After the negative reception for David Ayer’s Suicide Squad in 2016, DC and Warner Bros. made a big effort to have a better sequel, eventually deciding to make it a soft-reboot. In October 2018, James Gunn was hired to write and direct the sequel to Suicide Squad, with the upcoming film simply being titled The Suicide Squad. Gunn was gored for the movie after he was fired from directing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 by Walt Disney for controversial tweets that he made in the past. Despite eventually being rehired by Disney, Gunn decided to complete his work on The Suicide Squad first before returning to Marvel. Gunn revealed the cast members for the film, but refused to explain who they were playing just yet, wanting it to be a surprise. On August 22, a panel was held at the massive online event DC Fandome for the upcoming superhero film The Suicide Squad written and directed by Gunn. After a brief Q&A, Gunn revealed which characters the cast members would be playing.

The cast includes Idris Elba as Bloodsport, John Cena as Peacemaker, Peter Capaldi as The Thinker, David Dastmalchian as Polka-Dot Man, Michael Rooker as Savant, Nathan Fillion as TDK, Pete Davidson as Blackguard and several others. The only cast members to return from the first film are Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang and Joel Kinnaman as Colonel Rick Flag. Will Smith was supposed to originally return as Deadshot, but declined to appear. Elba was originally going to replace Smith as Deadshot, but Gunn decided to have him play a different character, allowing Smith the opportunity to potentially return in the future as his character.

The information was first revealed through a video during the announcement. The panel then ended with a behind-the-scenes video showcasing the production of the movie with several cast of the members praising Gunn as the perfect person to write and direct the film, with brief shots of footage being shown to the audience during the video.