Warrior Director Explains Why WB Rejected His Suicide Squad Script

Gavin O’Connor explains it was a change in leadership at DC Films and the direction of the project that made him drop out of Suicide Squad 2.

Warrior director Gavin O’Connor explains why Warner Bros. passed on his Suicide Squad sequel. The 2016 Suicide Squad may not have been a hit with critics, but the film was a box-office success, grossing $764 million at the worldwide box office. A sequel was greenlit and Warner Bros. started looking for a new director to help steer the franchise back on track.

The studio looked at a number of filmmakers, including eventual Black Adam director Jaume Collet-Serra. The studio finally settled on Gavin O’Connor, the director of films like Warrior and The Accountant. O’Connor’s filmography suggested a more serious take on the characters and he began work on the project. However, he eventually left the project, claiming that the reason was that his pitch for Suicide Squad 2 was too similar to Birds of Prey, a movie Warner Bros. had just greenlit and fast-tracked into production.

Related: James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad Proves DC Needs to Trust Directors

O’Connor has now revealed there was another reason he left the project, one that may be a bit more illuminating. In an interview with The Playlist, O’Connor details how the studio originally wanted something darker and he started working on a more serious film. However, in the late stages of writing the project, a regime change happened at DC Films and the studio wanted something more comedic. O’Connor said:

“What happened there was I wrote a deal to write a script, and they knew what I was writing. At that level, with those kinds of movies, with that budget, no one’s just going off and writing something without walking them through what the movie’s gonna be, and everyone was cool with it. What happened was during the latter part of writing the script there was a whole regime change at DC, and when that happened, they wanted it to be a comedy, and I’m like, ‘i’m not writing a comedy.‘ I mean, It [was] fun, but it’s not a yuk-fest. And the new regime wanted a different movie than I was writing.”

The Suicide Squad prepares for their mission on the plane.

It appears the regime change that O’Connor is talking about is the replacement of Geoff Johns and Jon Berg by Walter Hamada. The timeline does track, as O’Connor was hired by Warner Bros. in September 2017, shortly before the release of Justice Leauge when Geoff Johns and Jon Berg were in charge. In January 2018, after the box-office disappointment of Justice League, Walter Hamada was appointed the new head of DC Films and this appears to be the point in the timeline when O’Connor dropped out of the project. A few months later, James Gunn would be hired to write and direct the sequel, which would evolve into The Suicide Squad.

O’Connor’s take on Suicide Squad is one of many projects that have become victim to various management changes at Warner Bros. and DC Films. The most high profile is, of course, Zack Snyder’s plans for the DCEU and his Justice League sequels, but there have been other projects that were announced and then, shelved like Ben Affleck’s Batman, the Deathstroke movie, and Ava DuVernay and Tom King’s New Gods film. While the box-office for The Suicide Squad may have underperformed, Gunn’s vision was a hit with critics and fans and at the end of the day what matters is if a good movie is made, and it appears Warner Bros. made the right call on this one.

Next: Suicide Squad 3 Should Revive The Abandoned Superman Hunt Story

Source: The Playlist

  • The Batman (2022)Release date: Mar 04, 2022
  • DC League of Super-Pets (2022)Release date: May 20, 2022
  • Black Adam (2022)Release date: Jul 29, 2022
  • The Flash (2022)Release date: Nov 04, 2022
  • Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2022)Release date: Dec 16, 2022
  • Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023)Release date: Jun 02, 2023

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