As production is looking to wind down on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Warner Bros. is currently reading its third DC Comics film of the new era: Suicide Squad. The project is in some ways an odd follow-up to Batman v Superman in that it doesn’t really feature any of the characters that casual fans might recognize, with Warner Bros. instead saving Wonder Woman, Aquaman, etc. for after Suicide Squad. David Ayer, the writer/director behind Fury and End of Watch, is set to direct and is currently working on the script, and casting has begun with Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and Tom Hardy all in talks to play members of the titular group of supervillains.
But now it looks like Warner Bros. is keen on adding some connective tissue to Suicide Squad that will make it feel more like a piece of the DC Movie Universe, and it’s a pretty big development: the studio is now in negotiations with Jesse Eisenberg to bring his Lex Luthor character into the Suicide Squad fold. More after the jump.
For those unfamiliar with Suicide Squad, the story revolves around a team of antihero supervillains who work for the U.S. government, undertaking dangerous black ops missions in exchange for commuted prison sentences. That’s an intriguing premise, and certainly in the hands of Ayer it could make for a pretty exciting film—he’s already described it as being in the vein of The Dirty Dozen. But Warner Bros. is looking to give the picture an added boost as Deadline reports that the studio is in discussions with Eisenberg for him to become part of the Suicide Squad ensemble as Lex Luthor.
Eiseneberg makes his first appearance as the villainous character in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, for which he is presumably the primary antagonist. After that film, the DC Comics characters will assemble for the two-part Justice League movie to battle Brainiac and/or Darkseid in 2017 and 2019, but adding Eisenberg to Suicide Squad will keep his Luthor character in the thick of the DC Movie Universe.
It’s unclear if the plan is for Luthor to become a main part of the Suicide Squad ensemble or if he’ll simply be a supporting character in the film; it’s hard enough to imagine actors like Smith, Hardy, and Robbie sharing screentime amongst themselves, let alone making room for another high-profile character.
Should Eisenberg sign on for Suicide Squad, it would put director Todd Phillips’ (The Hangover) upcoming Arms and Dudes in jeopardy. The actor is contractually obligated to return for Now You See Me 2, and with Suicide Squad starting production in spring 2015, Deadline notes that it’s unlikely he could do both that film and Arms and Dudes.
It’ll be interesting to see what becomes of all this, but it’s certainly clear that Warner Bros. is moving full-speed ahead with carving out its own cinematic universe of comic book characters. Suicide Squad is slated to open on August 5, 2016.