Starro the Conqueror: 'The Suicide Squad' Villain Explained

In a movie filled with bad guys, The Suicide Squad had to go big with its main villain, and they couldn't have gone much larger than Starro the Conqueror.

Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, Sylvester Stallone and John Cena are just some of the stars who appear in James Gunn's new version of the DC franchise. The movie has already received rave reviews before its release in the United States, which suggests the movie will prove more popular than the underwhelming 2016 movie Suicide Squad.

While the group of super villains were faced with Cara Delevingne's Enchantress in the first movie, the new batch of rogues go toe to toe with Starro the Conqueror—a giant starfish alien.

The Suicide Squad is out in theaters on Thursday, August 5, before becoming available on Friday, August 6, on HBO Max. Ahead of its release, let's take a closer look at the origins of this big DC Comics star-shaped bad guy.

Who is Starro the Conqueror in the DC Comics?

As James Gunn told Newsweek, The Suicide Squad is filled with "losers, C-list characters and also-rans" so not all the comic book characters will be instantly recognizable.

Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian), Ratcatcher (Daniela Melchior), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), T.D.K aka The Detachable Kid (Nathan Fillion) and King Shark (Sylvester Stallone) are some of the reformed villains the audience are rooting for within the comic book movie. Many of them have been mocked in pop culture for the peculiarity of their powers but Gunn ensures they and their powers are taken very seriously in The Suicide Squad.

Another character not to be messed with is Starro the Conqueror.

Starro the Conqueror in the comics
Starro the Conqueror appearing in a 1997 edition of JLA Secret Files and Origins by DC Comics. DC Comics

First appearing in DC Comics in Brave and the Bold in February 1960, the creature had the honor of making its debut in the same comic as the Justice League of America. Starro then had to wait another 17 years before appearing in an Aquaman comic in 1977.

You'd be forgiven for not realizing that Starro is not actually a starfish, it's just an intelligent alien life form that resembles a starfish. The giant being has the ability to shoot smaller starfish-like creatures out of its body which can then attach itself to humans and control their minds.

Absorption is another major feature of Starro the Conqueror's in the comics, as it proves by absorbing the brainpower of scientists, then it detonates an atomic bomb before absorbing its energy.

In later Starro mythology, it is revealed that Starro belonged to a race of parasites that conquered planets. On the planet Hatorei, an enslaved survivor takes control of an infant Starro queen and mentally dominates the entire parasitic race.

peter capaldi and starro london
Peter Capaldi, who plays genius Scientist ‘Thinker’ in James Gunn’s "The Suicide Squad," poses with ‘Starro’ the giant Starfish in London’s Leicester Square. Dave J Hogan/Getty Images for Warner Bros

Starro the Conqueror in The Suicide Squad

From early previews, the movie version of Starro the Conqueror appears far more colorful than its comic book original. With a bright pink and blue color scheme, its different from the originally designed gray edition. The character has later changed appearance and taken on a purple hue with its spawn appearing green.

UK residents will have a better idea of what Starro would look like in real life with the installation of a Starro the Conqueror statue at London's Leicester Square.

Starro the Conqueror
London commuters pass by the 15-meter giant blue & pink Starro that’s landed in Leicester Square. James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad is out on August 5, 2021 in the United States. Dave J Hogan/Getty Images for Warner Bros

James Gunn's The Suicide Squad is out in theaters nationwide on Thursday, August 5 and available on HBO Max Friday, August 6.