Suicide Squad Concept Art Shows Idris Elba As A Different Character

Idris Elba was initially supposed to play Deadshot in The Suicide Squad, replacing Will Smith, as newly-released concept art shows.

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Published

Idris Elba suicide squad

Before The Suicide Squad was released in 2021, many fan theories thought that Idris Elba would be replacing Will Smith as Deadshot in the Suicide Squad standalone sequel. Upon the film’s release, these rumors were revealed not to be true as Elba played the character Bloodsport instead. However, some validity is being brought to the original rumors as early concept art reveals that the actor was initially intended to take over the role of Floyd Lawton, a.k.a. Deadshot.

In early concept art for James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, Idris Elba dangles from the Jutenheim facility during the movie’s big battle scene. However, instead of wearing the navy blue and gold suit that Elba wore in the final cut of the movie, he is wearing a black and red suit that looks strikingly like the costume Will Smith wore in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, released in 2016. 

It made sense for fans to think that Elba would be playing Deadshot, the leader of the Suicide Squad in the previous film. With Smith’s schedule being too busy to reprise his role, Elba seemed like a great fit to take over the character. Based on the newly released concept art, it seems that the team behind The Suicide Squad had similar thoughts.

When Gunn took over the directorship of the second Suicide Squad film, he made a lot of changes, including a complete tonal change, a brand-new story, and a fresh cast of new characters. With so many changes, it could have been easy to recast Smith’s Deadshot for someone who would be more available for future projects. Both Gunn and Elba have discussed how they were glad they didn’t recast Ebla as Deadshot, leaving the opportunity open for Smith to reprise his role when the time is right.

After the rumors that Elba might play Deadshot died out, a new fan theory revealed that he might be playing Adrian Chase, a.k.a. Vigilante instead. These rumors were, in a large part, fabricated by Gunn and Elba themselves. In the script for The Suicide Squad, Idris Elba’s character was listed as “Vigilante,” and his chair on set even said “Vigilante” on it. 

the suicide squad
James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad

Gunn later revealed that Vigilate was a red herring to keep Elba’s character a secret, mostly because even they didn’t know which DC character they wanted to use for the film.

While The Suicide Squad did not end up recasting Idris Elba as Deadshot, the character they chose to go with ended up having a very similar arc. Like Deadshot, Bloodsport is also an expert marksman who has an estranged relationship with his teenage daughter that he desperately wants to mend. 

Unlike Deadshot, however, Bloodsport seems almost guaranteed to appear in future DC films. While nothing has been revealed about bringing Smith’s Deadshot back to the silver screen, Elba has discussed a desire to create a film exploring Bloodsport’s backstory as the man who shot Superman with a kryptonite bullet. Elba has said in the past how he would be interested in exploring how Bloodsport was pushed to that famous comic book moment.