David Ayer’s Suicide Squad was far removed from being a great movie, but it did manage to earn close to $750 million at the box office, so a sequel was always an inevitability, even if the slate was wiped almost entirely clean. James Gunn was tasked to write and direct a soft reboot for the titular team, and admitted he was given the sort of creative control never afforded to his predecessor, with Ayer revealing on more than one occasion that the studio took the film out of his hands and butchered it beyond recognition.
Only a handful of familiar faces will return for The Suicide Squad including Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller, Jai Courtney’s Boomerang and Joel Kinnaman’s Rick Flag, but it turns out there could have been at least one more DCEU returnee. In a new interview, Joe Manganiello revealed that his Deathstroke was originally part of the project, with Warner Bros. even asking him to free up his schedule before he was ultimately dropped altogether when Gunn came on board.
“There were four or five different versions of Suicide Squad 2 that I was put on hold for, for dates, waiting for one actor to free up and we were going to go.”
Before Gunn was eventually hired, several filmmakers were under consideration to helm The Suicide Squad including Mel Gibson, which would have been an interesting choice to say the least. Adam Cozad and Zak Penn both wrote story treatments while the search for a director was ongoing, and when Gavin O’Connor was initially hired, he wanted to start from scratch and pen an all-new script.
Eventually, the man behind the MCU’s Guardians of the Galaxy was given the job in October 2018, leaving Deathstroke on the sidelines. The hype for The Suicide Squad is starting to build, but you can’t deny it would have been awesome to see Manganiello’s Slade Wilson alongside Task Force X. Unfortunately, however, the actor just hasn’t had any luck so far when it comes to his involvement in the DCEU.