James Gunn says The Suicide Squad will be informed by early comics, especially John Ostrander's reboot of the group from the '80s.
Yesterday, James Gunn shared an image of The Brave and the Bold #25 from 1955 on his Instagram. As he notes, it features a version of the Suicide Squad—their debut, in fact—quite different from what modern audiences may know. And when a fan asked about King Shark appearing in the upcoming film about the team, director Gunn shared some insight into the movie's comic book inspiration:
King Shark is a relatively recent member of the team. The original Squad was a group of adventurers, soldiers and scientists, who explored and battled anomalous events. Ostrander in the 80’s [sic] introduced the idea of the Dirty Dozen with disposable, second rate supervillains. King Shark didn’t enter the team till the 2000’s [sic]. Our movie takes elements from all those timelines but is especially indebted to Ostrander (and Kim Yale).
The "original" Squad is the one from the comic in the image, a group that wasn't composed of criminals forced to work for the government on deadly missions. That change came when John Ostrander rebooted the team in the late '80s, and it looks as if both versions (as well as the more recent comics) will inspire DC's soft reboot of the franchise.
But the more interesting tidbit is Gunn seeming to claim King Shark won't appear in his film. Rumors circulated earlier this year that Michael Rooker would play the villain before news broke last month that Steve Agee will potentially voice King Shark. But while Agee was listed in the cast list for The Suicide Squad, it's important to note that King Shark has not been officially confirmed.
It's possible Gunn is simply downplaying King Shark's role in the film — as it stands, the cast is quite extensive and Gunn has already warned fans not to get attached to any of the characters given the nature of Task Force X — but we may not know for sure until the characters for the new movie are officially announced.
Written and directed by James Gunn, The Suicide Squad is set to hit theaters on Aug. 6, 2021. Several cast members from 2016's Suicide Squad will reprise their roles, including Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller and Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang.