David Ayer has been trying to release his director's cut of 2016's Suicide Squad, but Warner Bros has shown no interest in releasing it.
Warner Bros wanted Ayer's Suicide Squad to be more like Deadpool, with more comedy and less drama, which was not the director's original intention.
Fans have been eager to see the director's cut, as Ayer and others have praised it and stated that it is significantly different from the cinematic version.
It has been a long, hard and painful road for David Ayer. The maligned filmmaker has been trying to release his director’s cut of 2016’s Suicide Squad but has been met with cold indifference by Warner Bros, the owners of the film. Ayer poured his heart into crafting the film, but the end product was far from what the director intended due to studio interference. Is it time for David Ayer’s Suicide Squad Cut to finally be released? Well, no.
Before James Gunn rebooted the franchise in 2021, David Ayer was the man who brought the Suicide Squad to the big screen in the first live-action adaptation of the famous comic book team of anti-heroes. Unfortunately, critics slammed the film, but it still performed surprisingly well at the box office with $747 million. The negative reviews for Suicide Squad were another blow to the fledgling DCEU, which was still bearing the brunt of bad press for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
According to Ayer, Warner wanted to make his Suicide Squad more like Deadpool, which mixed action and comedy, unlike Ayer’s film, which had less humour and more drama mixed in with the action. Speaking of the studio’s interference in the film, in 2021, Ayer told Entertainment Weekly, “I get it, it’s a business. It’s frustrating because I made a really heartfelt drama, and it got ripped to pieces, and they tried to turn it into Deadpool, which it just wasn’t supposed to be.”
After the debacle with Suicide Squad, David Ayer left Warner, but in 2021, Zach Snyder, aided by fans, successfully lobbied Warner to release his director’s cut version of Justice League. Snyder’s version was a success on HBO Max, and soon, a growing chorus of voices was lobbying Warner and Ayer to release the director’s cut of Suicide Squad.
Fans have been eager to see the mythical director’s cut of Suicide Squad. Ayer and others, like the original film’s editor, Kevin Hickman, have praised the unreleased version of the film, contrasting it with the cinematic version and stating that the two are significantly different from each other. Speaking to CinemaBlend, Hickman noted that:
“Suicide Squad was a challenge because we had so many characters, and at some point, we screened it for the studio, and they wanted to take things in a different direction. Warner Bros wanted the origin of the characters to happen much closer to the beginning and insert a level of comedy into the film. We ended up having to restructure how the characters were introduced.
In the original structure, the characters are kind of introduced in linear fashion and the way that it ended up, we spent the first 20 minutes like bam, here’s this guy, bam, here’s this person, here’s their origin, here’s their backstory. So we kind of shoved everything into the viewer’s face right up front so that we could get the story going. Whereas in the original structure, it kind of happened in many events.”
Ayer’s struggles with DC in attempting to get the alternate director cut released have reached a stalemate. The director recently posted on X, Stating that he is ‘done’ with DC. Ayer expressed frustration at the studio’s lack of interest in releasing the film and is moving on, leaving the project in the doldrums. Fans will be disappointed at this scenario, as many Ayer and Suicide Squad followers are desperate to see a better cut of the film.
Warner Bros and DCU Right For Ignoring Ayer Cut?
James Gunn’s new DC Studios is only just beginning, and Warner may want to avoid looking back to the dark days of the DCEU, choosing to focus on the future of the rebranded DCU. Warner Bros. will be hesitant to inject life into the old DCEU after suffering a torrent of abuse and being forced to jump to the whims of Snyder fans to release the Snydercut of Justice League. If the studio did not need to boost streaming numbers on HBO Max, Warner Bros would have never let the Snydercut see the light of day.
The company was frank in denying David Ayer his film in 2021 when Variety spoke to WarnerMedia Studios CEO Ann Sarnoff. Asked about the possibility of releasing the Ayer cut of Suicide Squad, the executive responded curtly, saying, “We won’t be developing David Ayer’s cut.” Never say never, but that’s pretty firm.”
Warner and Gunn’s DCU are looking to the future and want to avoid looking back to the past by re-releasing directors’ cuts of each old DCEU film. Warner has dragged David Ayer along for several years, and the arduous experience must have been taking a toll on the director.
The best situation for both parties is to let the Ayer cut be placed on the back burner while the new DCU finds its legs. Warner will be nervous, wondering how fans will accept their new venture with James Gunn. Opening the door to the DCEU once more might cause the studio to face backlash again for their treatment of Ayer and his vision for Suicide Squad, which is an undesirable scenario.
In 2022, Variety reported some executives at Warner regretted releasing Zach Snyder’s Justice League. The report stated that ‘rather than quiet the unceasing online campaigning to #ReleasetheSnyderCut, the four-hour HBO Max feature only further entrenched the vocal and extremely online “Snyderverse” fanbase in opposition to the leadership at the studio in general and at DC in particular.’
Warner’s reluctance to give in to fan demands will make it hard for audiences to see David Ayer’s cut of the film. Fans will have an uphill battle, and their work will be cut out for them. Fans of the Snyder Cut of Justice League went to extreme lengths to get that film released; it may be time for Ayer supporters to do the same.
What do you think about the director’s cut of Suicide Squad and David Ayer’s decision to throw in the towel and stop lobbying Warner to release his version of the film?
A secret government agency recruits some of the most dangerous incarcerated super-villains to form a defensive task force to execute dangerous black ops missions and save the world from a powerful threat in exchange for reduced sentences.
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Running Time: 123 minutes
Release Date: 5 August 2016
Cast: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Viola Davis
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