With Will Smith stepping away from James Gunn‘s Suicide Squad sequel last week, it was unclear whether his character Deadshot would simply be removed from the movie, or replaced by a different actor. It looks like the latter. Per THR, Idris Elba is reportedly in talks to replace Smith in the upcoming sequel.
Elba is “the first and only choice for Gunn and the studio” and met with the filmmaker last Friday. The meeting went extremely well and Elba is now in discussions with the studio. Since Gunn signed on to write and direct in October, the wheels have been moving fast on the sequel.
Elba already has superhero experience, having played Heimdall in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His role there probably wrapped up with Avengers: Infinity War, so it’s a perfect time for him to take over the Deadshot mantle. Smith’s performance in the 2016 film was largely forgettable and wasn’t a hit with fans; hopefully Elba can do a lot better.
The sequel – titled The Suicide Squad – is intended to be a soft reboot of sorts, and will mostly feature DC characters who didn’t appear in the first film. That’s what made it debatable whether Deadshot would even return once Smith dropped out. With Margot Robbie‘s Harley Quinn expected to be the centrepiece, other new characters will be introduced around her.
The film is currently scheduled for an August 6, 2021 release. Development was in flux for a while, so Warner Bros. must be happy that the pace has picked up. Elba is having a good year. He’s already set to play the villain in the Fast & Furious spin-off Hobbs & Shaw, while he’ll also appear as Macavity in Tom Hooper‘s film adaptation of the broadway hit Cats, as well.