Few working filmmakers can speak to the inner workings of both Marvel and DC quite like James Gunn, who has just completed his three-film MCU run with this week’s release of his trilogy-capper “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” while also working to rebuild DC Studios alongside longtime producing partner Peter Safran.
So, if there’s one guy who gets what it’s like in Marvel Land and DC World, it’s this dude. And he’s not buying that the two superhero-powered studios are all that different.
The filmmaker and newly minted studio honcho told Yahoo! Entertainment in a new interview that he doesn’t ascribe to the belief that Marvel and DC are locked in some intense rivalry, or even that they do things in opposing ways. “People have this weird belief that Marvel and DC hate each other or somehow are polar opposites,” he told the outlet. “But it’s just not the truth. I mean, listen, man, our job is the same. We want to get people into the theaters to see movies. That’s what matters.”
He added, “And I think that we work together to do that. And the more good Marvel movies are, the better it is for DC movies. The more good DC movies, the better it is for Marvel movies.”
And, for those hoping for an explanation in sports terms, Gunn offered that up too, telling the outlet that promoting a Marvel movie while he’s also co-running DC is its own thing, and it’s not as if he’s batting for the Red Sox while also managing the Yankees. “There’s not only one winner,” he said. “There can be two winners because it matters who goes to see your movies and who enjoys ’em.”
While Gunn and Safran are still knee-deep in planning out their vision of the DC cinematic universe, Gunn has already personally enjoyed another facet of having two major studios going all-in on superhero stories: the ability to build stories of all kinds within the right cinematic framework.
As he told IndieWire in August 2021, when Gunn moved over to Warner Bros. to write and direct one of the studio’s DCEU films after being fired (only to later be re-hired) by Disney, he was understandably looking for a bit of freedom. That included an R rating for “The Suicide Squad,” one of the major stipulations of him even taking on scripting duties for the feature.
While the Marvel Cinematic Universe has yet to mount an R-rated entry (“Deadpool” doesn’t count), the DCEU has moved into more adult territory in recent years. Zack Snyder’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” arrived in theaters with a PG-13 rating, but an Extended Cut available on home video is rated R. Todd Phillips’ hit “Joker” is rated R, but even Phillips has said it took him a year to convince Warner Bros. to go for it.
A Walt Disney Pictures release, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is now in theaters.