It looks like Idris Elba will replace Will Smith as Deadshot for James Gunns The Suicide Squad Film may have had some validity for them at all.
When Elba was first cast, rumor had it that he was coming on board to replace Will Smith as Deadshot, the leader of the original team in David Ayers film. However, it wasn’t long before these reports were adjusted, claiming instead that Elba would be an original character.
When the film was released in August 2021, fans would fall in love with Bloodshot. Gunn apparently did the same, as he admitted to writing the role specifically for Idris Elba to be the actor.
But many wondered how close Deadshot really was to a rewrite, edging out Will Smith’s DCU role in the process.
Now, thanks to newly emerged concept art, the idea seems to have been heavily considered.
Will replace Smith
Thanks to The Suicide Squad Concept artist David Levy, via Behance, it appears Warner Bros. have confirmed previous plans to remake Will Smith’s Deadshot.
The concept art that includes this new confirmation sees Deadshot hanging from the top of Jötunheim with Harley Quinn reaching for him.
Taking a closer look at the character, he doesn’t appear to bear any resemblance to Will Smith, although Deadshot’s logo is clearly visible on his left shoulder.
Not only is there the logo, but the outfit itself is almost identical to the one worn in 2016 suicide squadwhere the character first debuted.
In a previous interview with Screenrant, The Suicide Squad Producer Peter Safran, who is now Co-Head of DCU, announced that recording of Deadshot “[was] discussed”, but that Gunn’s schedule for the film meant they had to find a way without Will Smith:
“We’d talked about it, but it was… I think the ‘will’ of everything was more a matter of timing than anything. We knew we had to start filming in September because, to be honest, we probably knew before other people that James was going to come back and do Guardians. So it was really important that we start filming when we started filming and Will wasn’t available. That made it easier overall: What are you going to do? do? He is not available. So, honestly, it’s also nice to help separate it from the first film in a bigger way, I think.”
When asked directly if Deadshot could have led the team instead of Bloodsport, Safran replied: “It could have been. It was certainly a discussion.”
When could audiences see Bloodsport or Deadshot again?
It makes perfect sense that Deadshot was originally in the role of Bloodsport as the two even share strong similarities.
Both essentially ran the team themselves, and each was motivated by a strained relationship with their daughter. The two also share very similar power sets, making the supposed character swap that much easier as it likely resulted in fewer changes to the overall storyline.
While it’s not certain that the character in the concept art is meant to bear the resemblance of Idris Elba, the fact that it’s even a possibility is proof enough that at some point they seriously discussed replacing Will Smith in the role.
Since they didn’t, Smith has the door open to return if he ever wanted to. As for Bloodsport, his return also remains a mystery, although the actor has recently teased something in the works at Warner Bros. – but that was before the whole regime change, so who knows what happens now.
Given that James Gunn is now at the helm of the DCU, the odds are very much in Elba’s side if he decides to embark on another adventure as Bloodsport.
At some point, the filmmaker will surely want to continue the story of his team of villains; maybe Will Smith can join next time.
The Suicide Squad now streaming on HBO Max.