James Gunn Says 'The Suicide Squad' Almost Fought Superman

James Gunn's explosive new supervillain movie The Suicide Squad almost featured one of the biggest superheroes in the entire DC stable. In a new interview, Gunn says he initially thought about the members of Task Force X facing off against Superman instead of going head to head with Starro (AKA "Project Starfish"). Read Gunn's full quote below, including his explanation for why that particular cinematic confrontation did not end up happening.

On the newest episode of the Script Apart podcast, which features writers talking about early drafts of their screenplays and how those drafts evolved into their final forms, Gunn says he considered including Kal-El as the ostensible villain of the movie – or at least as the opposing force to the members of the Suicide Squad.

"There was a time when I thought the Suicide Squad should fight Superman," Gunn said:

"I thought that was a very interesting story. Then 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. 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."

Why Wasn't Superman in the Movie?

When pressed about why Gunn didn't end up going with the Superman idea, he said he simply thought Starro would work out better. But that wasn't all: "At the time, there were a lot of questions like, 'Who is Superman in the DCEU? Is this movie outside the DCEU?', and I just didn't want to deal with it all that much," Gunn said. "I just wanted to tell a good story."

Superman does get referenced in the final cut of the film: Viola Davis's Amanda Waller explains that Idris Elba's Deadshot put Superman in the hospital by shooting him with a Kryptonite bullet, which is why he was locked in Belle Reve in the first place. But a version of this film that featured Superman instead of Starro sounds like it would have been a completely different movie, potentially devoid of the commentary about American foreign policy and the dirty secrets the country is willing to do anything to protect.

The Suicide Squad is in theaters and on HBO Max right now.