It isn't just the most famous heroes of DC Comics that are taking the spotlight in Warner Bros.' now fully-revealed shared universe movie schedule, as the news also brings with it confirmation that Suicide Squad is officially in development. Not only that, but it's planned to be the first DC Comics film released after Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, scheduled to hit theaters on August 5, 2016.
In addition to Warner Bros. president Kevin Tsujihara confirming the date in an investors meeting, he also put an end to rumors of the studio looking to hand the property to writer/director David Ayer - the subject of strong buzz for his WWII-era Fury - by confirming that Ayer would helm the ensemble feature.
Unfortunately the studio chose not to offer any more details about which incarnation of DC Comics' team of criminals-turned-task-force fans could expect to see adapted, so for the time being, the rumored cast of characters is all they have to go on. Although with a chance to tie the Suicide Squad movie into the many villains and anti-heroes of the DC Comics movie universe, it's entirely possible even the roster in place could change before the movie hits theaters.
Those following this story from the very beginning will recall that word of Suicide Squad coming to the big screen began when it was claimed DC and WB would be looking for smaller-scale comic book movies to complement their big-budget blockbusters. The first signs that this thinking had changed (no doubt influenced by the outrageous box office take of Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel's own ragtag group of ex-cons) was the reports claiming Ayer was the top choice for director. And Tsujihara offered yet another hint that the studio is thinking big with the Squad.
Details on potential cast are clearly being held for now, but the studio does claim to be "in discussions with four A-list stars." Since the previous rumor claimed that Suicide Squad would center on three members of the group, it would seem WB is looking for some serious star power to lead their band of as-good-as-dead operatives, with another top-tier actor or actress for the role of villain or boss. The most obvious answer being Amanda Waller, overseer of 'Task Force X' (familiar to every Arrow fan).
The character was previously portrayed by Angela Bassett in Green Lantern (2011); and even if the chances of seeing her reprise the role are slim, with WB also announcing a Green Lantern reboot coming in 2020, it gives a sense of just what established performers the studio could be pursuing (Man of Steel landed no shortage of Oscar winners, after all). It could be assumed that younger stars would be pursued for the co-leads, but we're certain that fans will offer up plenty of suggestions in the coming months. If official casting isn't announced before then, that is.
It's been a given that a Suicide Squad movie could function in a variety of ways, depending on the function WB hoped the team would serve in their movie universe. But the decision to release the film so early implies they have a clear direction for the property, not simply a 'second chance' for other properties' villains to reappear. And with David Ayer - a name soon to carry more weight in the coming months - fans can still hope for a hard-hitting drama that pulls no punches.
Suicide Squad will be in theaters on August 5, 2016.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce for Suicide Squad updates, as well as TV movie and gaming news.
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