Director James Gunn has risen to become one of Marvel preeminent directors. Coming from a mostly horror and comedy background, Gunn hit it big with 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, turning into a superstar director almost overnight. Despite early misgivings about Guardians and its place in the larger MCU, Gunn crafted a fun adventure film that many believe to be one of the strongest examples of what the Marvel brand can offer.
Hard at work now on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Gunn seems poised to hit his second career grand slam when the movie makes its way into theaters next year. Like the director himself, the characters of Guardians rose from obscurity to become a worldwide phenomenon. These days, with his status among fans and his connections with Marvel, the name Gunn is near synonymous with the MCU, and for good reason. But could it be that the director might’ve gone a different route? Is it possible that Gunn could’ve been the poster child for all that’s right with the DCEU?
In a recent Q&A with fans on Gunn’s Facebook page, the director revealed he had previously been offered jobs by DC, which, obviously, he declined. Gunn offered no reason for why he declined any directing jobs while also rattling off a list of heroes he would enjoy tackling, if offered.
“I thought there was some amazing action sequences in Man of Steel, but I haven’t seen the other two films. I’ve had opportunities to make DC films, but I haven’t said yes to anything, and not sure I would at this time. I’ve talked before about which projects appeal to me the most IF I was into making one, and it’s always Shazam and Metal Men and Swamp Thing and [Jonah] Hex and a few other DC IPs I’ve enjoyed for a great deal of my life.”
Absent from this comment is any mention of when Gunn spoke with DC or what has previously been offered to him. Shazam! is already deep in pre-production at Warner Bros., with Dwayne Johnson attached to co-star as Black Adam. It’s interesting to note that, as of yet, a director is unnamed for that project, and with his duties at Marvel post-Guardians Vol. 2 up in the air, it’s still possible he could become attached to that at a later date.
Still, that seems unlikely at this point. Gunn, as a director, likes to be involved with all aspects of a production, and with so much groundwork already laid for Shazam! Gunn probably wouldn’t sign on. As to the rest of his DC wish list, those also seem equally unlikely.
Jonah Hex saw an unfavorable cinematic release and the character has subsequently been retooled and reintroduced to audiences via Legends of Tomorrow. Swamp Thing has been tenuously linked to the on again, off again Justice League Dark film from Guillermo del Toro, who has a clear vision of his own for both the character and that team. Metal Men could work, in theory, but given the characters' relative obscurity, DC would probably prefer to bolster its main cast before thinking about the introduction of lesser known characters.
So it seems as though Gunn’s involvement with the DCEU will remain but a pipe dream for fans for the foreseeable future. At the very least, WB and DC need to prove that they can handle the successful building of a sustainable universe before they can start talking about showcasing the B-team. As tantalizing as the prospect might be, it’s probably best not to worry about what might have been and focus, instead, on what is. With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 just a little under a year away, there’s already plenty to look forward to.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hits theaters on April 7, 2017.