james gunn superman

James Gunn has made the leap from Marvel to DC with the upcoming The Suicide Squad, but we could’ve gotten a completely different DC movie from him if things had worked out differently. In a recent interview, Gunn confirmed that after he was fired by Disney and Marvel over offensive past tweets, Warner Bros. approached him and asked if he’d be interested in directing a new Superman movie. Gunn turned the offer down and eventually decided on The Suicide Squad instead. And based on Gunn’s sensibilities, that’s probably for the best.

In a new interview with the New York Times, James Gunn reveals that after Marvel gave him the boot for offensive tweets, Warner Bros. came calling – and asked if he wanted to helm a new Superman movie. “They proposed that to me,” Gunn says. “Toby Emmerich [the Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman], he works out with my manager, and every morning he would say, ‘James Gunn, Superman. James Gunn, Superman.'” Of course, we know that Gunn didn’t take the gig – he ended up picking The Suicide Squad instead.

“At that time I said I can’t commit myself to something right now,” Gunn says. “It was traumatic. I had to deal with myself. I just have to take a step back. So I took the different possibilities of projects I could work on, and for a month, every day I worked on a different project. I really wanted to make sure that whatever I was going to write was going to be a great story, and if it worked out and I felt like directing it, I could. Suicide Squad was just the one that came to life immediately.”

In the end, Gunn was able to have the best of both worlds, because not only did he get to direct The Suicide Squad for Warner Bros., but Disney and Marvel eventually came to their senses and re-hired him to come back for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. But The Suicide Squad came first.

“I really loved [the original comic book writer] John Ostrander’s take, which was taking these Z-grade villains and throwing them into black-ops situations where they were totally disposable and they wouldn’t come out alive,” Gunn says. “I loved The Dirty Dozen as a kid. It’s that same concept, mixed with a DC comic.”

Superman reboot Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Future of Superman

I really enjoy James Gunn’s work, but I also think he made the right call here. While Gunn is capable of sweetness with his work, he also has a built-in cynicism and off-kilter style that I don’t think would lend itself to Superman. As for what happens next for Supes, Warner Bros. is currently working with J.J. Abrams and writer Ta-Nehisi Coates on a new Superman movie that will have a Black actor playing the Man of Steel.

Some have assumed this means Henry Cavill’s days of playing Superman are over, but it’s still unclear if that’s accurate. Sources have said that the Abrams/Coates Superman is going to be outside the DCEU continuity, similar to both Joker and the upcoming The Batman. Which means that if they wanted to bring Cavill’s Superman back, they could. For now, though, everything remains up in the air – much like Superman himself.

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