When it was first announced that the cast had been signed for DC Films' villain adventure Suicide Squad, comic book fans immediately recognized the similarities between the film's roster and the most recent version of the team in DC's New 52. There was Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Boomerang, and even the fire-wielding Diablo making the leap to live-action - with one notable exception: the humanoid sea creature known as King Shark. And not long after, the rumors started swirling about his involvement (or absence).
Most of the rumors suggesting King Shark would make an appearance were tied to false leads or misdirection, but now director David Ayer has revealed that his original idea really was to include the mystical/supernatural, man-eating monster as a member of his team. But in the end, some important factors led to the character's replacement with a different aquatic villain bearing an ominous moniker.
Speaking as part of a Twitter Q&A, director David Ayer was asked if there were any members of the team that had been considered, but ultimately cut. Ayer had previously explained that the majority of the roster was basically set from the start, but did reveal one tidbit for DC Comic fans:
"One of the characters I was thinking about for the Squad line-up was actually King Shark. But we realized it would take a lot of work, a lot of CG work. I wasn't quite comfortable having a full-CG character. We actually ended up going with Killer Croc, who turned out to be the right guy for the job."
So, a bit of good news/bad news for the comic book die-hards, with King Shark at one time in the running (but cut for what sounds like the right reasons). It's also likely that the idea was put forward in the film's earliest stages, before the overall tone and level of realism had been set. Costume designer Kate Hawley explained that the original vision for Suicide Squad was even closer to the comic book fantasy than the style Ayer finally settled on, meaning King Shark may have been a remnant of the original direction.
That isn't to say that a version of the villain couldn't have worked on film. When we spoke with the filmmakers during our visit to the Suicide Squad set, producer Andy Horwitz reiterated that quality of the character or his story wasn't the deciding factor (and the version brought to life on The Flash actually stunned skeptics), just the fact that the cast was decided to be real actors, in real costumes, having real chemistry. Which is why, in the end, Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) was the right choice:
"When approaching the character, I think the first thing that David said, and we all agreed, is we're not having a full-CG character in this movie. It was something that, once we committed to that idea... it was quite a commitment. Because as you can see, his makeup and his prosthetics are incredible. I've never seen anything like it on set... You can sit one foot away from his face and stare at him and you can't figure out if it's real or if it's not."
Now, before comic fans get too disappointed, it's still entirely possible that King Shark could make a cameo in the story. That may be crossing fingers and hoping for the best, but knowing that the villain was on Ayer's mind in the early stages may carry some weight. If nothing else, perhaps a glimpse of which version of King Shark was the original idea: the actual walking shark, or the human/shark hybrid from the Assault on Arkham animated film.
Suicide Squad is scheduled to arrive in theaters on August 5, 2016; Wonder Woman is slated for release on June 2, 2017; followed by Justice League on November 17, 2017; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020. The Flash is without release date.
Source: David Ayer