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The Suicide Squad Villain Starro: What You Need To Know About The Starfish Kaiju

The brand new trailer for James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad offers us more than a few reasons to be excited for the upcoming DC Comics movie – from the ultimately unnecessary mission to rescue Harley Quinn, to the excessive violence of King Shark – but there is no question that it’s the big reveal in the final seconds that has us most pumped for the new movie. There has been speculation flying around for months wondering if the blockbuster would be featuring the villainous Starro as its big bad, and the latest footage seems to have confirmed exactly that, with Steve Agee’s undisclosed character announcing, “We’ve got a freaking kaiju up in this shit!”

Of course, there are surely many of you who have absolutely no clue what the hell a “Starro” is – and it’s for all of you that we’ve put together this quick little primer. By the end of reading this, you’ll understand not only why it’s exciting that the monster is appearing in the movie, but also why it should be a serious threat to the titular team…

first appearance of Starro Brave and the Bold #28 cover

Starro’s First Appearance Also Marked The Introduction Of The Justice League

The Brave and the Bold #28 is one of the most important in the history of DC Comics. After all, it was the issue that introduced one of the most important teams in the history of comics in general. In the March 1960 issue, characters including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter teamed up for the first time, revealing to readers for the first time the superhero group known as the Justice League Of America. And who was the foe that these powerful protagonists had to team up and defeat? None other than Starro.

Like how Loki was the first enemy faced by The Avengers, the greatest heroes of the DC universe had to work together to try and defeat a deadly foe from another world. And while the Suicide Squad was in no way involved with the fight, it is interesting to note that it was in the same Brave And The Bold series that Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru introduced the original group of soldiers that operated under that name.

Starro in DC Comics

Starro Looks Like A Giant Starfish

You’ve probably figured this out by now from the images that are featured in this article, but Starro’s appearance is notable in that it is a giant intergalactic starfish. Multiple versions of the character have been featured in the pages of DC Comics in the years since he debuted, but that is one aspect that has always remained consistent. The history of the species goes back billions of years, as the species exists to spread across the cosmos and dominate every world that it encounters.

Like a starfish, it has five “arms” that are prehensile tentacles and sees through a single eye that is located in the middle of its body. It has the ability to absorb energy and project it either through its arms or its eye, and can fly, making it a dangerous foe in battle, but there is one power that it possesses in particular that makes it a truly terrifying, world-ending threat.

DC Comics Flash Superman Green Lantern Batman Zatanna starro

Starro Controls People By Launching Spores

It’s much easier to take over a planet if all of the living things around support your drive to do so, and that is Starro’s big move. As mighty as it can be as a full-blown kaiju, the really scary thing about it is its ability to reproduce asexually and telepathically communicate with its offspring. Said offspring essentially are parasitic organisms, and what they do to survive is latch on to another organism’s face (not too dissimilar to the Facehuggers in the Alien franchise). When they do this, they gain total control of their host, and the larger Starro can operate them like a puppet.

Once a Starro progeny is peeled off a person’s head the mind control ends, but it should be noted that isn’t the full extent of its psychic powers. Even without its parasites Starro has the ability to reach into people’s dreams/subconscious and manipulate them – which in turn makes them more vulnerable to further manipulation.

Starro vs speedy and green lantern dc comics

Like A Starfish, It Can Regenerate

Basing a dangerous DC villain on a starfish may seem like a rather silly thing on paper (as many old school comic elements do), but thinking that way also ignores that starfish are fascinating creatures. The most fascinating thing about them is their ability to regenerate – which extends to not only when a creature has a limb amputated/cut off, but also a lost limb re-growing an entire new body.

Naturally this is a quality that Starro creators Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky were inspired to include in their comic book creation. The giant starfish species is not only a threat to take over any world that it lands on, but it’s also damn hard to kill due to the fact that they can regrow from simple fragments. It’s easy to imagine that idea alone both being used to comedic and horror effect by James Gunn in The Suicide Squad.

Starro in Powerless

The Suicide Squad Will Mark Only The Second Live-Action Appearance Of Starro

After decades of only seeing pretty much only Batman and Superman get the live-action movie treatment, DC Comics is finally catching up on the cinematic front, and in doing so is giving some of the most iconic villains in the canon opportunity to do what they do best on the big screen. This includes Starro, who will be appearing for the very first time in a Hollywood film with The Suicide Squad – and it’s actually only the second time he has been rendered in a live-action project.

While various DC television shows have referenced and mentioned Starro over the years, the only time he has been featured in a live-action adaptation was in the pilot episode of the short-lived sitcom Powerless, and even there he only made a cameo. If you are looking to check out the character in non-comic form, however, there are tons of options in the realm of animation, as he has been featured in a wide variety of shows, including Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Young Justice, etc) and movies.

Obviously the first trailer for The Suicide Squad only offers us the briefest of tastes in regards to what we can expect from Starro in the blockbuster, but at this point we’re just excited by the tease and hungry to see more. Fortunately the release of the new DC movie isn’t too far off now, as the James Gunn film is on the schedule for August 6 – set to be released simultaneously in theaters and streaming on HBO Max.

Eric Eisenberg

NJ native who calls LA home; lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran; endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.