Suicide Squad 2 loses director Jaume Collet-Serra to Disney's Jungle Cruise

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Aug 1, 2017, 1:36 PM EDT

When Suicide Squad 2 was first announced, it was with the returning director of the first film, David Ayer, back in the hot seat. Then he and Margot Robbie began developing the spin-off starring Harley Quinn, Gotham City Sirens, teaming Harley with Poison Ivy and Catwoman, with him directing that film instead.

Jaume Collet-Serra reportedly stepped in for Suicide Squad 2. Though never signed, he was the frontrunner and in talks to direct the film for Warner Bros. and DC Films. Well, it's time for them to start the search again, because Collet-Serra has officially signed with Disney to direct Jungle Cruise, a Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson vehicle based on the comedic river ride at Disney Parks, Deadline reports.

The Jungle Cruise movie likely won't feature Johnson merely riding a slow-moving boat and making terrible (awesome) puns, instead expanding on the ride into its own full-fledged adventure, much like the transformation of Pirates of the Carribean, itself a long-running Disney ride long before any film franchise.

For Warner Bros., the search for Suicide Squad 2 resumes. The film was on the DC shortlist revealed at San Diego Comic-Con, a list of 8 movies out of the 14 or so they currently have in various stages of development, meaning it presumably is high on the priority list. The public gaining and losing of directors before filming is a relatively new thing for franchise films -- usually such discussions were held behind the scenes before ever coming to the fore -- and DC Films has borne the brunt of it with similar drama around The Flash, a film that at one time was due to be released in early 2018, has lost two directors and at least two scripts, and is now retitled Flash Point and once again undated. Justice League Dark, also on the shortlist, also lost two directors already, with the second, Doug Liman, confirming his departure in June of this year.

While Suicide Squad did not do well with critics, it did well at the box office, especially globally, pulling in $745 million plus (and it did win an Academy Award, albeit for behind-the-scenes creative work), and several of the actors, all with the superhero standard of at least three films in their contract, would return for a sequel. Who will helm it? The first shortlist included Mel Gibson, Ruben Fleischer, and Jonathan Levine, so it's possible WB will resume talks with one or more of them. Gibson returned to critical acclaim with 2016's Hacksaw Ridge, though many still have him in the political doghouse for his anti-semitic statements in the still-recent past. Fleischer is signed on to Venom with Sony Pictures and Jekyll with Lionsgate, so his dance card is full. Levine, who like Fleischer directed a zombie comedy, has the most open schedule of the remaining shortlisted directors.

Expect Warner Bros. and DC Films to lock someone down sooner than later, regardless, as their film schedule needs to get back on track after the above issues. They currently have only one movie, Aquaman, hitting next year, but as many as three or four dates reserved for both 2019 and 2020 releases.