Idris Elba is reportedly set to join the Suicide Squad sequel/soft reboot from Guardians of the Galaxy writer-director James Gunn, replacing Will Smith as Deadshot, who vacated the role last week due to scheduling conflicts. Elba is currently the only star attached to the in-the-works Suicide Squad film, though rumours suggest that Margot Robbie — who played Harley Quinn in the original and is set to reprise that role in next year's Birds of Prey — might be part of Suicide Squad 2, as well. Production starts in September 2019, with the release date currently set for August 2021.
The Hollywood Reporter was the first to report on the new development regarding Elba's casting in Suicide Squad 2, with Variety confirming that Warner Bros. has decided on the 46-year-old actor, best known for the eponymous character in detective series Luther, crime drama The Wire, the villain in Star Trek Beyond, and a supporting character in the Marvel universe, across five films: Thor, Thor: The Dark World, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor: Ragnarok, and Avengers: Infinity War. He has also lent his voice to characters in Zootopia and The Jungle Book.
It's still unclear what Gunn's take on Suicide Squad will be, though Elba was reportedly “the first and only choice” for him. Since Gunn came on board, it has been alternatively described as a sequel and a soft reboot, being referred to as Suicide Squad 2 or The Suicide Squad. Keeping characters such as Deadshot and Harley Quinn points towards the former, but it's still entirely possible that Suicide Squad 2 might reset things in some way. Quinn's presence in the Birds of Prey is bound to somewhat complicate that.
Elba will be next seen in the Netflix series Turn Up Charlie, out March 15, as a fading DJ. He is also playing the villain in the first Fast and Furious spin-off — Hobbs & Shaw — opposite Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, which is slated to release August 2. And he's also part of The King's Speech director Tom Hooper's adaptation of the Broadway musical Cats, which will open in theatres on Christmas.
The as-yet-untitled Suicide Squad sequel/soft reboot will release August 6, 2021. Beyond that, in the DC film universe, Warner Bros. has Shazam! next month in April, the standalone Joker film in October 2019, Birds of Prey in February 2020, Wonder Woman 1984 in June 2020, The Batman in June 2021, and Aquaman in December 2022. There's a chance that we might see The Flash in 2021, as well.