CS Soapbox: Who is Starro and what is he doing in The Suicide Squad?
Holy smoke! By now most have seen the trailer for James Gunn’s The suicide squad and will probably have a few questions: first, what about the d * ck jokes? Second, why is Idris Elba so damn cool in everything he does? Third, and maybe most importantly, what the hell is that giant starfish kaiju thing?
We don’t have the answers to the first two questions other than to say that Gunn has a certain sense of humor that borders happily on teenagers, and Elba’s coolness is unmatched by anyone except maybe Sean Connery, but let’s speculate on the third ?
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As it turns out, the starfish thing is part of an alien species known as the star conqueror. One known specifically as Starro the Conqueror, overthrows planets with strange psychic abilities that allow him to control his victims. Starro’s methods are not that different from the Glorzo Race in the Jeff Loveness-authored episode of the fourth season of Rick and Morty, “Promortyus” (aside from that whole new egg popping out of the stomach) by employing spores (which are produced asexually) that cling to an entity’s face to create a psychological bond / access dreams / memories … such things. It is strange. These spores can also grow to various sizes, with some expanding to the size of a building (as seen in) The suicide squad Pendant.)
Starro first appeared in Brave and the Bold # 28 in 1960, created by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky, and is the first villain to face the original Justice League of America, which consists of Green Lantern, Flash, Wonder Woman and Aquaman and Martian Manhunter (Batman and Superman were sick in this particular issue). On its first appearance, Starro comes to earth in the form of a very large starfish and multiplies by using its mind control powers to lure people into the ocean in order to hijack and absorb their brainpower, placing seaside areas under their mental control pose and explode an atom bomb to absorb its energy. After several individual battles, Starro is thwarted by a young teenager named Snapper Carr, who is immune to his telepathic abilities as he is covered in Quicklime, a chemical used to repel starfish from oyster traps that the League uses to cover and cause Starro to wither and die, though a segment initially survives and regenerates into a full creature before being defeated by the mighty Aquaman.
Of course, since this is a comic book villain, Starro keeps popping up to fight the Justice League, suffering humiliating defeats from freshwater (!), Dreams and – at one point in the 1980s death – from fighting a rabbit hero called captain carrot. He even appeared in the Justice League 3D ride at Warner Bros. Movie World in Oxenford, Austrailia, which we didn’t know was a thing until that moment. (Thanks to CBR.com and check out the footage from the ride in the player below!)
Most famously, Starro took over the Justice League in Justice League of America # 189, where he created dozens of duplicates of himself that managed to look at the faces of Superman, Wonder Woman, green lantern, red tornado, black Canary and Firestorm cling to them under his control. As it turns out, Red Tornado’s computational spirit is apparently immune to Starro’s mental control, allowing him to escape long enough to team up with Zatanna, who aptly ice creams the smaller duplicates and freezes the big guy.
What does all this have to do with it? The suicide squad? Our prediction: The squad consisting of Bloodsport, Peacemaker, Captain Boomerang, Ratcatcher 2, Savant, King Shark, Blackguard, Javelin and Harley Quinn will be sent to Corto Maltese to eliminate a threat. However, it turns out that the mission is a mysterious alien species (Starro) that has multiplied and tied to a number of soldiers with whom it then carries out an all-out attack. The DC Fandome Sneak Peek showed brief images of soldiers covered in starfish (see below) that apparently bear a remarkable resemblance to the character’s comic gadgets.
Another theory concerns the thinker (played by Peter Capaldi and seen on the ominous poster below).
Another history lesson (told in my best impression of Zack Snyder’s Justice League Gal Gadot Flashback Voice): In the comics, a young man named Cobi was able to overcome the star conquerors on his own planet by extreme measures and turn them into his own personal weapons, giving him the name Starro the Conqueror. He was also given an evil helmet, a huge ax that would make Conan blush, and his own starfish on his chest.
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As mentioned earlier, Starro uses telepathy for his nefarious means that mirror the powers of the thinker who is also said to be one of the movie’s villains. So what if the Thinker is essentially Starro the Conqueror, despite being changed for theatrical reasons? The character’s poster seems to hint at his ability to control the starfish, not to mention the idea, which sounds so strange to Gunn that he can hold onto it.
And no, Capaldi Army, I haven’t forgotten you either. Peter Capaldi as the thinker. #TheSuicideSquad pic.twitter.com/1FdesQrXDo
– James Gunn (@JamesGunn) March 26, 2021
Or maybe Starro is actually the giant starfish we see in the trailer, and the troop must involve the thinker in the conspiracy to destroy the alien, which is why they threaten the poor, weird-looking guy with death should he sneeze without to cover his mouth. You clearly don’t want him with you, but you may need to use his telepathic abilities to tackle this new alien threat as the Thinker’s mind is unlikely to be affected by Starro’s powers, giving the villain a unique advantage that the other squad’s -I don’t have members. Also, you know (and hope) that we’ll get a scene in which Starro manages to control some of the suicide squad so we can get villain-versus-villain action.
A treat: Zack Snyder could have alluded to Starro in his own game Justice League cut across this weird starfish-like device that clings to Steppenwolf’s victim for reading their minds, which is pretty cool whether it was on purpose or not.
Thanks again for all you’ve done @ZackSnyder I love the movie it’s amazing – I assume the mind devices #Steppenwolf are using is a starro easter egg, a true fan sir pic.twitter. com / WzuZuOaBBx
– matt (@Goldcoastbatman) March 22, 2021
Here you go. Of course, a lot more history revolves around Starro and his many comic book appearances over the years, but this should at least help clarify why a giant starfish roams around the fun, bloody, and beautifully R-rated The suicide squad Pendant.
What do you think? Are we close or so far that we might as well jump into an ocean and stick a starfish on our faces? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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