Is Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn getting a second lease on superhero life?
James Gunn, director/co-writer of the first two Guardians of the Galaxy films, has some new squad goals in mind thanks to last week’s announcement that the one-time Marvel Studios branded filmmaker had slithered over to DC. Gunn has been tasked with writing and potentially helming Suicide Squad 2. The news comes on the heels of Disney firing Gunn from directing Guardians Vol. 3, the film that was not only going to be a sequel but the touchstone for the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Gunn was fired by Disney for what they characterized as “indefensible” off-colour jokes he made on Twitter over a decade ago. These tweets, written before Gunn was hired by the studio, were brought back to public attention by conspiracy theorist and alt-right demagogue Mike Cernovich, in part as a response to Gunn’s outspoken opposition to Donald Trump’s presidency.
Fan protests and petitions, as well as an effusive defence by the Guardians cast, wasn’t enough to convince the House of Mouse to reconsider its decision. This left the window open for Warner Bros/DC to reap the rewards and snag this key contributor to Marvel’s recent success. After all, if you are going to steal, steal from the best!
David Ayer’s Suicide Squad (2016) was met with critical disdain (read That Shelf’s original mixed review), with some criticizing DC for ripping off the Guardians‘ winning formula with poor end results.
So why would Warner give this ousted filmmaker another chance by revamping their franchise? Perhaps they’re hoping he can apply his trademark Troma sensibilities with the darker characters of Suicide Squad to greater success than Ayer’s attempt, aiming for splatter-centric subversive results that Gunn’s early works exhibited.
Gavin O’Connor (The Accountant) was originally tasked with scripting the film, having bowed out due to frustration that another DC project, Birds of Prey starring Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, duplicated elements of his Suicide sequel script.
As for those that supported Gunn’s fight with Disney, at least one cast member, Dave Bautista, is ready to switch sides from Marvel to DC when the call is made.
Suicide Squad 2 is still expected to land in 2019.