Will Smith Exits James Gunn’s ‘Suicide Squad’ Sequel

Actor played Deadshot in the 2016 original

LA Premiere of Netflix Films "BRIGHT"
Rich Fury/Getty Images for Netflix

Will Smith will not return as Deadshot in Warner Bros.’ upcoming sequel to the 2016 box office hit “Suicide Squad,” according to an individual close to the film.

The first “Suicide Squad,” which starred Smith and Margot Robbie, earned nearly $750 million worldwide on a $175 million budget before promotion and advertising.

Smith exited the project due to scheduling conflicts. He is set to begin shooting the “Bright” sequel for Netflix in July, according to another person with knowledge of the projects, while Warner Bros. is set to begin production on the “Suicide Squad” sequel in September.

Former “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn was brought on board to helm the project. He also wrote the script and will have a completely new take on the property, in which DC supervillains are recruited by the government to carry out secret missions too dirty for the likes of Superman and Batman.

The “Suicide Squad” sequel, being produced by Peter Safran and Charles Roven, is expected to hit theaters on August 6, 2021.

The DC Comics film is Gunn’s first since being fired from Disney’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise, after online critics discovered years-old tweets in which he joked about rape and pedophilia. Gunn apologized and said he had grown as a person in the years since the jokes. Despite calls from many fans to reinstate him, Disney has made it clear that he will not be back to direct the third “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Smith, who was arguably the biggest name in the first “Suicide Squad,” will next appear as the blue genie in Disney’s live-action remake of “Aladdin,” which will hit theaters May 24. He also has the animated “Spies in Disguise” and much-anticipated “Gemini Man” coming later. Smith is currently in production on the long-awaited “Bad Boys 2” follow up, “Bad Boys for Life,” expected to come out next year.