It would hardly be an exaggeration to call DCEU canon a mess, when the various creative and personnel reshuffles have seen the multiple standalone franchises increasingly march to the beat of their own drum. That’s even set to extend to The Suicide Squad, even though it features multiple cast members returning from David Ayer’s original.
Suicide Squad was a solid pitch that was botched in the execution, thanks largely to Warner Bros. drastically altering the film in post-production. When James Gunn came on board the follow up, it was quickly announced that he wouldn’t be beholden to what came before and was free to tell his own story, but producer Peter Safran has now made it perfectly clear that the 2016 box office hit isn’t going to be mentioned, addressed or referenced even once.
“We just don’t address it any tangible form. Yes, they’re the characters, the actors that played them in the first movie. But we really wanted to make sure that this stands on its own two feet. So again, it’s why you can’t really call it… It’s not a sequel, but there are some characters that were in the first movie, right? So it’s not really a full reboot either. So we just call it James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. We don’t address it.”
That’s got to be a kick in the teeth for David Ayer, who saw his superhero blockbuster butchered by the studio, and it’s now essentially being erased from canon. Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller, Joel Kinnaman’s Rick Flag and Jai Courney’s Captain Boomerang are all reprising their roles, but we may as well just pretend we’ve never seen them before.
When asked if Robbie’s last outing in Birds of Prey will have any bearing on her arc or characterization in The Suicide Squad, Safran also responded with a firm “no”, so the R-rated romp is very much a blank canvas within the context of the DCEU. WB tried to ignore the Snyder Cut in the hopes that it would eventually go away, and it looks like they’re planning on taking the exact same approach to Ayer’s contributions to the mythology, despite the presence of several familiar faces.