James Gunn Explains His Suicide Squad’s Relationship to DCEU

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In the 2010’s DC and Warner Bros. did their noble best to imitate the Marvel Cinematic Universe, crafting what would be known as the DC Extended Universe. Over works like Man of SteelBatman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and the chopped-and-screwed Justice League, the results were mixed at best, both creatively and financially. WB and DC have since found success with self-contained works like Joker and sort-of-self-contained-sort-of-connected works like Aquaman and Wonder Woman. And in the year of our Lord 2021, we’re gonna see these two methods of DC universe-building versus DC universe-ignoring-ish filmmaking go head to head on HBO Max. We’ll get Zack Snyder’s Justice League, the original director’s original vision of how his universe was supposed to culminate. And we’ll get James Gunn‘s The Suicide Squad.

This movie, following sort of an anti-Justice League of antiheroes, comes out just five years after David Ayer‘s Suicide Squad, which was absolutely critically shredded. Curiously, and a little confusingly, the film features some returning cast members and characters, like Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, and some new cast members, like Idris Elba playing Deadshot instead of Ayer’s Will Smith. They’ll all be in a new, unrelated, self-contained narrative — but an upcoming Gunn/John Cena HBO Max series will play into its continuity as well. Fling all of this into a blender with the ongoing #ReleaseTheAyerCut of it all, and any casual comic book movie is def likely to be confused!

Image via Marvel

So, with all of this said and done, a question remains. In fact, it was asked very bluntly on Twitter by @Writer_LisaKaye: “I didn’t see the 2016 Suicide Squad. Will I be hopelessly lost if I don’t watch it before seeing yours?” And Gunn tweeted his efficient response thusly:

“No, you will be just fine.”

There you have it! The Suicide Squad is at least self-contained enough to not need Suicide Squad as a primer — which is more than I can say for, like, WandaVision. As to whether Gunn’s take on the material will have any sort of self-aware, fourth wall-busting chops of Ayer’s take on the material (like a certain Birds of Prey did), well, we’ll all just have to wait until August 6, 2021.

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