James Gunn Says A Marvel And DC Crossover Has Been Discussed, But We're Not Holding Our Breath

We are well over 20 years into the superhero movie boom, with Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" ensuring in 2002 that this whole comic book movie thing was more than just a little fad. But with movies like "Avengers: Endgame" and Zack Snyder's "Justice League" in the rearview mirror, one might wonder: How much bigger can these movies get? A crossover between Marvel and DC would certainly get the job done. But as unlikely as that may seem DC Studios co-head James Gunn says that idea has actually been discussed.

Gunn is gearing up for the release of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," which will end his tenure as a director at Marvel Studios in favor of heading up the future of the DC Universe, kicking off with "Superman: Legacy" in 2025. In a recent conversation with Empire, the filmmaker was asked about a possible Marvel/DC crossover, given that he kind of has a foot in both camps. Here's what Gunn had to say about it:

"I'm certain that's more likely now that I'm in charge [at DC]. Who knows? That's many years away, though. I think we have to establish what we're doing [at DC] first. I would be lying to say that we haven't discussed it. But all discussions have been very, very light and fun."

I'll be the first to admit that sounds tentative at best. Maybe it's just Gunn shooting the s*** with Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige, given his new job at DC. Maybe it's more than that. Maybe it's even less than that. But Gunn is right that, given his relationships with both studios, this does seem more possible than ever before. Still, that isn't saying much.

It's happened in the comics – could the movies be next?

For what it's worth, Marvel Comics and DC Comics have done a couple of huge crossovers on the page in the past, with 1976's "Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man" serving as the first example. There was also "DC vs. Marvel" in 1996, as well as the much-beloved "JLA/Avengers" in 2003. But even getting those books made was a herculean effort, with much bickering between both sides, litigating every last detail to make it happen. Much of this is laid out spectacularly in author Tucker Reed's novel "Slugfest," which later became a series on Roku.

On a much larger scale, could Disney and Warner Bros. actually come together to make something like this happen? Honestly, as it stands, it feels difficult to imagine. For one, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been far more successful up to this point, having generated nearly $29 billion at the box office in 15 years. In that same span of time, DC has made less than $11 billion. But with blockbusters such as "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" and "Shazam! Fury of the Gods" disappointing at the box office in recent months, there may be signs that audiences are not as big on superheroes as they were a handful of years ago.

If Gunn and DC Studios co-head Peter Safran managed to relaunch the DC Universe with a lot of success and things eventually seem a bit more equal, who knows? Stranger things have happened, that much is certain. Heck, Gunn turned a little-known comic featuring a trigger-happy raccoon and a talking tree into a multi-billion-dollar, global hit franchise. Maybe he can pull off the seemingly impossible in the years to come.

"Guardians of the Galaxy. Vol. 3" hits theaters on May 5, 2023.