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James Gunn Explains Why He Didn’t Consider Bringing Back Joker For The Suicide Squad

July 14, 2021 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Suicide Squad Joker Harley Quinn

James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad brings back a lot of characters, but the Joker isn’t one of them and James Gunn recently explained why. Gunn spoke with the New York Times for an interview in which he discussed making the film and making it a sequel to David Ayer’s original film. You can check out some highlights below:

On how many of his choices were defined by the first film: “Not at all. I wanted to create what I thought of as the Suicide Squad. For me to react to David’s movie would make it the shadow of David’s movie. I wanted it to be its own thing completely. When Warner Bros. said they wanted me to do this, I watched the first movie for the first time, and I called them back and said, what do I have to keep from this movie? And they said, nothing. They said, listen, we would love it if Margot’s in the movie but she doesn’t have to be. You could come up with all new characters or you could keep all the same characters.”

On if he explored bringing back Jared Leto as Joker or Will Smith as Deadshot: “Joker, no. I just don’t know why Joker would be in the Suicide Squad. He wouldn’t be helpful in that type of war situation. Will — I really wanted to work with Idris. It is a multi-protagonist film. We go off for a while with Margot, and Daniela [Melchior, who plays Ratcatcher 2] is the heart of the film in a lot of ways. But if there’s one protagonist, it’s Idris. And I wanted somebody who had that gruff, ‘Unforgiven’-type feeling about him. This guy who had been reduced from being a bigshot supervillain — he took Superman out of the sky — who is now scraping gum off the floor at the beginning of the movie. He absolutely doesn’t want any part of it — he just has accepted this is his life. And I just think that character is Idris Elba.”

On how he views Harley Quinn as a character in the DCEU: “For me, Harley Quinn belongs on the wall next to Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Spider-Man, Hulk. Most of my career has been writing characters who existed in the comics but weren’t well-defined personalities, and having to create their cinematic personalities, whether it’s Star-Lord or Drax or Groot, who were all very different in the comics. Harley was pretty incredibly written by Paul Dini from the beginning, and so to be able to capture the essence of that character — her chaotic, sweet nature — and give her her due as the trickster and allow her to go wherever she wants, was surprising even to me as a writer.”