Superman Almost Portrayed as the Main Antagonist in ‘The Suicide Squad’


In James Gunn’s rendition of the Suicide Squad, the antihero team originally had an alternate adversary planned before facing Starro the Conqueror: none other than Superman himself. Gunn revealed in an interview with Script Apart that he toyed with the idea of having the Suicide Squad combat the Man of Steel.

Gunn admitted, “There was a time when I thought The Suicide Squad should fight Superman.” However, uncertainties surrounding Superman’s role within the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) and his portrayal in the film universe prompted Gunn to pivot towards Starro instead. He expressed hesitations about delving into the intricacies of Superman’s identity in the DCEU at that time.

Elaborating on his hypothetical concept to Filmstarts, Gunn outlined a scenario where expendable supervillains would manipulate Superman, turning the world’s most powerful hero against a group of lesser-known supervillains—namely, The Suicide Squad.


Although the idea of an antagonistic Superman might seem appealing on the surface, Gunn ultimately chose Starro for several reasons. One primary concern was Henry Cavill’s portrayal of Superman, which hadn’t been extensively developed or characterized in the DCEU. Additionally, introducing Superman as a villain so soon after the Snyder Cut revealed potential future storylines involving his descent into darkness might have complicated continuity within the cinematic universe.

Gunn expressed contentment with his decision to feature Starro in The Suicide Squad. He shared his childhood admiration for the character, describing Starro as the “perfect comic book character” due to his outlandish nature coupled with an underlying sense of terror.

Reflecting on his childhood fears, Gunn explained, “He used to scare the crap out of me when I was a child, putting those face-huggers on Superman and Batman.” He praised Starro as a major DC villain that he believed might never be adapted for the big screen. Furthermore, he appreciated the chance to depict Starro as the giant, brightly colored, and menacing kaiju, rather than a toned-down version, envisioning the character in its full, strikingly vibrant form.