Warner Brothers announced this week that Suicide Squad 2 will be directed by Gavin O’Connor. The sequel to the 2016 hit is scheduled to start filming before the end of this year, with O’Connor also listed as writer.

This announcement comes at the end of a long search by Warner Brothers and DC for a director, with some rumours that action star Mel Gibson was interested in taking the project.

The original Suicide Squad was not well received by fans nor critics, but it was a huge commercial success worldwide, grossing over $745 million. The film was plagued by issues behind the scenes, with much of the movie being re-edited and several scenes re-shot or cut just prior to its release. As a result of this, it was generally felt that the film lacked a strong creative voice and suffered from severe pacing issues throughout. Director David Ayer is still working on the DC cinematic universe and is heading Gotham City Sirens, an adaptation of the comic book that focused on Harley Quinn, Catwoman and Poison Ivy.

Gavin O’Connor has been making movies for a long time; he first came into prominence with his Indie hit Tumbleweeds and has been working in Hollywood ever since. His notable hits include Miracle, Pride and Glory and Warrior.

So what could this mean for Suicide Squad 2? Well, Gavin O’Connor is very good at working an emotional core into his action oriented films, as he did masterfully in 2008’s Warrior, and what the original Suicide Squad lacked, among other many other things, was heart. None of the characters felt like real people, and while you might say “Duh, it’s a film where a crocodile man and exploding gang-banger take on a magic witch lady”, that is no excuse. Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2 made me care about a blue space pirate cyborg, District 9 made me care about gross prawn aliens, Suicide Squad failed to make me give a damn about any of its quirky, colourful characters. By the end, I was rooting for the Enchantress to destroy the Earth just so I wouldn’t have to watch it anymore.

Now Gavin O’Connor is directing, I actually feel a glimmer of hope. If he does what he has done before and throws a bit of emotion and likeability into it, then maybe, just maybe, Suicide Squad 2 will be a great movie.

Assuming Warner Brothers and DC don’t just ruin it like they did last time, of course.

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