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Why James Gunn Rejected Directing Batman & Superman Movies for DC

James Gunn, Superman, Batman
By Richard Nebens

While Batman and Superman are the clear faces of DC Comics, the DC Extended Universe currently has other lesser-known faces driving its story forward. At the head of some of those adventures is director/writer James Gunn, who took his talents from Marvel to DC within the past couple of years. This came with his efforts on 2021's The Suicide Squad and 2022's Peacemaker, with more likely on the way in the near future.

Gunn is arguably most famous for his work on the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise within the MCU, turning a team of relative unknowns into household names almost instantly in 2014. Now, thanks to the director's insight and influence, fans worldwide can't get enough of Star-Lord, Rocket, Groot, and more as they have up to three more appearances set for the next couple of years.

Considering how much success Gunn has had on characters like this, the natural question that arises is what he would do with more A-list heroes from Marvel or DC. Recently, Gunn addressed a version of that very question and explained why he's stayed away from those top names.

No Superman or Batman for James Gunn

James Gunn, Marvel and DC
Marvel and DC

Peacemaker director James Gunn took to Twitter to share insight into why he's chosen the projects he's worked on to date.

@stephenwtry asked Gunn which of DC's biggest heroes he would choose to develop, specifically referencing Henry Cavill's Superman in his Tweet.

If you were allowed to do one of the main characters (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman. etc) who would you choose and why is it Superman with Henry Cavill?

Gunn revealed that he made the decision to avoid those heroes, instead wanting to focus on "less popular characters" and bring them more into the spotlight:

"I would, and have, chosen to do none of them. I’m much more drawn to taking less popular characters and telling their stories."

Gunn Rejecting Top Names from DC

While this may come as a shock to fans learning about Gunn's preferences for superhero projects, this is far from the first time he's expressed these sentiments.

The director revealed that Superman was one of DC's first options that they presented to him before The Suicide Squad, which put him in a bit of an unsure position mentally. He's consistently proven that he's much less inclined to tackle Justice League-level protagonists, rather opting for something along the lines of DC's Superpets as his first choice.

Even though Gunn would put forth a great effort with heroes like Superman and Batman, it's evident that he doesn't gravitate as heavily toward characters that the public has known for years. He's kept that sentiment consistent on the Marvel side of his work, sharing that he wouldn't direct an Avengers-level movie even if he got the offer.

In the end, Gunn's preferences seem to work out for the best, as fans get to experience properties from DC and Marvel that may not shine the same without Gunn's passion. No matter who the director decides to bring to the big and small screen next, it almost certainly won't be anybody that's already known to the masses.

Gunn's work on The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker are both available to stream on HBO Max.