Who Is The Main 'The Suicide Squad' Villain? Starro Explained

There's no other way to say this: Starro is a giant alien starfish that can absorb nukes and shoot lasers from its tentacles. If you really think about it, who better to face off against the Suicide Squad? The upcoming movie directed by James Gunn is already jam-packed with an insane variety of villains, so if they're gonna team up against a single force, it better be a memorable one. And Starro's so incredibly odd that it requires an entire explainer. So here it is — everything you need to know about Starro and its upcoming appearance in The Suicide Squad.

When Did Starro Debut in DC Comics?

This villainous starfish alien made its first appearance during the Silver Age of DC Comics. You might think The Brave and The Bold #28 is significant for introducing the Justice League, but that's because you've forgotten the very first villain they faced off against — Starro itself.

Starro was nearly unstoppable, given its giant form, ability to reproduce, and psychic abilities. Yet, defeating it is a feat the Justice League managed multiple times, thanks to their abilities, some chemical science, and, occasionally, really cold winters. But the Suicide Squad can probably manage without all that, right?

What is Starro’s Origin Story?

Starro is a Star Conquerer, one of many beasts that roam space enslaving species and building nests to nurture the next of their kind. Starro's search for intelligent life eventually brought the creature to Earth, which would've been the perfect nesting ground, if not for all the superheroes.

Starro's first visit to Earth was memorable — it empowered three regular starfish to wreak some serious havoc on the planet. This involved absorbing the energy of an atom bomb and the brainpower of three scientists, all while putting Rhode Island under its psychic control. Ultimately, Starro was defeated using a common gardening substance. Quicklime, it turns out, isn't just great for soil but perfect for defeating superpowered starfish — or at least nullifying their abilities long enough for Aquaman to get involved.

Starro survived and used its psychic abilities to force humans to nurse it back to health. Once large enough, it created enough duplicates to take over the entire population of Metropolis, including a few Justice League members. And what defeated the kaiju-esque alien this time around? Cold weather. Given the sources of its defeat, Starro may not sound especially threatening — but don't be fooled. This conqueror has earned its spot amongst the Justice League rogues gallery because of its impressive powers.

What Are Starro’s Superpowers?

Being a giant alien starfish comes with tons of benefits. Starro can fly through air and space, fire lasers from any of its five tentacles, and, should they be cut off, regenerate its limbs. If you think that makes destroying Starro difficult, know that the creature is basically invulnerable and able to absorb energy, including, for example, atom bombs. In some comics, Starro can also duplicate itself and shrink/grow at a whim.

But these are all just the abilities of your typical space starfish (probably). Starro is special because of its psychic abilities, which will undoubtedly pose a threat to its upcoming adversaries in The Suicide Squad.

Starro can generate smaller parasitic clones that follow its command and attach themselves to victims for it to control. They link themselves to the "host" and assume complete control of their minds and bodies. They lose that power once removed. Starro's clones are often seen on faces, but they've also been known to hide under clothing so their presence won't be revealed.

While this is Starro's most frequent method of stealing control, one version of the villain bred microscopes clones of itself that spread its telepathic will, once inhaled.

Are There Other Iterations of Starro?

The most familiar version of Starro is the very memorable giant starfish, but comics get weird, and villains tend to evolve. Occasionally, Starro takes on new, fascinating forms.

A humanoid version of Starro the Conqueror appears using the same name and producing clones from the mother Starro that lives on his chest. But that's not the weirdness this section was created to talk about. We're here to discuss the best iteration of Starro to date.

After Starro's death in a recent comic, the Justice League saved a small sample of one of its clones. With its regenerative abilities, the sample grows into a complete mini Starro which the team keeps in a jar. They name it Jarro, obviously.

Jarro is actually a pretty helpful addition to the team, allowing them to connect via its psychic link. Jarro is also very attached to Batman, referring to him as "Dad" and dubbing itself the greatest Robin of all time.

Who is Playing Starro in Suicide Squad?

If Starro is to be voiced by anyone, this has yet to be revealed. But we can tell you one person who is absolutely not playing Starro in The Suicide Squad: Taika Waititi.

How Could Starro Fit into the DCEU?

Eagle-eyed viewers noticed Starro in the back of the early teasers and images for The Suicide Squad. Its appearance was only recently confirmed in the latest trailer. Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) gathers the squad with a mission she stresses is of the highest importance — destroying every trace of "Project Starfish."

Waller's not kidding, destroying every piece of Starro is vital to defeating it. Even the smallest bit of starfish could grow into a very lovable jar friend or, more likely, a giant alien kaiju monster. Given recent clips from the trailer, the ragtag team of villains might not accomplish their mission as perfectly as Waller hoped. So, on the bright side for viewers, giant laser starfish action is very likely in our future (with a splash of mind control for good measure).

You might think Starro is an odd choice of villain, but if you've really been paying attention, you know that James Gunn was given full control over his Suicide Squad movie and is clearly going for maximum amounts of fun. During a Q&A, Gunn shared:

It was about taking something that was completely Kaiju-ridiculous, putting him in a setting that is in the gritty streets of Cologne, Panama, and then allowing him to do his scary business. But he's also completely outrageous. That mix of things appealed to my aesthetic is all it was.

Choosing Starro was also based on personal memories of reading about the character in his childhood. He added:

"As a kid, I found Starro completely terrifying. The idea of this giant starfish with one big eye that shoots these things out of them that take over people's brains, like those old pictures with like Superman with this thing on his face, always scared the s–t out of me. "

What better way to choose a villain than thinking back on those that traumatized your childhood? Starro might just traumatize a new wave of young viewers by taking over their favorite villains. In background shots of the trailer, Starro's clones can be seen clinging to the faces of random goons. And in the latest poster for the film, it does the same to core members of the Suicide Squad. This will be the biggest challenge of them all — if any piece of Starro escapes and gains control of squad members, the special reason Waller had for choosing them all will be turned against the entire crew.

The Suicide Squad hits theaters and HBO Max on August 6, 2021.