According to Variety, scheduling conflicts were the reason why Smith won’t be coming back, and the decision is said to be an amicable one. Although Smith was never officially announced as part of the project, it was widely assumed that he would return.
Smith’s portrayal of “the most wanted hitman in the world” was seen as one of the strongest aspects of the original Suicide Squad, along with Margot Robbie’s performance as Harley Quinn. The latter is still expected to show up for The Suicide Squad despite leading her own pack of anti-heroes in the now-filming Birds of Prey.
The sequel’s long development process also saw the early exit of David Ayer, who wrote and directed the first film. Warner Bros. reached out to Gunn to write and direct the next installment, after he was fired from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 over an old series of distasteful tweets.
Although blasted by critics and given a divided reaction by fans, Suicide Squad nevertheless raked in $746 million worldwide, making a sequel inevitable. The new movie, however, is rumored to be a soft reboot in addition to a sequel, and it’s unclear if any other cast members will be coming back.
The studio and reps for Will Smith had no comment at press time. Gunn hopes to start production this fall on the movie, which is set to open on August 6, 2021. The full schedule of upcoming DC superhero movies can be found here.
Don Kaye is a Los Angeles-based entertainment journalist and associate editor of Den of Geek. Other current and past outlets include Syfy, United Stations Radio Networks, Fandango, MSN, RollingStone.com and many more. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @donkaye