Writer-director James Gunn, whose “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” for Marvel Studios just hit theaters, is now in charge of DC Studios at Warner Bros. Discovery. And while it might seem like a big leap to go from filmmaker to studio executive, earlier in his career he was being courted by Marvel Studios to provide a similar role for a specific realm within the MCU.
When “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” was released in 2017, it was announced that Gunn would be shepherding the so-called cosmic side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe into development. Marvel Studios and chief Kevin Feige were very high on both the filmmaker and the sequel to “Guardians of the Galaxy” and wanted to make sure that a consistency was maintained for all things woo-woo in the MCU. This would be Gunn’s domain.
During a Facebook live event for the home video release of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” Gunn teased that the third movie in the franchise would “set up the next 10 to 20 years of Marvel movies [and] really expand the cosmic universe.”
Of course, less than a year later, Gunn was fired from the franchise after insensitive tweets the filmmaker had made years earlier surfaced. The rest is history: Gunn signed on to “The Suicide Squad” for Warner Bros. and DC, before being reinstated by Marvel for the third film. He shot and released “The Suicide Squad” before beginning work on “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” Clearly the experience wore on Gunn, leading to him decamping for the rival studio.
When doing press for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” TheWrap asked Gunn about his proposed gig as the overseer of the cosmic side of the MCU. As it turns out, he was already in a more supervisory role at the company.
“I was consulting on everything. I was consulting on all the Marvel movies. Kevin would send me the script for ‘Spider-Man’ and I’d give my notes. He’d send me the script for ‘Doctor Strange,’ ‘Captain Marvel,’ and I’d give notes on all of those scripts,” Gunn explained. It should be noted that Joss Whedon performed similar duties in the early days of the MCU. “It was really as a friend and as somebody who was a part of the team and a team player.”
As for the cosmic side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Gunn stuck to his story – that he was establishing things in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies that would be paid off down the line. “There was a lot of things I was creating and setting up for the rest of the cosmic universe,” Gunn said. As to whether another filmmaker picks up those threads remains to be seen, but this will likely be the last of the Guardians of the Galaxy we see … at least for a while.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is in theaters now.