A week after it was revealed that director Zack Snyder would actually be getting a second round with Justice League, another DCEU director unhappy with his final, delivered film has taken to social media to tell fans about what could've been. David Ayer, the director of Suicide Squad, has long been voicing his dissatisfaction with Warner Bros.' cut of his supervillain team-up (it was reported back in 2016 that extensive reshoots were undertaken to make the film more "fun"), and now he's getting specific about what could be included in a potential Ayer Cut of the film.
In Ayer's preferred version of the film, things were serious. Dramatic. But then Snyder's hyper-serious Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opened to terrible reviews and a box office that, while initially impressive, fell off hard in the following weeks after its release. Only a month before, Deadpool shocked the superhero world not only by being an R-rated smash hit (at the time, the highest-grossing film ever with that rating) but by being a super-silly superhero comedy that earned stellar reviews and a total box office only $100M less than BvS — and that was with an R rating, compared to BvS's PG-13. That's especially impressive considering that Deadpool had a budget of $58M to BvS' estimated $250-300M. So WB took away some lessons from these two films' performances — lessons that directly impacted how they treated Suicide Squad, according to Ayer.
Take a look:
“This trailer nailed the tone and intention of the film I made. Methodical. Layered. Complex, beautiful and sad,” Ayer wrote. “After the [Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice] reviews shell shocked the leadership at the time, and the success of Deadpool- My soulful drama was beaten into a 'comedy.'"
Explaining that his first cut of the film -- before the reshoots -- was full of "incredible acting between Jared [Leto] and Margot [Robbie]," Ayer said that he had primarily taken tonal inspiration from the helmer of The Dark Knight trilogy, Christopher Nolan:
Then came in jokes, a notable lack of Joker, and the tonal mishmash that contributed to Suicide Squad's terrible reviews. Would the original version have connected with critics and more fans? The film still finished in the Top 10 at the box office for the year, but was still enough of a disappointment that its future was thrown into flux. A sequel is in the works now, though James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) is giving the franchise a soft reboot.
With Zack Snyder's Justice League set to hit HBO Max in some form in 2021, maybe there'll even be a much more serious Ayer Cut of Suicide Squad that could hit the streamer down the line at some point — if DCEU fans turn out in the same droves as they did for the former, that is.