James Gunn's The Suicide Squad isn't a "total reboot" of the DC franchise despite reports to the contrary. The follow-up to 2016's Suicide Squad has been one of DC and Warner Bros. more mysterious and buzzed-about entries since Gunn joined the project. The director/writer was hot off his dismissal from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, a decision which Marvel and Disney have since reversed. As such The Suicide Squad was seen to be a big move for Gunn and even larger step in the supposed war between Marvel and DC.
The dust is beginning to settle on The Suicide Squad's mystery. The movie has received a proper title and release date, while a few character details about the new Suicide Squad team have been reported. However, there's continually reports that The Suicide Squad will be a complete overhaul of the original film and share nothing in common with original director David Ayer's vision. However, while James Gunn is taking Suicide Squad in its own direction and likely adding his very specific voice to the franchise, the new movie isn't a hard reboot. It's a still a sequel to the original - just as Wonder Woman 1984 is despite claims to the contrary - just not a very conventional type.
To be clear, all the rumors and reports surrounding The Suicide Squad do suggest that'll be a very different movie than the original film. This is probably for the best too. While 2016's Suicide Squad had a decent box office take, especially internationally, it's widely considered one of the worst entries in the DCEU. It's understandable that DC, Warner Bros. and James Gunn would want a clean creative slate with the new movie, but there's no avoiding it still follows the first.
That Gunn's The Suicide Squad is still set in the DC Cinematic Universe, meaning the events of the first film are undeniably canon, has been repeatedly stated by reports surrounding the film and the rest of the DCEU at large. While it's unclear if Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn will make an appearance in Gunn's film, she's still a part of the team in-universe. The upcoming Birds of Prey movie which stars Robbie's Harley will treat her journey in Suicide Squad as a part of her backstory.
There's a slightly more complicated situation with's Suicide Squad's male lead Deadshot. Will Smith, who played Floyd Lawton in the 2016 movie, is confirmed to be out of the role for The Suicide Squad, with Idris Elba cast as a replacement. While it's a new actor, the implication is that Elba is still the same Deadshot as Smith, not an alternate reality version. To borrow a Marvel comparison, it's the same as Don Cheadle replacing Terrence Howard as War Machine in Iron Man 2 or Mark Ruffalo replacing Edward Norton as the Hulk in The Avengers.
If James Gunn and Warner Bros. wanted to treat 2016's Suicide Squad as a punk fever dream, they certainly could do it. With Joaquin Phoenix's Joker, DC is already showing they're more than willing to produce films that stand well outside the framework of the DCEU. Yet Gunn's Suicide Squad is still in that framework. Even if there's only a passing reference (or none at all) to the first film, by all measure it still exists. Warner Bros. and DC's new strategy is to make their movies less interconnected than the Marvel Cinematic Universe and create more standalone stories that still exist in the same universe. It's a formula The Suicide Squad will fall perfectly into when it eventually releases in 2021.
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019
- Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) release date: Feb 07, 2020
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
- DC Super Pets (2021) release date: May 21, 2021
- The Batman (2021) release date: Jun 25, 2021
- The Suicide Squad (2021) release date: Aug 06, 2021
- Aquaman 2 (2022) release date: Dec 16, 2022