When Does The Suicide Squad Fit Into The DCEU Timeline?
Here's when takes place in the DCEU timeline. James Gunn's follow-up to 2016's isn't quite a sequel nor a full reboot, but its own, largely standalone story. That said, it does exist within the larger framework of the DC Extended Universe, continuing on the journeys of several previously established characters. That group is Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), and Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney).
The Suicide Squad is unlike any DCEU movie to have come before. James Gunn was brought in with a manifesto to make something truly his own and as go, it's one of the best. Packed with heart, it's outrageous, bloody and has an unexpected edge of pathos that makes even the strangest and most unlikely characters completely irresistible. The movie is full of strange and surprising moments, introducing multiple new characters to the universe, and a new threat to deal with in the form of the villain, Starro. But not everything is completely new.
So, just where does The Suicide Squad fit into the DCEU timeline? Gunn himself confirmed that , as he revealed it's set "in the year it comes out." That means it takes place after both Suicide Squad and , chronologically and likely a fair bit after both of them. Suicide Squad was set in 2016, the same year it released, as evidenced by the case files of the characters. The exact year of Birds of Prey's events isn't as clear, but it's not unreasonable to assume it's also in the year of release, which would put it in 2020. That would make sense of Harley Quinn and Joker's relationship, with four years of terrorizing Gotham behind them, and then mean there's around a year to 18 months before The Suicide Squad takes place. In narrative terms, The Suicide Squad follows on from Birds of Prey, as there's a fairly obvious allusion in Harley's subplot to her past relationship with Jared Leto's Joker.
That would similarly fit well with Harley Quinn's DCEU timeline. to Birds of Prey, and enough time has passed that she's been arrested once more and is back in Belle Reve, ready to rejoin Task Force X, so it makes sense that it isn't set too close to the events of that film, even though it is continuing on her story. There's enough to suggest that Harley is also still reeling from her relationship with Mr J, and The Suicide Squad finally offers her some closure - at the expense of someone else entirely. Based on this, then Harley is roughly 30-31-years-old in The Suicide Squad (since the first movie confirmed her birthday as July 20, 1990), with around a decade of crime under her belt.
The Suicide Squad's other major reference to the DCEU timeline comes with Robert DuBois, aka , who is said to have shot Superman with a Kryptonite bullet. That begs the question of whether or not that event happened before , or after . If before, that would mean Bloodsport committed the crime sometime between and Batman v Superman, and he could be how Lex Luthor knew kryptonite would be so effective. But it was in BvS that the idea of weaponizing kryptonite became so prominent, and it'd make sense if it was available on the black market afterward, suggesting this could've taken place post-Justice League instead, which would reveal at least a little more as to Superman's life after that movie.
In the end, The Suicide Squad limits its references to previous , but in the relationship between Harley Quinn, Boomerang and Rick Flag, plus Harley Quinn's Joker references, there are some ties. James Gunn was very much committed to telling his own story, which means that, while it's set in the present of the DCEU timeline, it doesn't really impact the films around it much either way. But since it is continuing on Harley's journey, and presumably sets up further adventures for her to come, then feeling like there's some continuity there will be important.