Now that James Gunn is one of the bosses at DC Studios, he can not only call shots but the director can also turn around and bite the former hands that fed him. That appears to be what he is slyly doing with the announcement of his “Gods and Monsters” DCU film slate when he points out the mistakes of his old bosses.
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Per Deadline, Gunn started with critiques of the people he made The Suicide Squad for. “As everyone here probably knows, the history of DC is pretty messed up. There is the Arrowverse. There is the DCEU which split then became the Joss Whedon Justice League at one point, became the Snyder-verse at the other point,” he began.
“There was Superman & Lois, there’s the Reeves-verse. There’s all these different things,” Gunn continued. “Even us, we came in and did Suicide Squad and that became Peacemaker and all of a sudden Bat-mite is real guy that’s never been set up…No one was minding the mint, they were just giving away IP like they were party favors to any creators that smiled to them.”
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Gunn was talking about how disconnected everything has been up to this point which first met with chagrin from incoming Warner Discovery CEO David Zaslav. The DCEU and DC Films had some success, though, in The Batman, Joker, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman while Shazam! performed in a way that was to the old leadership’s satisfaction.
As such, Gunn and Zaslav are allowing room for a few of those Elseworlds IPs – especially “the Reeves-verse” and Joker – to flourish more in their current state. He also had some nice things to say about other functioning remnants of the past. He called The Flash, yet to be released, “probably one of the greatest superhero movies ever made.”
Co-executive Peter Safran praised the other films as well and indicated he and Gunn might hold onto some of the cast members in the pictures mentioned – i.e., maybe even Ezra Miller. “There’s no reason why any of the characters or the actors that play in those characters are not part of the DCU. There’s nothing that prohibits that from happening,” said Safran.
“We’ll incorporate characters from the past, but mostly we’ll cast anew,” he added. Deadline notes the same consideration will be offered to creative teams behind upcoming films like Flash director Andy Muschietti, for instance. Shazam! star Zachary Levi could be among them but a recent claim about his contract along with backlash to his recent Pfizer tweets say otherwise.
Time will tell Levi’s fate but, conversely, we have an idea of what Gunn’s mindset is regarding his approach to DC. Based on other remarks he made about the MCU, it sounds like he’s not doing things the Marvel way despite his tenure there. He and Safran agree “Everything doesn’t always look the same” when various filmmakers are brought in to express themselves.
“This is not the Gunnverse,” Gunn said of the DCU. “What I’ve found through Marvel, what wasn’t exciting was when movies were tonally the same. What was exciting was when you had something like Guardians come out and everyone was like, ‘How is this raccoon going to be dealing with this God of Thunder? That’s going to be weird.’”
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He then took a few shots at the paint-by-numbers strategy of Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige. “People have become beholden to dates, to holding dates, to getting movies made no matter what. At the end of the day, I’m a writer at…heart, and we’re not going to be making movies before the screenplay is finished,” Gunn explained.
“And if that means our plan has to shift a little bit–it’s going to happen, we know it’s going to happen…we’re not going to be making movies and putting hundreds of millions of dollars in a film where a screenplay is only two-thirds of the way done and we have to finish it while we’re making the movie,” he added.
“I’ve seen it happen again and again, and it’s a mess,” Gunn criticized. “I think it’s the primary reason for the deterioration in the quality of films today versus 30 years ago.”
These comments appear to be a sure sign the director-turned-studio head is shutting the door at Marvel behind him when Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3, releases this year.
NEXT: James Gunn Appears To Walk Back Statements That ‘The Flash’ Resets The DC Universe