James Gunn’s upcoming film The Suicide Squad has a gigantic cast of new characters, but also brings back quite a few members from David Ayer’s 2016 film. Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, and Jai Courtney all reprise their roles from the previous film, yet the most notably absent star from the earlier iteration is Will Smith, who played Floyd Lawton’s Deadshot. Despite the many problems of 2016’s Suicide Squad, Will Smith was not one of them, so it’s no surprise that a new rumor suggests DC might want to bring back Smith as Deadshot.
We Got This Covered is reporting the rumor, which says that Will Smith could return as Deadshot in a future film or television show. Originally, Idris Elba was cast to take on the part of Deadshot, yet Elba’s part was switched to play Bloodsport instead. While it’s not clear why writer-director James Gunn made this shift, it doesn’t seem unlikely that the choice was made to bring back Smith in some other film or series.
There had been past rumors that Deadshot would get his own film, yet the film was canceled, likely due to the new direction for The Suicide Squad. In a video from 2018, Will Smith did say he hoped he wasn’t done with the character, saying, “I sure hope so. I loved playing Deadshot. I really enjoy that character. They have been talking about it, so if a good idea comes around – we have been having meetings – but I would love to. I love Deadshot.” Maybe part of these meetings included the idea of Smith coming back in the near future and recasting Idris Elba as another character?
Will Smith also might like to take on a known role, since several of his original projects over the last year haven’t done so great. Last year’s Gemini Man by director Ang Lee only made $48 million domestically, and while it would go on to make $173 million worldwide, the film also had a $138 million budget. His recent animated film Spies in Disguise, which was developed by Twentieth Century Fox, but later released by Disney, only made $66 million in North America and made $171 million worldwide against a $100 million budget.
On the other hand, earlier this year, Will Smith starred alongside Matthew Lawrence in Bad Boys For Life. The film made $206 million domestically, $426 million worldwide, and is currently the highest-grossing film in North America for 2020. Even though Will Smith is still a massive star, most of his successful films throughout the 2010s have been based on known properties, such as 2012’s Men in Black 3, Suicide Squad, and 2019’s Aladdin.
Will Smith’s next film is Life in a Year, and while the film is still scheduled for release on November 27 via Amazon Studios, the fact that the film features two actors who have received sexual assault claims – Cuba Gooding Jr. and Chris D’Elia – it seems like Amazon is trying to forget that this finished film even exists. Meanwhile, Smith is scheduled to star in King Richard, where he will play Richard Williams, the father of Venus and Serena Williams. The film is currently scheduled for release on November 19, 2021.
Smith is still a huge draw to audiences, but it seems like his films recently live or die by brand recognition. His original properties tend to do significantly worse than known brands and franchises, so Smith might want to return to Deadshot not just because he loves the character, but because it seems like more of a sure thing. The same could certainly be said of DC, who would absolutely love to have a star like Smith as the lead in one of their properties.