New reports suggest Idris Elba won’t play Deadshot in The Suicide Squad out of respect to Will Smith – though he will reportedly play another character.
Reported by Variety, everyone involved, including director James Gunn, decided to remove Deadshot entirely for this new film. It’s unclear which character Elba will play, but the sources suggest that nobody wanted to disrespect Smith, who portrayed Deadshot in 2016’s Suicide Squad. This theoretically leaves the door open for Smith to return in future Suicide Squad or other DCEU films, as his reason for not returning simply involved scheduling conflicts.
The report states Idris Elba spoke with Gunn shortly after Smith left the project, and “agreed on the spot” to join the next installment, though it was allegedly never set in stone that he’d replace Smith’s character. However, he may not have been sought to replace the character at all. In the original release, it was never stated who he would play to begin with.
In related news, Viola Davis will be returning to her role as Amanda Waller in The Suicide Squad, according to TheWrap. This would include her on the list of Margot Robbie and Jai Courtney as the only returning characters to the soft reboot.
James Gunn’s dance card is slowly being crowded with his production of the DC Comics sequel/reboot and the upcoming production of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 for Disney. Gunn had remained relatively low-key after his firing from Disney, but gained steam when Warner Bros. hired him for their next installment.
Again, there is a distinct possibility that Elba wasn’t hired to play Deadshot. Knowing how Gunn works, he probably had another character in mind and Warners told him to leave out Deadshot – in case Smith wishes to return later on. So, this could be another moment when the internet got ahead of the actual news.