In the last three-and-a-half months, one persistent question on the mind of cinephiles everywhere has been, “What does the future hold for James Gunn?” While the filmmaker was fired by Disney this summer due to inappropriate jokes written a decade ago, nobody expected that it would end Gunn’s career, and so fans have been patiently waiting to see what the next step would be. Today it seems that we’ve received our answer, with reports that he is now potentially attached to make Suicide Squad 2 — and while this is exciting news all by itself, what has us even more pumped is the fact that Gunn is an excellent match for the material.
For those of you who aren’t aware of James Gunn’s work prior to Guardians of the Galaxy, he formerly was what could be described as a master of schlocky cinema — a graduate from the Troma Entertainment school of moviemaking. You get tastes of it in his Marvel movies, but he used to be much more extreme, telling stories about more sincerely damaged people (see: Super) and enthusiastically grossing out audiences (see: Slither).
In short, his past work has reveled in the darker sides of humanity and society, and he should have a great opportunity to tap back into that with what is coming together as Suicide Squad 2.
To refresh you on the central premise, Suicide Squad centers on a group of incarcerated criminals — very specifically not good people — who are given the chance to reduce their respective sentences in exchange for performing insanely dangerous black ops work. In a way that he couldn’t really do with the rogues at the center of Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn has a chance here to exploit the morally corrupt natures of all his protagonists, and make a comic book movie truly unlike anything we’ve ever seen, perhaps avoiding the third act hero turn that did zero favors for David Ayer’s movie.
The material is such a natural fit for the director, in fact, that there was even talk about James Gunn doing a Suicide Squad-equivalent project at Marvel Studios a while back. Prior to even the release of the first Guardians of the Galaxy, Gunn was asked about doing a Thunderbolts film for the franchise (centered around another supervillain-centric team) — and not only did he say he had personally suggested it to Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, but a couple years later he even specifically noted that the existence of the Suicide Squad movie at DC probably took that project off the table.
Now it almost seems like it was fate’s will to have the writer/director making Suicide Squad 2 — though it would be a lot more exciting if there wasn’t so much drama that has unfolded over the last few months. It’s literally a case of Marvel’s loss being DC‘s gain, and it’s possibly a seismic shift in the world of comic book movies.
As of right now the future isn’t entirely clear, as the reported relationship between James Gunn and Suicide Squad 2 is still very new. It’s not even entirely clear that he will be working on the script for the movie, let alone taking the helm. Still, though, it’s very easy to understand why this would be a fantastic match, and if Gunn definitely isn’t going to make Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, this might be the best end result.