Would James Gunn Direct An Avengers Or Justice League Movie? His Answer Makes Perfect Sense

James Gunn belongs in that elite class of filmmakers who have crossed comic book boundaries to direct films in both the Marvel and DC universes. Though the companies really don’t “compete” against each other, fan bases have drawn a line in the sand with regards to how they want their stories presented (light and comedic for Marvel, darker and more serious for DC), prompting Gunn to bring his own unique sensibilities to both to see where the chips may fall. When Gunn sat down with CinemaBlend recently on behalf of the Blu-ray, 4K and DVD release of The Suicide Squad, we put the ultimate question before him: If given the chance, would he rather direct an Avengers film, or a Justice League film? And his honest answer actually makes all of the sense in the world.

Gunn told CinemaBlend:

I may have had an opportunity to do at least one of those. (laughs) And I said no. So, uh, I'm not interested in either one. … My place in the world (is) writing outcasts and outsiders. I love those characters, but I don't see either one of them as being those people. They just don't interest me in terms of… they interest me in going to see a Justice League movie, or going to see an Avengers movie, sure. They don't interest me as much as writing those characters. I love Batman. He is an outsider. They're all outsiders, in certain ways. But they just don't interest me in the same way as the oddball characters do.

You can tell that this is the case when you scan the roster of villains that James Gunn chose to make up his The Suicide Squad ensemble. Harley Quinn has become a household name thanks to Margot Robbie’s portrayal of the maniacal criminal, but Gunn surrounded her with offbeat weirdos from the DC universe such as Polka Dot Man, King Shark and Ratcatcher 2… then pit them against Starro. Not what we’d expect at all. 

Some of that decision was fueled by the fact that his interpretation of the Guardians of the Galaxy was more independent on the first movie, and now they feel like they belong to everyone. So Gunn wanted to recapture some of that creative freedom on The Suicide Squad. As he elaborated to CinemaBlend:  

Even Guardians, which I created most aspects of Guardians for the screen. Their characters are very different than what the comics characters were before that. But now people feel a sense of ownership over those characters. And that's a little bit of a pain in the ass as a creator. It is more fun going to unknown characters and creating them out of nothing. A lot of people aren't sitting there telling me what Peacemaker is supposed to be, because people don't know who he is. They aren’t telling me what to do with Vigilante or Judo Master and the other characters that we have in the Peacemaker series, because there aren't that many people that know those characters. And that's what it felt like with the Guardians. And that's what it felt like with Bloodsport and Ratcatcher and these other characters. So the sense of fandom where they think they understand who Batman and Superman and Iron Man, after so many years of telling their movies, it's like, I don't know if I really want to deal with that.

Blunt but accurate. One of the more complicated aspects of fandom these days is a vocal community demanding that a movie be made to their specifications, and not to the taste of the filmmaker hired to tell a story. And it’s not just film. This confident sense of entitlement bleeds over into television, comics, video games… almost every facet of the creative arts, to the point where a gifted filmmaker like James Gunn would prefer to operate on the outskirts with his lesser-known misfit toys than endure the scrutiny of fans who believe they know better. 

If it leads to movies as inventive as The Suicide Squad, we fully support it. Gunn’s super-villain team-up movie is heading to Blu-ray and DVD (opens in new tab), and can be picked up on Tuesday, October 26, everywhere media is peddled.    

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.