James Gunn Just Confirmed His Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 Composer, And It’s A Marvel Newbie

Slither director James Gunn belongs in a rare class, having directed superhero films for both Marvel Studios and DC Films. He’s best known for bringing the ragtag team The Guardians of the Galaxy to life on screen. But earlier this year, Gunn also switched gears and created a super-villain adventure in The Suicide Squad, which is coming to 4K, Blu-ray and DVD beginning on October 26.

Gunn sat down with CinemaBlend to dig into spoilers for The Suicide Squad ahead of the home video release. And as we spoke, he revealed to us that he’s a mere three weeks away from day one of shooting on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, a sequel that just announced the actor playing Adam Warlock in the MCU. When laying out for CinemaBlend just how busy these next few weeks are going to be, Gunn let slip the participation of a key The Suicide Squad collaborator following him from DC to the MCU, and that’s composer John Murphy. Gunn told us:

I had to get off of a zoom right before this zoom because I was talking to all of my heads of department. We were going through the finale of the film from shot to shot, to shot, to shot and explaining exactly how each shot was going to be done. Now, this stuff we're going to shoot in May. So this is about just planning. After I get off of this, I'm going to have to go listen to some music that John Murphy wrote that we're going to be playing during the movie. … I guess I'm spoiling the fact that John Murphy is doing the score for Guardians. So you guys got a scoop.

This will be John Murphy’s debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and he replaces frequent James Gunn collaborator Tyler Bates, whose credits include Super, The Belko Experiment, and Watchmen for Zack Snyder. Those movies demonstrate how good Bates is at mixing original score with existing soundtrack, something that Murphy was able to do quite well on The Suicide Squad. Gunn has built a reputation on song selection for his movies, with the Guardians films raising a bar because of the tunes found on Peter Quill’s mix tapes. As Gunn told us about Murphy’s work on The Suicide Squad:

You probably know that John wrote huge sections of the score before we were shooting. So we shot to those sections of the score. We go through the script, and we already know where all the songs are in the movie. And then we go through the script and we point out the main sections that will need score beforehand. So it was things like King Shark, when he's in the aquarium, we knew we needed something beautiful and haunting there. When Team One comes out in front of the American flag, we knew we needed something there. When Team Two is going back to save the day from Starro, we knew we needed something there. … When we have Ratcatcher 2 talking about her father, that conversation with her and Bloodsport on the bus, we had something there that I'm listening to the whole time. While Daniela Melchior is giving her speech, I've got the music in my ears, so that it is almost like she's performing like a William Shatner-esque poetry-to-music (routine). All of that stuff is planned out.

We’re excited to see what James Gunn and John Murphy have planned for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and how song selections will factor in to the plot development now that Quill (Chris Pratt) has been given a Zune with more than 300 songs on it. The movie arrives in theaters on May 5, 2023, and The Suicide Squad will be available for purchase on October 26, so make sure that you grab a copy.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.