The rumors continue to claim that Warner Bros. is planning much, much more than a simple villain team-up for the Suicide Squad movie, with talk of introducing villains for later standalone films, and even ending with a direct set-up for the first Ben Affleck-led Batman movie. But before the film can jump-start DC's movie universe, it must first finish casting its own roster.
Not long after word broke that actor Tom Hardy (Mad Max: Fury Road) had dropped from the film due to scheduling conflicts, it was reported that writer/director David Ayer was pursuing Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler) to take his spot. But those hoping to see Gyllenhaal join DC's universe have been dealt a blow, as he has apparently passed on the role.
That's according to sources of Variety, who claim that the actor was offered the part, but declined for unknown reasons. Though that may be cause for concern, next to nothing is known about the role being offered. When Gyllenhaal was first mentioned in the conversation, it was merely stated that David Ayer was personally courting the actor (with whom he had previously worked on End of Watch) for the part of DC Comics' Rick Flag, commanding officer of the eponymous Squad.
Now, if there proves to be any truth to the rumor that Hardy turned down the part after reading Ayer's first draft of the script, and Gyllenhaal has followed suit, then some difficult questions may need to be asked.
Much of the mystery surrounding the role is due to the fact that even DC Comics fans have little sense of what the film's take on Rick Flag will entail. The recent rumors surrounding his character show a clear departure from the source material, while implying that Flag - like Viola Davis' Amanda Waller - could be larger players in WB and DC's movie universe. And as thrilling a prospect as that may be for movie-goers, it's a large commitment for the actors involved.
It's also possible that the transparency of WB's casting simply reveals the reality of casting any superhero franchise's leading men or women. Hardy and Gyllenhaal would have both been strong additions to an already compelling cast, but the decision of both to pass on the project may only be understood once more details are released (or leaked). Yet there's no denying that after storming out of the gate with momentum, Suicide Squad is proving no less immune to the drama of universe-spanning comic book blockbusters than its competitors.
What do you think of the news? Were you hoping to see Gyllenhaal join the cast as Rick Flag, or did you have another actor in mind? Share your thoughts in the comments, and we'll keep you updated as more casting news arrives.
Suicide Squad will be in theaters on August 5, 2016.