Warner Bros. and DC Comics' cinematic universe will officially kick off with the release of Zack Snyder's Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice -- the follow up to Man of Steel -- next spring. The comic book tentpole film will then be followed by David Ayer's Suicide Squad before a number of heroes have their own standalone films, like Wonder Woman, The Flash, and Aquaman.
When the cast list for Suicide Squad was announced, it was clear WB and DC had aimed for (and achieved) an A-List roster that included Jared Leto as the Joker, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Will Smith as Deadshot, and Tom Hardy as Rick Flag. However, not long after the main cast was announced, Hardy was forced to drop out of the project due to scheduling conflicts with The Revenant. He was later replaced by Joel Kinnaman (Robocop), but recently commented on having to give up the role.
In an interview with Variety promoting the release of The Revenant, Hardy was asked again about the production forcing him to pass on the role in Suicide Squad. Hardy plays John Fitzgerald, the antagonist to Leonardo DiCaprio's Hugh Glass, in the Alejandro G. Iñárritu-helmed feature, which took three months longer to shoot than expected due to weather. Hardy explained to Variety why he hated to lose the Suicide Squad part and its unexpected benefit:
"It punched right into that, yeah. That got derailed for me. Was I bummed? Of course I was. I hate f--king losing work. I kept bemoaning that they were losing me significant money on a daily basis. Actually, it was good for my character."
This isn't the first time Hardy has commented on the subject of Suicide Squad, though, since earlier this spring the actor said he was "gutted" to leave the role of Rick Flag, who will be the leader of Task Force X (better known as the Suicide Squad) in Ayer's film. However, Hardy gave a vote of confidence both to Kinnaman as his replacement and the entirety of Ayer's script, speaking specifically about the new portrayal of the Joker and how he will interact with Harley Quinn.
Of course, this isn't the first instance of an actor having to give up a role in a movie because of other obligations, but Hardy certainly has a point that losing out on the role in Suicide Squad will cost him both the exposure and the paycheck he would have been granted from the feature. The actor has favored more dramatic roles in the past -- with the outliers being Mad Max: Fury Road and fellow DC title The Dark Knight Rises, of course -- but Suicide Squad would have helped Hardy to continue to make a name for himself in more mainstream action films that also have very strong, dramatic roots.
That being said, there is nothing Hardy can do at this point since he gave up the role months ago. But, DC fans who were hoping to see Hardy's turn as Rick Flag can rest assured Ayer and Warner Bros. found a suitable replacement in Kinnaman -- who even received Hardy's endorsement. Now it simply remains to be seen how the A-list cast of Suicide Squad will come together in the final version of the film when it releases next year.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opens on March 25, 2016, followed by Suicide Squad on August 5, 2016; Wonder Woman on June 23, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 23, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League Part Two on June 14, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern on June 19, 2020. The Superman and Batman solo films have release dates TBD.