10 DC Characters We'd Love To See Get The James Gunn Touch

James Gunn is one of the most wonderfully zany filmmakers currently working. He has written, directed, and produced movies across multiple genres, but his signature irreverent — and often twisted — sense of humor is always on display in everything he's worked on. Gunn first cut his teeth as a filmmaker working for the low-budget film studio Troma where he wrote "Tromeo and Juliet," a delightfully trashy version of the beloved Shakespeare play. He began making a name for himself in Hollywood with the scripts for "Scooby-Doo," "Dawn of the Dead," and "Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed." His dark comedic sensibilities really shone through with his directorial efforts, including the horror comedy "Slither" and the superhero sendup "Super." However, it was with his popular "Guardians of the Galaxy" films that Gunn truly established himself as a cinematic force to be reckoned with.

Gunn's been able to achieve cult status alongside mainstream success, capable of handling big-budget superhero films while retaining his subversive touch, making fans overjoyed with his recent appointment as head of DC Studios (along with Peter Safran). Undoubtedly, his well-received work on "The Suicide Squad" and its spinoff "Peacemaker" has contributed to his promotion. DC's attempts to establish a shared universe like their MCU rivals have resulted in a slate of films that have been ... inconsistent. With Gunn at the wheel, fans can rest assured that the future of DC's projects is brighter than ever. Here are 10 DC characters we'd love to see get the James Gunn touch.


Midnighter's first appearance was not in a DC comic but a Wildstorm comic, specifically the Stormwatch series. However, DC purchased Wildstorm and officially brought him into their universe. The character bears some resemblance to Batman, with Midnighter and the Dark Knight having more shadowy personas compared to their gaudier teammates. Both rely more on their natural physical abilities than superhuman powers common to most heroes, although Midnighter does have some bioengineered enhancements that give him an unnatural combat edge. Midnighter differentiates himself from Batman with a snarky sense of humor and his homosexuality, serving as an exciting example of representation that's still rare in superhero comic books. He's even married to Apollo, who has a similar power set to that of Superman, mirroring the Dark Knight's friendship with the Big Blue Boy Scout.

We already know that James Gunn isn't afraid to take jabs at Batman, so why not go all the way and subvert the classic elements of the character by taking on Midnighter? Really, Midnighter is a James Gunn-ified version of Batman, so he might as well embrace it and take him to bloody new heights. Also, Midnighter could be used as a pivot to bring in the Authority, which is a transgressive version of the Justice League. Who can resist the possibility of Gunn getting his hands dirty with a team that doesn't mind getting its hands dirty?

Adam Strange

Adam Strange is one of the trippier characters in DC's vast stable of heroes, whose backstory has some resemblance to that of Star-Lord (or rather, the other way around since Adam Strange appeared before Marvel's space cop). Originally an archeologist on Earth, Strange was abducted into space while he was in Peru and is whisked away to the distant planet called Rann. He's ambushed by its inhabitants but is rescued by the alien woman Alanna, and it's not long before he develops feelings for her as well as the desire to help her planet. While he's ultimately sent back to Earth, he's given a timeline of all future beams — the same kind that resulted in him zipping across the galaxy — so that he can use them to travel back and forth between Earth and Rann, not only to help the planet but to spend time with Alanna.

Sure James Gunn covered similar ground with Star-Lord in the "Guardians of the Galaxy" series for Marvel, making his take on Adam Strange a bit redundant. However, the similarities are largely superficial, as Strange is a considerably less rascally hero than Peter Quill, meaning Gunn would have to emphasize his more inherently good traits. We can't wait for the filmmaker to take us into the farthest reaches of space again.


Not too many active superheroes have the distinction of being dead, making the appropriately-named Deadman one of the more singular characters in the pantheon of comic book protagonists. When he was alive, he was known as Boston Brand, a talented trapeze artist who performed death-defying stunts in a circus. His life was dramatically cut short when he was murdered by a shadowy figure, with the name "the Hook" as the only clue to their identity. While Brand's earthly form perished, his soul remained conscious in the physical realm and was granted the ability to temporarily possess any living person or entity as part of his cosmic duty to solve the mystery of his murder. However, when he's not in the body of a living being, most cannot see, hear, or perceive him in any way except for a small handful of those with mystical abilities.

James Gunn has only dabbled in horror and the supernatural, but that doesn't mean he can't pull it off. Remember, Gunn is one of the most imaginative filmmakers working in Hollywood right now, so there's no doubt that he could take a character as singular as Deadman and give him a terrific cinematic twist. A character whose primary ability is to jump around from body to body has a lot of potential to make for a wild movie, and Gunn does have some experience playing with the trope in the first "Scooby-Doo" live-action movie.


No, not the Martian Manhunter (although we'd love to see James Gunn take a crack at him, too). This Manhunter is Kate Spencer, a prosecutor without any superpowers. However, she becomes disenchanted with regular people's justice, especially with how evildoers seem to always manage to get out of their just desserts. She cobbles together a suit made up of weapons, costumes, and other equipment left behind from superpowered bouts that give her a range of abilities, and becomes a vigilante known as Manhunter. Despite taking down villains while technically being a criminal herself (she and Marvel's Daredevil must have similar moral quandaries), she's also operated in more official capacities such as when she worked with the Department of Extranormal Operations, or when she joined the Birds of Prey.

James Gunn hasn't depicted a whole lot of strong female characters in his body of work, but when he does they typically kick a lot of asses (i.e. Gamora). We've already seen Marvel Studios' take on the lawyer-by-day-superheroine-by-night idea explored in the form of "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law," but let's see Gunn take the concept to violent and irascible new heights in something that doesn't sit so comfortably in the largely family-friendly confines of Disney+. Because she's a team player, she can bounce around various super-teams, making her a character with plenty of potential for spinoffs and whatnot.

Mr. Terrific

Before he became Mr. Terrific, Michael Holt was a seemingly ordinary man who just happened to have an extreme talent for acquiring knowledge and skills at a superhuman rate, earning 14 PhDs, becoming a millionaire, and winning gold medals in the Olympics. Again, this was all before he decided to add "superhero" to his impressive resume. However, when he's shattered by the deaths of his wife and unborn child, Holt is visited by Spectre while in the midst of suicidal thoughts and is told the story of the original Mr. Terrific, Terry Sloane. From then on, Holt decides to adopt the mantle of Mr. Terrific and dedicates his life to saving others, even becoming a member of the Justice Society of America.

So many of the characters James Gunn has written for have been flawed people, often only doing the right thing because they're forced to or because there's something in it for them. Mr. Terrific is an extremely wholesome and honorable character and therefore doesn't immediately beg for Gunn's touch, yet that's exactly why he should take on the character. Gunn can only take the loveable rogue archetype so far, so it'd be fascinating to see what he does with someone who comes with inherent goodness. It's the same problem that everyone who writes Superman must contend with: how do you make someone already so pure and honorable flawed and interesting? You're up to bat, Mr. Gunn.


Catman is one of the goofier characters in DC Comics, largely because of his connections to another, better character. Thomas Reese Blake was once renowned for hunting and trapping jungle cats, but because he grew bored with chasing large wild animals, he made a pivot in his career and took up crime as his main source of income. Not someone who scored highly in the originality department, Blake made himself a costume inspired by Catwoman, which was composed of a mystical African cloth. While Batman and Catwoman have spent much of their time on opposite sides of the law, they actually put aside their differences to bring down Catman, on account of her being blamed for the crimes he was committing. She probably should've just slapped him with an intellectual property lawsuit.

If James Gunn can turn Polka-Dot Man into an enjoyable big-screen character, he can certainly do the same with Catman. There are numerous fun avenues he can take Catman down, playing up the loser villain aspect by giving him a chip on his shoulder, always bitter about never being as famous as his fellow evildoers. Or, Gunn can explore the antiheroic aspects showcased later on in Catman's publication history. The filmmaker has always had a soft spot for misfits and outcasts who ultimately evolve into something greater, and there are few better candidates for that sympathy than Catman.

Plastic Man

Plastic Man's alter ego is Eel O'Brian, a common criminal who gets shot while carrying out a scheme with his fellow felons and is left for dead. However, because he was exposed to a bizarre chemical, not only does Eel survive getting shot, he is endowed with an elastic form that allows him to change the size and shape of his body at will. Because the public thinks of him as a monster, he becomes depressed and is about to take his own life until he's convinced otherwise by former mental patient Woozy Winks. The two become pals, with Eel deciding to become a superhero. He calls himself "Elastic Man," but a journalist mishears him and refers to him as "Plastic Man," which sticks from then on. While Plastic Man and Woozy start a detective agency, he would eventually find himself with the likes of the Justice League and has become a prominent hero in DC canon.

So what makes Plastic Man so perfect for James Gunn? For starters, one of Plastic Man's core qualities is his bratty sense of humor. Even when he was in the Justice League of America, he took every opportunity to turn even the most serious of subjects into a joke, which is very well within Gunn's wheelhouse. Also, Gunn has demonstrated a unique visual flair on numerous occasions, so one could easily see why he'd have so much fun with a character who can turn his body into any shape he wants.

Justice League International

In the mid-1980s, DC Comics held several major crossover events that completely updated and revamped its universe, and resulted in adjusted status quos for its characters and new series. There can't be a DC Comics universe without a Justice League team, but because most of its more famous characters weren't available due to their being rebooted in their own books, the new Justice League series was left without such heavy-hitters as Wonder Woman, Superman, and the Flash (although Batman's editor allowed the Dark Knight to be used in the series). This new book, "Justice League International," was made up of mostly secondary characters like the Black Canary, Blue Beetle, Doctor Fate, and the Martian Manhunter, among others. While the roster didn't have too many A-listers, it allowed the series creators to have fun and employ a more comedic tone with the team book, resulting in a beloved run.

After doing the "Guardians of the Galaxy" series for Marvel Studios and "The Suicide Squad" at DC, do we really need James Gunn to do another superhero team movie about more obscure characters with a snarky sense of humor? Hell. Yes. We do. Sure, he may be retreading much of the same ground he covered in the aforementioned films, but he's so good at taking less-known characters and making them relevant and fun. Let's get Green Flame and Icemaiden onto the big screen so they can then get their own HBO Max show!


Lobo is, in many ways, DC Comics' version of Marvel Comics' Wolverine. He's a humanoid alien bounty hunter with enhanced strength and endurance and is characterized by his mangy appearance (pale skin, black hair). When Lobo was first introduced he was portrayed as a straight-up villain, the last of his race not because of a tragedy but because he killed everyone else for fun. The character didn't catch on during his first early-1980s appearances, but he was reintroduced in the early-1990s to parody Marvel's coldblooded antiheroes like Cable, the Punisher, and the aforementioned Wolverine. However, he actually became quite popular in this slightly less villainous form, and ever since he's been on the side of the good and the just, albeit with his vicious violent streak still very much intact.

Who else could do an intergalactic outlaw biker bad boy justice than James Gunn? Look, now that Gunn has switched from Marvel Studios to DC Studios, we'll probably never see his take on Wolverine, so this would be the next best thing. Gunn can obviously handle the cosmic side of the character well, and Lobo's irreverent personality is dying for Gunn's touch. We're going to see Cosmo the Spacedog get the spotlight in "Guardians of Galaxy, Vol. 3" (after a couple of brief voiceless cameos in the first two "GotG" movies) which means Gunn will have some experience before bringing Lobo's pet bulldog, Dawg, to the big screen also.

Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E.

That's right, DC Comics has their own version of Frankenstein (well, Frankenstein's monster, technically) who has become a regular fixture in their universe. The character's backstory is primarily based on the version created by Mary Shelley in her seminal 1818 novel, "Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus": Victor Frankenstein created him from the body parts of other corpses around 200 years ago, and was long believed to have died in the Arctic. However, the details of his backstory that differ from his literary counterpart involve him surviving and swimming to modern-day America to become a supervillain, later joining the side of the angels. Frankenstein later joined S.H.A.D.E. (Super Human Advanced Defense Executive), a secret operation dedicated to saving the world from supernatural threats.

James Gunn has already had plenty of experience writing for a team that hunts down (supposedly) supernatural threats in the form of the two live-action "Scooby-Doo" films. However, those were aimed at a younger audience, and there's no telling what Gunn could do with even a PG-13 rating, let alone an R-rating. The cool thing about S.H.A.D.E. is that they're largely composed of classic Universal Horror Monster-esque team members, including the amphibian Dr. Nina Mazursky, the vampiric Vincent Velcoro, the lycanthrope Warren Griffith, and others. If a Frankenstein-led superhero/monster team movie helmed by James Gunn doesn't sound fun to you, then you probably hate fun.