While we don’t know if he would’ve done it with or without a mustache, we now know Henry Cavill almost had a role in The Suicide Squad. Written and directed by James Gunn, The Suicide Squad is out in theaters and available for streaming on HBO Max, and the reviews are stellar. Giant Freakin Robot‘s own Drew Dietsch has even called it “easily the best DC movie in decades.” The film stars an ensemble cast including Idris Elba as Bloodsport, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller — the ruthless, manipulative director of Task Force X, better known as the Suicide Squad. While neither Henry Cavill nor any other Justice League actors make an appearance, according to Gunn, that almost wasn’t the case.
Speaking to Filmstarts (via The Direct), Gunn said one of the first ideas he had for The Suicide Squad was for Task Force X to go head-to-head with Henry Cavill’s Superman. He added that the conflict would come from either the Man of Steel getting “out of hand,” or that a villain would have been controlling him. He also joked that if DC liked the idea, he hoped they wouldn’t do it without him.
While at first Gunn’s words may seem like little more than behind-the-scenes trivia, it could also be one more sign — in a surprisingly long list — that a live-action clash between Task Force X and the Justice League could be on the way. For one, the concept Gunn describes sounds an awful lot like the August 2020 reveal trailer for Rocksteady’s upcoming video game Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. While Henry Cavill isn’t in it, the trailer ends with Task Force X learning their target is a murderous Superman. For another, a mid-credits scene for 2016’s Suicide Squad ends with Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) threatening Waller that if she doesn’t shut Task Force X down, he and his “friends” will do it for her, suggesting a big screen confrontation between the teams has been considered by filmmakers long before Gunn was involved.
Then there are reports from the end of last year that a Justice League vs. Suicide Squad movie is already in development, suggesting Henry Cavill may have already had a conversation or two about wrestling with King Shark. Not to mention that when DC Comics’ “Rebirth” relaunched its superhero line in 2016, its very first post-“Rebirth” crossover event was — you guessed it — Justice League vs. Suicide Squad.
It may be tempting to speculate that Gunn’s early idea of recruiting Henry Cavill to fight what the writer/director called his “group of lousy supervillains” may be why Elba was cast as Bloodsport, whose comic book origins are tied to the Man of Steel. However, this probably isn’t the case. While Elba was ultimately cast as Bloodsport, when The Hollywood Reporter first broke the news that Elba had signed on to The Suicide Squad in March 2019, it was reported Elba would be replacing Will Smith as Deadshot. A month later, Variety learned that while Elba replacing Smith was the original intention in recruiting the actor, that the decision was made to leave Deadshot behind and give Elba a new role. If this is true, then there was never any obvious connection initially intended between Elba’s role and Superman.
However, if Elba signs up for any follow-ups to The Suicide Squad, and Gunn revisits his idea of bringing Henry Cavill’s Superman in as an antagonist, it would definitely be a reunion fans would be lining up to see.