Earlier this week, Warner Bros.' DCEU line-up for 2021 was announced, including DC Super Pets, Matt Reeves' The Batman (which will not star Ben Affleck after all), and The Suicide Squad. The latter will officially be helmed by writer/director James Gunn. Gunn was notoriously fired by Disney/Marvel for decade-old insensitive tweets, leaving Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 with no director.
Additionally, The Hollywood Reporter has learned that when Warner Bros. initially approached James Gunn, the studio offered the filmmaker his pick of DC properties, including the option to helm a Superman project. Per the report, Gunn never seriously considered taking on the Man of Steel, though he did research the comics and took a liking to the superhero's dog Krypto.
The Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker ultimately decided to tackle the follow-up of David Ayer's Suicide Squad. James Gunn has a unique vision to "relaunch" the franchise, including casting a mostly fresh band of misfits for the project.
This news certainly is characteristic of Warner Bros.' passion to bring James Gunn on the DCEU side after ties were abruptly cut with Marvel Studios. The Guardians of the Galaxy cast made it clear they wanted the filmmaker to stay on for the third MCU film, but Disney wasn't budging.
What would have James Gunn done with the Man of Steel franchise? Considering his upcoming producing project Brightburn subverts the Superman story, his decision to pass on it and work on The Suicide Squad makes sense. The upcoming release is about a superpowered alien boy brought up by human parents on a farm, though as he grows into his powers, he becomes violent and unstoppable.
If James Gunn had decided to work on a Superman movie with Warner Bros., we would certainly have a clearer understanding of the future of Henry Cavill’s Kal-El. In September, rumored fluttered about the actor’s exit as the character, though the studio responded by explaining that they hadn't yet made a decision about any upcoming Superman films.
James Gunn's decision to work on Suicide Squad isn't a surprising one, considering the franchise is in similar territory to the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Both stories are about unlikely heroes with criminal pasts who come together to save the world. It's a natural transition for the director, especially if he had some themes or ideas in his head for Guardians that he can now work into The Suicide Squad. Plus, he's tried to make peace between Marvel and DC fans in the past, so maybe this is his opportunity to bridge the two worlds in his own way.
The writer/director's affection for Krypto is also on brand for James Gunn, since he was central in making Bradley Cooper's Rocket the Raccoon a lovable big screen character.
James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad will be released on August 6, 2021, shortly after DC Super Pets is released on May 21 and The Batman comes out on June 25 in 2021.