When directors turned movies like Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger into hits, Marvel and the industry collectively gave the credit to the characters and actors. But if Guardians Of The Galaxy breaks out, then a whole bunch of credit is going to come James Gunn's way, as he inexplicably makes the journey from one-time Troma darling to A-List blockbuster helmer. And with Gunn currently contracted for one more Marvel movie, everyone is assuming he'll sign on for Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 . But he might have his sights set on something different within the House Of Ideas.
In an interview with Screenrant , James Gunn was asked very specifically about Thunderbolts. And here was his suspiciously specific answer.
"Thunderbolts? I will tell you, one time I was saying to Kevin [Feige], we were sitting on set together on one of the days he visited and I said, ‘You know, I really want to make Thunderbolts,’ and he said, ‘James, if Guardians does well you’ll be able to do whatever you want so we’ll see what happens. "
The Thunderbolts started out in the comics as a group of reformed villains who cleaned up the Marvel universe while the heroes were away. Founded by the evil Baron Zemo, they earned the people's trust, though secretly they were planning a major coup against the rest of the world. Later incarnations of Thunderbolts dropped that angle and just became groups of villains-turned-heroes. The current version of the Thunderbolts on shelves now consists of darker-edged heroes like Deadpool, the Punisher and Red Hulk basically running black ops missions.
If the current Marvel movies attempted Thunderbolts, it would probably just be a villain team-up a la Avengers. Which means you'd probably have Tom Hiddleston's Loki, Hugo Weaving's (? ) Red Skull, maybe robo-Arnim Zola, Samuel Stern from The Incredible Hulk (last seen mutating into The Leader), and maybe Sam Rockwell's Justin Hammer from Iron Man 2. Which is still pretty awesome, even before you include Avengers: Age Of Ultron baddies like Ultron and Baron Von Strucker. The picture above looks like it's War Machine and Wolverine, but it's actually Norman Osborn's Iron Patriot and Wolverine's deranged son Daken, which gives you an idea at the sort of mirroring going on here.
Sadly, you'll be missing out on Magneto, Green Goblin and Doctor Doom, three of the all-time greatest baddies in the Marvel world who are currently owned by Fox and Sony. The thing about all villain plots in the comic books is that no matter which thug or criminal planned something, the specter of a bigger villain always loomed. One couldn't engage in a massive evil scheme without Doom butting his head in, or even someone like Doctor Octopus (owned by Sony) meddling, in his own way.
Is Gunn the right guy to be in charge of a big Marvel villain free-for-all? Vote with your dollars: Guardians Of The Galaxy dorks it up on August 1st.