How Brightburn Helped James Gunn Get Through His Guardians Of The Galaxy Firing

Brightburn attacking a cop

It's no secret that superhero movies are everywhere. The genre has proven itself endlessly popular, and it seems every studio wants to get in on the action. And while superhero fatigue is a valid concern from fans, director/writer/producer James Gunn has been crafting wholly unique additions to the genre. The first two Guardians of the Galaxy movies were critical and box office successes, although Vol. 3 was put on hold after Gunn was fired by Disney.

James Gunn has since been reinstated to direct Guardians 3, in addition to nabbing the directing job for DC's The Suicide Squad. But before either of those movies arrive, we have the horror-inspired Brightburn. Brightburn will bring something new to the genre with a twist on the classic Superman origin story, and Gunn recently revealed how the upcoming movie helped him work through his unceremonious Marvel departure. He said:

I like to work, so Brightburn was a great help to me when I wasn't doing anything.

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James Gunn's career came to a screeching halt when he was fired from the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. Despite completing the script for the threequel, Gunn was removed from the property after controversial tweets from a decade ago resurfaced. And after apologizing for these poor jokes, Gunn was pulled from Guardians of the Galaxy for a series of months.

It's during this time that James Gunn put his focus on Brightburn, which he worked on as a producer. In his same conversation with USA Today, Gunn said the horror inspired superhero flick was "definitely something I could focus on" during one of the more difficult time in his life. And while everything ultimately worked out, perhaps Brightburn will benefit from Gunn's contributions and hunger for distraction. It's already got a interesting concept and strong marketing campaign behind it.

The Guardians assembled in Guardians 2

Brightburn is going to be totally unique take on the superhero genre, especially where Clark Kent/Superman are concerned. While the last son of Krypton is usually a symbol for good, that's not exactly how it's all going to go down for Brandon Breyer in Brightburn. Instead, we'll watch as a superpowered young man turns to the dark side, and uses his abilities to exact his dark childish whims.

Related: Zoe Saldana Is 'Proud' Of James Gunn And Disney For Guardians Of The Galaxy 3 Rehire

James Gunn's contribution to the superhero genre has already been significant, as Guardians of the Galaxy has become one of Marvel Studios' most beloved franchises. Gunn's perspective is critical to that formula, as his sense of humor, taste of music, and even dance moves have been woven into the tapestry of the first two Guardians movies.

It's James Gunn's artistic vision that will hopefully bring another big screen success with Brightburn. And we're just days away from its release, so Gunn's return to the theaters is imminent. That, along with The Suicide Squad and eventually Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

The Suicide Squad assembled

While all seemed lost at the time that James Gunn was dropped by the Marvel Cinematic Universe, his tenure in the superhero genre isn't slowing down anytime soon. Brightburn will arrive in theaters shortly, bringing something unique to the genre. And after that's over, he's got two more major comic book adaptations coming down the pipeline. Plus, who knows what's next after that.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is no doubt the most anticipated movie on James Gunn's schedule. Gunn didn't have an easy task with the original 2014 movie, adapting a fairly unknown group of comic book heroes for the big screen. But it made a ton of money at the box office, and the Guardians soon become some of the most popular characters in the entire MCU.

Spoilers ahead for Avengers: Endgame

The upcoming threequel will end the narrative that James Gunn began with the original, and follow up with the titular team of heroes following the events of the last two Avengers movies. A number of years passed between Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and their appearance in Infinity War, and the group had become a real family unit. But they were hit hard during Thanos' assault, with only Rocket and Nebula surviving the Mad Titan's snap.

Those two unlikely allies helped bring all the dusted characters back. Meanwhile, Gamora was resurrected via time travel, as the 2014 version of Zoe Saldana's character came to present day. Guardians 3 will no doubt follow the group's mission to find her, as well as Thor's inclusion into the team.

But before any of that happens, James Gunn will be working on the DC side of things with The Suicide Squad. Gunn's developing project will be a follow-up to David Ayer's less than stellar (albeit still Oscar winning) 2016 blockbuster. It should be interesting to see what the Guardians director does with another motley crew, only this time they'll be bad guys.

Seemingly anything is possible for The Suicide Squad, as there have been some conflicting reports regarding the upcoming movie's contents. Some reports indicated that James Gunn was doing a reboot o the franchise, rather than a direct sequel to David Ayer's Suicide Squad. But a few familiar faces have joined the cast, with actors Viola Davis, Joel Kinnaman, and Jai Courtney all reprising their roles from the original film.

But there is one James Gunn project that still sitting in development hell, with no real plan of moving forward. And it's actually a movie, rather than another big screen blockbuster. Gunn has been attached to a Starky and Hutch reboot for a number of years, with the latest development indicating it might have a home on Amazon. But we haven't heard anything from that camp in a while, especially since James Gunn was fired from his position in the Guardians franchise.

Overall, it looks like James Gunn's career could potentially go anywhere. He's one of the rare cases of a Hollywood figure being reinstated to the position they were so publicly fired from. But Gunn seems to have made amends for his poor choices, and his career seems to be right back on track. Now we'll just have to see where that takes him once the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy has been completed.

Brightburn will arrive in theaters on May 24, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.