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Idris Elba to replace Will Smith’s Deadshot in Suicide Squad sequel

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James Gunn is still set to direct

‘Molly’s Game’ UK Premiere - Red Carpet Arrivals Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

Warner Bros.’ Suicide Squad sequel has found its new Deadshot: Idris Elba.

Sources speaking to both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter say that Elba is in talks to play the amoral, world-class assassin Floyd Lawton. Known as the supervillain Deadshot, Lawton has an almost preternatural skill with firearms, a bleak outlook on humanity, a vendetta with Batman, and a daughter that he would like to support while keeping her as far away from his life as possible.

Will Smith originally play the role in David Ayer’s 2016 feature, but Ayer declined to return to work on a sequel. In late 2018, Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker James Gunn came aboard to write a Suicide Squad follow-up, and in January 2019, he took the director’s chair. Smith bowed out of the new movie due to scheduling conflicts.

The sequel, simply titled The Suicide Squad, is reportedly a soft relaunch of the concept, and will likely include a largely different set of characters from its predecessor. Suicide Squad got a mixed reception from critics, but many praised the performances of the closest thing it had to main characters, including Smith’s Deadshot and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn.

To Gunn and Warner Bros., “Elba was the first and only choice” to replace Smith, says The Hollywood Reporter. Warner Bros. has yet to confirm whether Robbie will return for The Suicide Squad after she finishes with a Harley-focused spinoff, Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn).