James Gunn Considered Making Superman the Villain in ‘The Suicide Squad’ Instead of Starro

James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad has been getting rave reviews from critics. Released as a standalone sequel to 2016’s Suicide Squad, the film features an ensemble cast including the likes of Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, and John Cena, among others.

The Suicide Squad includes familiar faces such as Harley Quinn and Rick Flag, but the movie also has some unexpected characters such as Ratcatcher II and Polka-Dot Man. The film’s antagonist, Starro — an enormous starfish that releases tons of facegrabbing lookalikes — is also unusual. 

Starro plays off of the film’s primary characters well, but it wasn’t originally the villain Gunn wanted the Suicide Squad to take on. Apparently, Gunn considered making Superman the antagonist in The Suicide Squad

James Gunn originally considered making Superman the antagonist in ‘The Suicide Squad’

James Gunn attends the Warner Bros. premiere of "The Suicide Squad" at Regency Village Theatre
James Gunn attends the Warner Bros. premiere of “The Suicide Squad” at Regency Village Theatre | Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Gunn discussed the creative decision-making behind The Suicide Squad characters during a recent interview with Script Apart.

“There was a time when I thought The Suicide Squad should fight Superman. … I thought that was a very interesting story,” he admitted. 

He went with Starro because he’s ridiculous and scary

Even though Gunn liked the idea of Superman being in the movie at first, he realized there was a better option out there. He ended up going with Starro, one of the most unusual supervillains in the DC universe. 

“When I came up with Starro, he’s a character I love from the comics. I think he’s a perfect comic book character because he’s absolutely ludicrous but also very scary in his own way. What he does is scary,” Gunn explained. “He used to scare the crap out of me when I was a child, putting those facehuggers on Superman and Batman. So I thought he was one of the major, major DC villains that was probably never going to be put into another movie. And if they did, it’d have been a ‘black cloud’ version of Starro. Not a giant walking starfish, a kaiju that’s bright pink and cerulean blue, this ridiculously big, bright bad guy.”

Including Superman might’ve been problematic for future DC movies

Gunn also opted not to include Superman because he realized it could potentially cause issues with future DC films that might feature the Man of Steel. 

“I think, just in the moment, I thought Starro might work a little better, you know?” Gunn said. “I also think, at the time, there were a lot of questions like, ‘Who is Superman in the DCEU? Is this movie outside the DCEU?’ And all that’s stuff that I didn’t really want to deal with that much. I just wanted to tell a good story.”

James Gunn had complete freedom with ‘The Suicide Squad’

Gunn’s discernment has proven to be great for the film. In a separate interview with The Digital Fix, Gunn revealed that Warner Bros. didn’t interfere with his creative decision-making in any way. 

“Just the fact I knew I was being entrusted with this enormous amount of freedom on such a big-budget movie, it felt like a huge responsibility to do it the best I could … I felt a responsibility to take risks …  if we don’t continue to take risks and change and try new things then people aren’t going to want to come to the theatre if it’s the same boring three-act structure every time. People are going to get bored,” Gunn said. 

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