According to Variety, Smith amicably dropped out of consideration for the James Gunn-helmed sequel, citing scheduling conflicts. Gunn, who was put in charge of the DC franchise last month, plans to start production this fall for the film's August 2021 release date. Deadline has confirmed the news.
It's worth noting that Smith was never officially announced as a returning cast member. Additionally, Gunn has stated that his sequel would be a soft reboot of sorts, meaning several new characters would be introduced.
However, it would make sense, from the studio's perspective, to have its biggest name return for the sequel in some capacity. It was also recently reported that Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn won't be back, either, as she'll be focusing her energy on another DC film, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn).
Director David Ayer's take on the squad of bad guys who fight bigger bad guys for a reduction of their prison sentence took in close to $750 million at the box office three years ago, and even took home an Academy Award for Best Costumes.
If this report turns out to be accurate, it more or less gives Gunn carte blanche to take over the franchise and fill it with all-new members of DC's massive rogues' gallery. Got any suggestions for him?