‘Suicide Squad’ Director Almost Head of DC Universe

in DC, Movies & TV

The cast of Suicide Squad 2016 walking through the rain

Credit: Warner Bros.

DC Studios is in the middle of a transition period, with the DCEU coming to an end and James Gunn’s new DC Universe beginning. But according to the director of Suicide Squad (2016), this wasn’t always the plan.

Jared Leto's Joker, Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, and Will Smith's Deadshot on a multi-colored neon background for Suicide Squad
Credit: Warner Bros.

The DC Universe is in a period of transition. Henry Cavill is no longer Superman. There are questions regarding whether Gal Gadot and Jason Momoa will return as Wonder Woman and Aquaman. And The Flash (2023) is widely considered the biggest box office flop in superhero film history, closely followed by Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023).

Now, the DCU is in the hands of James Gunn, who many believe is a superhero mastermind. Not only did he achieve critical and financial success with the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy, but his DC projects, The Suicide Squad (2021) and Peacemaker (2022-present), are on the exact same level. Many believe he will usher in a new era of movies based on DC Comics, beginning with Superman: Legacy (2025) and the potential forming of a new Justice League.

However, this wasn’t always the case. While fans are eagerly anticipating James Gunn’s vision for a new DCU, another DC director was apparently considered for the position.

‘Suicide Squad’ Director David Ayer Compares DC Studios to ‘Game of Thrones’

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn smiling and holding a hammer in Suicide Squad 2016
Credit: Warner Bros.

Related: James Gunn Could Give ‘Suicide Squad’ the Zack Snyder Treatment

The Suicide Squad was a critical success and a commercial flop. Its predecessor was the exact opposite. Although most people enjoyed the cast, which included Will Smith as Deadshot, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, it was criticized for its strange tone and a divisive performance from Jared Leto as the Joker.

While critics eviscerated Suicide Squad, the drama behind the scenes was even more dramatic. In an appearance on the Real Ones with Jon Bernthal podcast, director David Ayer graphically compared working in Hollywood to “watching someone you love get f—– by someone you hate” and blamed executives at Warner Bros. and DC Studios for how Suicide Squad turned out. The director is still pushing for his original version of the film, lovingly called the Ayer Cut, to be released.

Cast of Suicide Squad 2016 talking in a dark alley
Credit: Warner Bros.

Related: DC Cannot Survive Another Universe Reset

Still, Ayer revealed that he believes there was actual talk about him being in charge of the DC Universe, specifically, the position now held by James Gunn. “During a time, during Suicide Squad, when the dailies were coming in, people were like, ‘Oh s—, maybe Ayer’s going to take over DC,” he said. “It’s Game of Thrones (2011-2019) in there. The palace politics were insane.”

Knowing the violent nature of Game of Thrones, it is probably a good thing David Ayer got out when he did. Still, it’s interesting to think about how different the DCU would be with him in charge. That being said, it’s probably best that James Gunn is leading instead. Not only has he shown an ability to work in multiple levels of tone and maturity, but he has also released movies and shows that are more successful than anything Ayer has made. In the end, Gunn is probably what’s best for DC.

Do you think David Ayer would have been a better choice for DC Studios than James Gunn? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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