Deadshot was one of the key players in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, so when talk first began to circulate of a sequel it was obviously believed that Will Smith would be part of the new ensemble. However, that didn’t happen, and between rumors that Idris Elba was taking over the role at one point, it was hard to see that Smith would reprise the role again at any point after The Suicide Squad. Speaking in a new GQ Undercover video, the actor both confirmed why he did not appear in Gunn’s take on DC’s ragtag bunch of villains, but more surprisingly seemed to suggest that he would be open to a return to the franchise.
“Yeah, I was working and they were ready to shoot. It was a timing issue,” Smith said of the reason for his absence, before asking, “They left Deadshot out, right?” After a confirmation from off-camera, he continued, “So Idris is playing a different character or is he playing Deadshot? All right, cool, so I can come back.”
There was a lot of confusion at the time of Idris Elba’s casting in the movie, with reports immediately suggesting that he would be taking over the role from Smith, before it was finally revealed that he would in fact be playing the completely different role of Bloodsport. However, while it has been denied that he was ever lined up to be a Smith replacement, some interviews have suggested that there was a point when Deadshot was in the movie, which meant that as time pressed on and it became apparent he needed to be taken out, Elba’s Bloodsport was pushed in to fill the gap.
In a previous interview, producer Peter Safran admitted that there had at one point been a plan to have Will Smith’s character returning in The Suicide Squad. He said, “We discussed it, but I think the Will [Smith] of it all was really more of a schedule thing than anything else. We knew we had to start shooting in September because, frankly, we knew probably earlier than other people did that James was going to come back and do Guardians. So it was really important that we started shooting when we started shooting and Will wasn’t available, and that kind of made it easier all around. What are you going to do? He’s not available. So it’s also nice to, frankly, help separate it from the first movie, I think, in a greater fashion.”
While the questions over Elba’s role in the movie could have caused issues for some people, the actor himself was pleased that the distraction allowed him to enter the movie as Bloodsport without anyone really knowing that was the character he was going to be playing until they were ready to make the reveal. “Those rumors would be natural because Will said he wasn’t joining the second movie, so it was quite natural for audiences or fans to think that I would be taking over the Deadshot character because the Deadshot character lived in the other movie,” Elba said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. “But I’m really satisfied that James [Gunn] didn’t want to do that, I didn’t want to do that. Deadshot is a great character and Will slays it, so I was really keen the audience and fans kept that rumor going.”
The Suicide Squad arrives on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K UHD on October 28th.