[Update: the OFFICIAL cast has been announced. Get the details here!]
In a strange twist from what fans of superhero blockbusters are used to, it seems that despite a lack of official details the big screen adaptation of DC Comics' Suicide Squad is one film on their upcoming slate that isn't shrouded in mystery. Since the movie was announced, the frontrunners for its core cast had seemed to be revealed, and new updates confirms that David Ayers' "Dirty Dozen with supervillains" is moving forward with gusto.
According to THR, pre-production will begin at Toronto's Pinewood studios this February, with principal photography taking place from mid-April to September 2015 (a period in which Toronto movie fans will be on the lookout for shoots throughout the city). The announced release date for the film - August 5, 2016 - shows that Warner Bros. is wasting no time in getting what is quickly looking to be the 'glue' of its DC cinematic universe off the ground.
Thankfully, that gives director David Ayer and WB more than five months to lock in their final cast. To this point, numerous industry sources claim that the studio wasn't exaggerating when they claimed to be courting top-level talent. Oscar winner Jared Leto is being eyed for Joker, Australian actress Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) has apparently already landed the part of Harley Quinn, with a cast expected to be rounded out by Tom Hardy, Will Smith and Jai Courtney.
The official casting announcements aren't ready to be made, with Jared Leto claiming he's been sworn to secrecy, despite having already hinted at a large role in the past. Nevertheless, according to the report from THR, Hardy, Robbie, Courtney and Leto are all in the "final stages" of signing on. The scope and scale of a comic book blockbuster is sure to give nearly everyone cold feet, but with Ayer fresh off the critically acclaimed (and star-studded) Fury - and the curious idea of a comic book movie focused solely on the villains for once - it appears to be just a matter of time.
It's possible that the very nature of a comic book shared universe is giving some of the actors pause; not necessarily the multi-picture contracts that apparently already took Ryan Gosling out of the running, but the fact that WB and DC's shared universe plan remains a mystery. If Leto is being courted for Joker, then a role opposite Ben Affleck's Batman is possible before long. But in the case of Harley Quinn, Deadshot, and the other roles being filled, their place in the future is anyone's guess. And that's when the 'highly-sought-after' nature of the rumored cast comes into play.
There are still secrets left for Squad to spill, with continuing reports that Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor will make the leap from Batman V Superman to Suicide Squad months later. If Eisenberg has agreed to the deal, then is it crazy to think that WB could boast a star-studded shared universe of its own before long?
We'll keep you updated on casting as news arrives. For now, what do you make of the rumored roster? Is Suicide Squad looking to be the film you hoped for, or something else entirely? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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.