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David Ayer's Suicide Squad Cut - Will It Ever Happen?

The 2016 movie "Suicide Squad" might have been a box office hit, but critics largely panned its inconsistent tone, messy plot, and out-of-place music choices. Director David Ayer has gone on record to say the film was recut multiple times and was not his original vision. Since those comments, there's been speculation that Ayer's cut of "Suicide Squad" could be released — but will it ever actually happen?

"Suicide Squad" was a big-budget superhero film based on the villainous Task Force X team from the comics. With big stars playing notable characters such as Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Will Smith as Deadshot, and Jared Leto as the Joker, there was considerable excitement from audiences about what the film could be ahead of its release. However, what fans got was a movie clearly marred with studio interference with reshoots and multiple cuts to transform the project into a more light-hearted affair. As a result, the film Ayer initially turned in is said to look considerably different from the one that ended up in theaters. Since its release, the existence of an Ayer's cut has been floated around, with the helmer and cast commenting about the original vision and whether they'd want to see the director's edit be released to the public. 

What has cast and crew said about the Ayer Cut?

David Ayer has been asked about the potential release of his original cut of "Suicide Squad" quite a few times. He has confirmed his version is much more dramatic than the final product, tweeting in 2020 that the polarizing reviews for the DCEU's "Batman vs. Superman – Dawn of Justice" and the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's "Deadpool," led to his dramatic vision getting turned into a comedy. 

Ayer referred to his original trailer for the movie as "Methodical. Layered. Complex, beautiful, and sad." The director added, "I watched my cut for the first time since it was abandoned. It is f***ing amazing. On God." In a 2020 live stream (via The Direct), fellow DCEU director Zack Snyder, whose "Justice League" film was finished without his involvement before his version was later released, had some kind words for Ayer. "I support any filmmaker who needs to get their version of their movie, or their vision, sort of, seen because I've had such generous support, so I really would hope other people would get the same," he said. He called the studio cut "not my movie" in a scathing 2021 letter.

Margot Robbie was asked by Variety about whether she would want to see Ayer's cut while promoting James Gunn's pseudo-sequel, "The Suicide Squad." She said the situation was complicated but remarked, "I would want to see the cut of every movie I've been a part of that I've never seen." Will Smith said he would love to see the Ayer Cut released, telling Variety that much of the film didn't see the light of day. Even John Cena, who wasn't involved in the first "Suicide Squad," told the outlet he wouldn't mind seeing the Ayer Cut in theaters.

What could be explored in the Suicide Squad's original cut?

David Ayer's cut of "Suicide Squad" is said to have a much different tone than the version that hit theaters. The obvious differences were the reshoots and edits to give the film a more comedic tone, which clashed with Ayer's soulful, dramatic approach. The original film's soundtrack was said not to be dominated by modern music, but instead, it centered on the likes of Etta James, the White Stripes, and Black Sabbath, with the latter two particularly fitting the tone of a grittier movie.

As far as plot changes, Ben Affleck's stunt double, Richard Cetrone, said in an interview (via Comic Book Movie) that some action scenes featuring Batman were cut from the film, including a car chase sequence. Ayer tweeted that his film would have also opened with June Moon and her transformation into Enchantress. Likewise, actor Adam Beach said in a now-deleted tweet that Slipknot, who is part of Task Force X but is quickly killed, would have had his own opening sequence showing how he joined the squad. 

Other potential differences included a deeper look at Harley Quinn (who is said to be more empowered in his cut) and the Joker's twisted relationship, Joker's role in the film being expanded, a romance subplot with Deadshot and Harley, Diablo surviving the film, and a Parademon originally supposed to be the team's final battle, not Enchantress' brother, Incubus.

All of these plot points (and likely more things left on the cutting room floor) would be fun to see on the big screen. The number of changes highlights how different the original cut would be from the final.

Who would star in the Suicide Squad Ayer Cut?

David Ayer's cut of the "Suicide Squad" would have featured the same actors but with more fleshed-out characters. Everyone from Jared Leto's Joker to the sword-wielding Katana (Karen Fukuhara) to Adam Beach's Slipknot were rumored to have increased roles in the new cut. However, thanks to ugly behind-the-scenes post-production and DC Entertainment choosing to recut the film before its release, a lot of character moments seemed to have been pulled from the flick.

Ultimately, Ayer's next project with DC after "Suicide Squad", an adaptation of "Gotham City Sirens," starring Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn and more popular female villains from the pages of DC Comics such as Poison Ivy and Catwoman, never made it into production. It's easy to speculate Ayer's frustration regarding how "Suicide Squad" was handled after it was filmed, plus the negative reception for the movie stopped it from being made. "Gotham City Sirens" would later be shelved in favor of a different Quinn-starring film, "BIrds of Prey," directed by Cathy Yan. It appears unlikely Ayer's vision for that project will ever see the light of day.

The ship might have sailed, but fans still want to see the Ayer Cut

David Ayer told Variety he's spoken to the DCU's new leader, James Gunn, and said the Suicide Squad "would have its time to be shared." So, until that happens, fans eager to see the film will have to hold their bated breath. However, with Zack Snyder's cut of "Justice League" eventually being released, it's not outside the realm of possibility that Ayer's vision for "Suicide Squad" is released one day. But, with Gunn working hard on "Superman: Legacy" and shaping the new DCU, it's likely not a priority for him to release it now.

It seems everyone has moved on for now. Gunn's 2021 "The Suicide Squad" is seen as the superior film and was much more of a critical hit despite its box office numbers being considerably less than the first film, mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ayer has since directed Netflix's "Bright" and "The Tax Collector," with both films getting negative reviews. His next project is the Jason Statham-starring action film, "The Beekeeper," set for a 2024 release. 

At the end of the day, Ayer deserves to have his vision of the film shown. Hopefully, as unlikely as it appears, DC will make that happen one day.