran said. He would know, having served as a producer on both of those films. "That's what we're doing here. We're just making a great movie, we hope. But that's the focus. It doesn't have to live within some broader universe automatically."
Safran also described Gunn's work in this R-rated romp as "a different perspective and point of view than what David Ayer did." The cast members, meanwhile, have varied takes on the subject. Javelin actor Flula Borg admits he never saw the original film while Peacemaker actor John Cena says the divisive reactions from critics and fans gave him an added motivation to jump in and change minds with this new film. For more info about ComicBook.com's time on the set of The Suicide Squad, check out the 11 best secrets we learned from the cast and crew!
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