When it came to recruiting expendable DC Comics supervillains to Task Force X in The Suicide Squad, Condiment King just couldn't cut the mustard. Writer-director James Gunn says the "joke" Batman villain, originally served up as one-off comic relief for Batman: The Animated Series, was never among the many DC characters considered for inclusion in his standalone sequel to David Ayer's Suicide Squad. Instead of seasoned Batman rogues like Mr. Freeze or Man-Bat, Gunn picked the "dumbest DC character of all time" to fill the oddball slot in his revamped Squad: Abner Krill (The Dark Knight's David Dastmalchian), a.k.a. Polka-Dot Man.
"I think that I settled on Polka-Dot Man for that sort of slot [of oddball character] pretty early," Gunn told BBC Radio 1. "And Javelin, who is pretty useless. I thought about using Man-Bat, I thought about using Gunhawk." Asked if Condiment King or other kooky characters like Crazy Quilt or Clock King were ever in consideration for The Suicide Squad, Gunn answered simply: "No. Nah."
"Here's the difference. Polka-Dot Man was a sincere character. Somebody was writing Polka-Dot Man and they're like, 'This is a new Batman villain that we're creating named Polka-Dot Man,'" Gunn explained of the Silver Age crook created by Batman co-creator Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff in a 1962 issue of Detective Comics. "He was sincerely created. Condiment King is a joke, they created him as a joke. Like, 'Oh, here's a stupid character.' I don't care about Condiment King."
In The Suicide Squad, the Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker's first movie in the DC Extended Universe, Polka-Dot Man is the "product of an experiment gone wrong": a metahuman who weaponizes the painful multi-colored polka-dots grown from his body.
"Polka-Dot Man, he is what he is in the movie: he went and he got his suit made and he's like, 'I'm gonna be a superhero named Polka-Dot Man!,'" Gunn said. "That's how he started out, he thought this was cool. 'Nobody's Polka-Dot Guy yet. I'm gonna be that guy.' Then he goes out and people are like, 'You look like an idiot! It's embarrassing.' But nobody's gonna do that with Condiment King."
On remaking Polka-Dot Man as more of a tragic figure in The Suicide Squad, Gunn told Total Film: "I went and looked online, 'Who's the dumbest DC character of all time?' and it was Polka-Dot Man. We've turned that character who's a sad, pathetic character into a character who's depressed because people think he's stupid. He has a very tragic story that you learn about throughout the film – to be able to add depth to characters who are thought of as the silliest is a fun thing for me to do."
Watch a salty Condiment King (ComicBook's Chris Killian) confront Gunn during a ketchup with the Suicide Squad filmmaker in the video above.
Starring Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Jai Courtney, Peter Capaldi, David Dastmalchian, Daniela Melchior, Sylvester Stallone, and Viola Davis, The Suicide Squad releases in theaters and on HBO Max on August 6.