Is ‘the Suicide Squad’ a Sequel or a Reboot? The Answer Is Complicated

James Gunn’s supervillain epic The Suicide Squad had fans eager for a second chance at the titular team after 2016’s Suicide Squad didn’t quite match up with box office expectations. As a result, a lot of people are wondering whether The Suicide Squad is a sequel to the 2016 film or a soft reboot, as the new version contains many of the same characters as the first.

Read on for everything we know about The Suicide Squad and clarification if the film is a sequel, a reboot, or both. It’s a little complicated.

So, is ‘The Suicide Squad’ a sequel or a reboot of 2016’s ‘Suicide Squad?’

Thankfully, we can finally answer the question if The Suicide Squad is a direct sequel to 2016’s Suicide Squad or if it’s more of a soft reboot. Decider notes that initially, Warner Bros. did intend to follow up the 2016 flick but pivoted in a new direction by hiring director James Gunn of Guardians of the Galaxy fame.

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Source: Warner Bros.

The Suicide Squad is a brand-new story featuring a similar cast of characters, avoiding having to set up the premise over again while also allowing for characters in both films to expand their arcs. More than half the characters in The Suicide Squad were not in the first movie, and this also allows for any subsequent follow-ups to include characters from both the 2016 and 2021 Suicide Squad films.

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Therefore, The Suicide Squad isn’t entirely a reboot, nor is it a direct sequel. Warner Bros. wanted to “relaunch the franchise” without contradicting their earlier work, and thus, this film can be watched on its own or in concert with the first. Characters who overlap in both films include Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller, Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, Joel Kinnaman’s Colonel Rick Flag, and Jai Courtney as “Digger” Harkness, aka Captain Boomerang.

'The Suicide Squad'

Source: Warner Bros.

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Will there be a ‘The Suicide Squad’ sequel?

John Cena as Peacemaker and Joel Kinnaman as Col. Rick Flagg in 'The Suicide Squad'

Source: Warner Bros.

A television show based around John Cena’s character of Peacemaker began filming before The Suicide Squad was released, and the series is supposed to serve as an origin story for his character. The show will also star side characters from The Suicide Squad, such as Jennifer Holland’s Emilia Harcourt and Steve Agee as Belle Reve’s notorious warden, John Economos.

The Suicide Squad is in theaters and streaming on HBO Max Aug. 5, beginning at 7 p.m. EST.

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