James Gunn may have left Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, but he may be back for another Marvel movie - what could it be? The architect of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, Gunn was fired by Disney after old tweets resurfaced demonstrating a distinctly off-color humor. However, the latest reports suggest that Gunn's time at Marvel may not be over; it seems the studio is currently negotiating in the hopes of getting him to write and direct for another franchise.
Gunn has become one of Marvel's most important and influential figures, with his script for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 intended to "set up the next 10, 20 years of Marvel movies." His high-level involvement at Marvel means the writer/director has a unique understanding of the franchise's future direction. There have been reports that Marvel still hope to use Gunn's script, which means he'll be intimately familiar with every idea Guardians 3 sets up.
And that's without considering Disney's purchase of the bulk of 21st Century Fox's film and TV empire. Disney's proposal has gained regulatory and shareholder approval, and most industry analysts are expecting the merger to happen in mid-2019. Disney CEO Bob Iger has already confirmed that the X-Men and Fantastic Four film rights will be passed back to Marvel Studios, meaning Marvel will have more characters and concepts to work with than ever before. While they can't be worked on until after the sale is complete, there are sure to be ideas in those characters that Gunn would find irresistible.
So, which franchises would James Gunn be well-suited to developing? Here, we'll look at a number of key possibilities, explore Gunn's history with them, and examine why he'd be a good fit.
Adam Warlock is possibly the most important of Marvel's cosmic characters. Although he was technically created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Warlock was essentially redesigned from the ground up by writers Roy Thomas and Jim Starlin. A powerful Messianic figure, Warlock became Thanos's arch-enemy, and was crucial to Starlin's Infinity Gauntlet miniseries in 1991. The MCU's version of Adam Warlock was explicitly teased in the post-credits scene of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. It seems that, in the MCU, Warlock will be a creation of the Sovereign - although possibly blended with human or Celestial DNA obtained from Peter Quill.
Warlock is one of Gunn's favorite characters, and he even appeared in early treatments of the script for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Unfortunately, the writer/director realized he had too many characters in play already, and so he cut Warlock. Defending this decision on social media, Gunn explained that it was because he loves the cosmic hero, and "wanted to create a space for him that would have to be filled at some time." Giving a sense of how much he cares about Warlock as a hero, Gunn compared the delay to the build-up for Thanos over the last decade's worth of Marvel movies.
Most viewers have been expecting the character to play a major role in the final Guardians film, although Gunn has refused to confirm this. If that is the case, though, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 could well serve as setup for a further Adam Warlock adventure, perhaps one written and directed by James Gunn himself. It would be fascinating to see what Gunn could do with the character. After all, while best known as the nemesis of Thanos, Adam was conspicuously absent in Avengers: Infinity War; Marvel will have to adapt Adam Warlock for the big screen without using any of his most famous stories, all of which revolve around the Infinity Stones and Thanos. There's no better man to pull that off than Gunn, who turned a bunch of a**-holes few had heard of into a blockbuster franchise.
Created by Doug Moench and Don Perlin back in 1975, Moon Knight was introduced as a villain; Marvel's editors liked the character, though, and had him recast as a hero. A former U.S. Marine turned mercenary, Marc Spector was blessed by the Egyptian moon god Khonshu, and became a notable street-level vigilante. Moon Knight is one of Marvel's most troubled heroes, suffering from a pronounced case of multiple personality disorder. The best Moon Knight comics have always been one step away from insanity, giving artists a unique opportunity to get creative in order to show how Spector experiences reality.
Moon Knight has always seemed to be on the back-burner for Marvel Studios. In April this year, Kevin Feige admitted the studio has ideas for the character, although suggested these were rather more long-term plans than immediate ones. "Does that mean five years from now, 10 years from now, 15 years from now," Feige asked rhetorically. "There are stacks of character cards that we have in our, in our development offices."
But if there's any franchise James Gunn would like to launch, it's Moon Knight. In January last year, he told fans on social media that he had "a great idea for a movie." Although Moon Knight isn't one of the cosmic heroes typically associated with Gunn, it's not hard to see why he would appeal to the writer/director; Marc Spector's experience of reality is strangely fluid, and Gunn would no doubt love to translate that reality on to the big screen.
Whatever Gunn's concept may have been, that he'd even pitched this idea to Marvel delighted fans. Unfortunately, back then he decided he didn't have the time to launch another film franchise. There would be a tremendous degree of irony if Gunn's firing from Disney led to him taking on Moon Knight.
Page 2 of 2: More Cosmic Franchises James Gunn Can Start
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019