Warner Bros. and DC's upcoming Suicide Squad sequel, James Gunn's The Suicide Squad, could be R-rated according to new reports. When the (unofficially titled) DC Extended Universe kicked off, it was with a focus on the Justice League heroes like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman. But with the expansion of the DCEU came David Ayer's Suicide Squad, which introduced audiences to Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, who quickly became a fan-favorite. As such, the studio put a number of Harley-centric movies into development, but the one to move forward first is Cathy Yan's Birds of Prey, which is set to hit theaters in early 2020. After that, Robbie will reprise the role again in Gunn's Suicide Squad sequel.
It's been reported for some time that Birds of Prey would be R-rated, which would make it the second in Warner Bros' Worlds of DC franchise, following Todd Phillips' Joker earlier this year. However, it would be the first DCEU movie to be R-rated, since Joker exists in a separate universe. But Birds of Prey and Joker may not be the last Worlds of DC movies to be R-rated, as new reports indicate Gunn's Suicide Squad sequel could be as well.
Today, Variety reports that Birds of Prey is expected to be R-rated, but it hasn't officially been rated just yet by the MPAA. Further, "insiders predict" The Suicide Squad will be R-rated as well, though with the film not hitting theaters until 2021, it will be some time until that report is confirmed or not.
Considering the massive success of Joker, which earned over $1 billion worldwide with an R rating, Warner Bros. and DC have no doubt seen that R-rated comic book movies can be viable properties. Certainly, Hollywood saw similar success with both Deadpool and Logan, the former of which was the highest grossing X-Men movie until its sequel (and the sequel's PG-13 cut) released. Still, Warner Bros. tested out its own R-rated comic book adaptation with Joker, a movie unconnected to the DCEU and utilizing the most recognizable DC villain. While Birds of Prey includes Harley Quinn, and the trailer makes sure to focus on Robbie's villainess, it's arguably a less viable project than Joker in terms of R-rated offerings, and The Suicide Squad even less so at this point with so little knowledge about the film.
That said, the Suicide Squad sequel will also include Harley Quinn in some capacity and Gunn's Suicide Squad cast is stacked with a number of stars, character actors and up-and-comers in addition to returning leads like Robbie, Viola Davis and Jai Courtney. Plus, Gunn has a knack for tackling movies about lesser-known superhero teams, as seen with his success on Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy film series. While Suicide Squad is a much different property than Guardians, the director is no stranger to R-rated movies, and DC giving him the freedom of an R rating could allow the sequel to flourish. Considering the complaints of Ayer's Suicide Squad being PG-13, an R-rated Suicide Squad could certainly right that particular ship within the DCEU. However, until the rating is confirmed, fans will have to wait and see what Gunn does with The Suicide Squad.