The appeal of the Suicide Squad comics is that the titular team's members are interchangeable due to how expendable every one of them is, and the same logic applies in the upcoming movie's story and production. In a recent panel and Twitter Q&A for Suicide Squad, director David Ayer spilled some beans on the creative processes that happened behind the scenes and revealed that a fan favorite character almost made it in his movie's incarnation of the Suicide Squad, only to be replaced by a more familiar name:
"One of the characters for the squad lineup that I was actually thinking about was 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."
Who Is King Shark?
King Shark (a.k.a. Nanaue) is the son of Chondrakha, the King of all Sharks and Shark God in the DC Universe. Known for his distinct humanoid shark appearance, King Shark is feared not just because of his inhuman strength that makes him an unstoppable killing machine, but because of his craving for human flesh. For years, he killed and devoured people on the coasts of Hawaii before Superboy stopped him.
Ever since then, King Shark made a career of joining multiple villainous factions like the Suicide Squad, the Sinister Six, the Legion of Villains under Manchester Black's command and Alexander Luthor's Secret Society of Supervillains. Despite technically being a C-List villain few people remember, King Shark has proven himself to be a formidable foe for the likes of Superboy, Supergirl and even Superman himself (though he lost all of his teeth to the latter). One of his most notable opponents was Aquaman, who even worked alongside King Shark at some point in the One Year Later arc that followed Infinite Crisis.
Recently, King Shark has returned to his villainous ways in DC's New 52 reboot, only this time sporting a hammerhead shark look instead of the classic great white shark style he was originally known for. He was last seen joining New 52's version of the Suicide Squad and the Crime Syndicate in the Forever Evil storyline.
King Shark Before David Ayer
If David Ayer chose to add King Shark to his Suicide Squad cast, it would have been the character's first big screen appearance and the fourth time he was used for a DC feature production.
His first two appearances onscreen were animated, with a cameo in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (2009) and a full-fledged speaking role in Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014) where his ties to the sea gods are ignored in favor of turning him into a gigantic mutated cannibal who just so happened to follow a shark motif and eat people.
His first live-action appearance was in CW's The Flash, where his origins have been altered to fit the show's themes of time travel and the existence of a multiverse. Formerly a marine biologist named Shay Lamden, he died from the massive tumors the particle accelerator inflicted on him in Earth-1 while in Earth-2, he became King Shark (voiced by David Hayter) after the accelerator accident mutated him into a giant walking shark instead of killing him.
Crocs Vs. Sharks
Some fans did not like the idea of having the classic Suicide Squad member be replaced by Batman foe Killer Croc, but David Ayer's choice is not that big a deal. Based on his statements, King Shark would have filled the exact same role Killer Croc serves in Suicide Squad: the monstrous brute who snacks on people. Even if his appearance and origin story were changed to fit David Ayer's signature realistic grit similar to what Batman: Assault on Arkham did by abandoning his connections to Atlantean lore, his absence from the team won't be as jarring as some hardcore fans fear.
That and David Ayer's preference for practical effects overrode any possibility of bringing King Shark to Suicide Squad. Unlike Killer Croc who has appeared in both human and giant size, King Shark has always been depicted to be a hulking shark-headed monster who stood leagues above any normal human being. Using costumes, prosthetics and makeup to bring a human-sized Killer Croc to life is more feasible than giving the same treatment to King Shark, who would need a lot of CGI to do his character's look justice. Given how tight the chemistry of the Suicide Squad cast is, it would be hard to imagine them giving the same level of acting if they were walking and fighting alongside a dude in a green suit instead of a scaly cannibal played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.
Suicide Squad producer Andy Horwitz explained this change earlier during a set visit:
"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."
And if it's any kind of consolation, King Shark is rumored to fight Aquaman (Jason Momoa) in a cameo and possibly appear in the coming Aquaman movie with his Atlantean connections intact.
So rest easy, King Shark fans. There's still hope for the walking Sharknado to appear in the DC Expanded Universe.
Now that's there's a taste for blood in the water, check out the best shark kills in movies below: