As the second Marvel Cinematic Universe director to work on a DC Extended Universe project, James Gunn brings all the zaniness and charm to DC's The Suicide Squad as he did for Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy films. The director spoke with Empire about the Warner Brothers film and how he distinguishes his version from the David Ayer 2016 film that lacks the word "the" in the title.
"Um, it's its own thing," Gunn said. "It does not contradict the first movie; I don't think. It might in some small ways… I don't know…" Returning for The Suicide Squad are stars Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Joel Kinnaman (Rick Flag), Jai Courtney (Captain Boomerang), and Viola Davis (Amanda Waller). Gunn wanted to build off of what Ayer had and compliment his work rather than supplant it. "Listen, David Ayer's gotten trouble for the movie," he says. "I know it didn't come out how David wanted it to come out. But he did one really, really great thing, and that is he picked fantastic actors to work with, and he dealt with these actors in building their characters in a really deep and fearless way. It's something David definitely deserves to be lauded for, and it's definitely added to this movie."
In addition to the most popular members, Gunn added quite a few more from his arsenal, including frequent collaborators and some of his Marvel friends like Taika Waititi, Michael Rooker, Nathan Fillion, Idris Elba, John Cena, Sean Gunn, Pete Davidson, and Alice Braga. When comparing his Guardians to his Suicide crews, the latter is far less trustworthy. "I think you know, from pretty close to the beginning, that all of the Guardians are good – apart from Nebula, who's the outlier," Gunn explains. "But in The Suicide Squad, some of the characters end up being good, some end up being terrible. They don't just get in fights and say they're going to kill each other; they actually do get in fights and kill each other. You really don't know who's going to live and who's going to die. I was given full freedom to kill anyone – and I mean anyone – by DC." You can check out the complete interview, including exclusive images on Empire. The Suicide Squad is expected to hit theatres on August 6, 2021.