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Ever since James Gunn ventured into the world of superhero films, he has become a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood. Known for his sharp wit and unapologetic storytelling, he has successfully breathed new life into both Marvel and DC universes. However, what sets him apart is his ability to navigate the distinct landscapes offered by these two comic book giants. In a recent interview, the visionary director shed light on the stark differences between working with Marvel and DC, providing a fascinating insight into the inner workings of each cinematic universe. As we delve into Gunn’s perspective, we discover the contrasting approaches, creative freedoms, and collaborative dynamics that make the Marvel and DC collaborations unique and exciting.
When it comes to making a solid superhero movie, both DC and Marvel have looked no further than James Gunn. While Taika Waititi and Joe and Anthony Russo have stuck to the big screen adaptations of the MCU (although the latter have previously said that they would be open to crossing into the DCEU) and Zack Snyder and Patty Jenkins have thus far pledged their allegiance to DC, Gunn has hopped between the lines. A few years ago, the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise helmer sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to discuss the differences in working with each studio. Knowing what we know now about Gunn and Peter Safran’s takeover of DC Studios, his comments are more telling that he’s long been feeling more freedom with the Warner Bros. subsidiary.
After making his comic-to-screen debut with 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which three years later was followed by a sequel, Gunn had already proved his salt as being the person a studio should seek out to bring comedy, action, and drama to the genre. Following the box office success yet widely panned release of David Ayer’s 2016 feature, Suicide Squad, DC was buzzing for another shot at making the crew of criminals a household name. Enter Gunn, whose new spin on the story of Task Force X titled The Suicide Squad became an overnight sensation both at the global box office and with fans.
Having not only served as the vision behind the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, Gunn also dipped his hands into the Marvel pool by working as an executive producer on both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. So, when he released comments a few years ago essentially saying that he had more creative freedom with Safran and DC vs. Kevin Feige and Marvel, it would seem that things have come full circle with his recent takeover of the former.
Breaking the differences down for readers and fans to understand, Gunn said:
“Kevin Feige is the producer on the Guardians movies. Peter Safran is the producer on this movie. At Marvel, they serve the role of producer and of studio, really. And at DC, there’s a studio and then there’s a producer, so it’s very different in that respect. And actually, I’ve answered that question before, and now I wish I always answered it like I just said. That’s my regret. [Laughs.] Because that’s really the difference.”
How Have Things Shifted Since Then?
Since these original comments were released back in 2021, a lot has changed for Gunn and his hold on the DC and Marvel Universes. The tail end of October 2022 saw the Scooby-Doo director reveal that he would be leaving Marvel and planned to only work with DC after the release of the uber-successful Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. With Safran by his side, the duo is planning to take the studio in a completely different direction. For example, their divisive overhaul included not asking Henry Cavill to return to his role as Superman with the team instead deciding to give audiences a younger take on the Man of Steel in Superman: Legacy, which Gunn is also directing. They’ve also unveiled a slew of new productions including features like The Authority, The Brave and the Bold, Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow, and Swamp Thing with TV shows to include Waller, Creature Commandos, Booster Gold, Lanterns, and Paradise Lost.
Although Gunn has seemingly left his days working with Marvel behind, exciting news may be on the horizon as recent comments have alluded to a possible MCU and DCEU crossover — give the fans what they want! Check out a Collider interview with Gunn and Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt below.
In conclusion, James Gunn’s insightful explanation sheds light on the contrasting experiences of working with Marvel and DC. His firsthand account provides valuable insight into the major differences in approach and creative freedom offered by both studios. Marvel’s collaborative and cohesive vision allows for a more streamlined process, fostering a shared universe where interconnected storytelling thrives. On the other hand, DC’s willingness to take risks and embrace auteur-driven projects provides an opportunity for directors to have more control over the creative process. While both studios have their unique qualities and appeal, it is clear that Gunn’s experience demonstrates the importance of finding the right fit as a filmmaker.
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