James Gunn talks The Suicide Squad: "Warner Bros. said 'You can kill anyone'"

The Suicide Squad
(Image credit: Warner Bros)

The Suicide Squad are going on another mission – and this time, things are even more deadly. While 2016's Suicide Squad saw a few notable names perish amid the action (RIP Slipknot, we hardly knew you), the new take on the comic book villains promises a fair few characters won't survive until the end. 

In fact, director James Gunn has revealed that the studio behind the production, Warner Bros., said he could kill anyone and everyone he wanted. 

"They said I could keep [all the characters] or do away with them all," he tells Total Film in the new issue, headlined by The Suicide Squad. "I could do a completely new squad – which I considered – and they said, 'You can kill anyone.' Warner were pretty much on board [with the story] from the beginning – it was pretty much firmly in place from the inception of me taking on the project. They were very trusting of me throughout the entire process, almost to the degree to which I was frightened, because it really is all me, 100 per cent – there's no one to blame if something goes wrong, except for myself!"

Does that mean Harley Quinn, King Shark, and Bloodsport are all dead meat? Well, you will have to wait and find out. Gunn also spoke about how Warner Bros. approached him about the project, with the studio offering the filmmaker any DC property, including Superman. 

"Warner came a-calling pretty immediately upon the news," Gunn recalls, referring to the news that Disney had removed him from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (he was later reinstated as director). "I think everything kind of went down [with Disney] on like a Friday, and I think by Monday, Warners were trying to get a hold of me to talk to me about Superman and a bunch of other stuff. But it took me a little while to decide what I was going to do – I really just needed to take care of myself from an emotional and spiritual place.

"Before agreeing to anything, I took the three ideas that excited me the most," he continues. "Two were actually DC projects, and then the other one was an original idea. For about a month, every other day I worked on one of those projects, trying to see where the ideas would go. The Suicide Squad really did seem the thing that excited me the most. That’s when I went and told DC – because they'd offered me basically anything [I wanted to make] – that the one I wanted to do was The Suicide Squad."

Inside the new issue, Total Film talks in-depth with writer/director Gunn, and cast members including Idris Elba, Margot Robbie, John Cena, Daniela Melchior and Peter Capaldi. And that's not all – elsewhere in the issue, Total Film goes on set of Zack Snyder's Army of the Dead, speaks to Barry Jenkins about his long-form adaptation of The Underground Railroad, and there are interviews with Robin Wright, Ben Wheatley, and Mads Mikkelsen.

The Suicide Squad opens in UK cinemas on August 6 (and debuts in cinemas and on HBO Max on the same date in the US). The new issue of Total Film hits newsstands real and digital this Friday, April 30. Check out the new super-size covers, as revealed by James Gunn, below…

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(Image credit: Total Film)
Jack Shepherd
Freelance Journalist

Jack Shepherd is the former Senior Entertainment Editor of GamesRadar. Jack used to work at The Independent as a general culture writer before specializing in TV and film for the likes of GR+, Total Film, SFX, and others. You can now find Jack working as a freelance journalist and editor.