The Suicide Squad’s James Gunn Explains Why King Shark Isn’t a Hammerhead

The Suicide Squad’s James Gunn Explains Why King Shark Isn’t a Hammerhead
King Shark, as motion-captured with the help of Steve Agee. (Screenshot: Warner Bros.)

The DC Comics villain King Shark has always been your very normal, rudimentary, giant anthropomorphic pants-wearing shark-man. But when DC rebooted its universe with The New 52, King Shark became a giant anthropomorphic pants-wearing hammerhead shark man. Now that he’s making his big-screen debut in The Suicide Squad, he’s a regular ol’… giant anthropomorphic pants-wearing shark-man again. What gives?

This is the question a Twitter user asked director James Gunn this weekend, and he had a very reasonable, non-snarky response:

Please just imagine you, yourself, trying to hold a conversation with King Shark while his eyes were jutting past the sides of your head. It would be off-putting in the extreme, and it would be almost as off-putting to watch someone have a conversation with a (takes breath) giant anthropomorphic pants-wearing shark-man whose eyes were running perpendicular to normal lines of sight.

Also, not that the hammerhead look isn’t distinctive, but man, King Shark’s original design is so good and classic that it really doesn’t need any tweaking. Its simplicity can convey humour and horror in equal measures, which makes it absolutely perfect for Gunn’s semi/non/quasi-Suicide Squad reboot, HBO Max’s animated Harley Quinn series, and even The Flash TV series.

Plus, using KS’s original design made this happy little moment happen with the character’s creator Karl Kesel on Twitter:

Aw. Now we’re going to be sad if King Shark is one of the plethora of villains killed off in The Suicide Squad when it hits Australian theatres on August 5.

The film stars Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, Idris Elba as Bloodsport, John Cena as Peacemaker, and many, many, many others, including Sylvester Stallone and Steve Agee as the voice for and performer of King Shark, respectively.