James Gunn Explains The Major Differences Between Making Marvel And DC Films, 'Guardians 3' May Be His Last With Marvel

Director James Gunn has been on an emotional rollercoaster in the past few years. First, he had incredible success with the first two Guardians of the Galaxy movies for Marvel. Then, in the summer of 2018, controversial old tweets of Gunn's surfaced, and he was fired by the company as a result. He publicly apologized and the cast of Guardians rallied around him. In the meantime, he was able to secure another major gig: writing and directing DC's The Suicide Squad. After all that, Marvel wound up hiring him back for Guardians of the Galaxy 3, so now he's set to have major films coming out from both studios.

In an interview with The New York Times, Gunn sat down to talk about the differences in how DC and Marvel approach their franchises and where he plans on going from here.

The Differences Between DC and Marvel

Gunn was pretty forthcoming about the differences between the two companies' movie-making strategies. While the differences weren't massive, he did note that there's more oversight at Marvel, where President Kevin Feige is directly involved with each project.

"There's no doubt Kevin Feige is way more involved with editing than people are at Warner Bros. He gives more notes. You don't have to take them and I don't always take them. Then again, I had more problems," Gunn explained. " If you saw the first cut of Guardians 1, it had more problems, because that was my first time making something so gigantic and there's some learning to what works and what doesn't, carving away the excess stuff. The truth is, as Marvel goes on and Kevin Feige starts to amass ownership of half of all film in general, he's more spread out."

He noted that Marvel tries to keep the styles of their films at least somewhat similar, while DC has allowed for much more varied storytelling. This is the same studio that brought us Todd Phillips' grimdark ode to the comedically disenfranchised with Joker, then shortly after delivered a bubblegum pop-flavored feminist action-adventure in the form of Cathy Yan's Birds of PreyThere's a lot more room for variety at DC, which Gunn finds exciting.

"The Marvel Universe has always been a little more cohesive, and DC has always had more great single runs. They had The Dark Knight Returns. They had Watchmen. They had The Killing Joke. They had Alan Moore's Swamp Thing. The fact that they did Joker, which is a totally different type of movie, that to me is cool. I'm very excited about Matt [Reeves]'s [The Batman] movie. They're getting some really good filmmakers involved. They're always going to be hit or miss — I just don't want them to get boring."

What's Next for Gunn?

After helming two of the biggest superhero flicks in recent memory, everyone's wondering what's next for Gunn. The thing is, he's wondering too.

"I have no clue what I'm going to do," he told the New York Times. "For me, Guardians 3 is probably the last one."

Many fans discovered Gunn through his earlier work like the low-budget alien horror-comedy, Slither, or the heartbreakingly hilarious real-world superhero story, SuperWould it be possible for Gunn to go back to his low-budget roots?

"I love toys and the explosions and the cameras, frankly. I love to be able to work on a big playing field. If I had a smaller, more intimate thing that I wanted to do, I would definitely do that," Gunn said. "Right now I really just want to nap, but I still have another major motion picture to make before that."

Well, James, once you wrap on Guardians 3, I hope you get that nap.

You can catch The Suicide Squad in theaters and on HBOMax on August 6, 2021Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is set to premiere in theaters on May 23, 2023.