DC Boss Responds to Backlash About Promoting Marvel

By Sam Hargrave Posted:
DC Studios James Gunn Marvel

DC Studios CEO James Gunn responded to backlash for promoting his second-last MCU venture, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.

Few creatives have had the chance to play in both the Marvel and DC worlds, but James Gunn's brief firing from the MCU has led to him directing major projects on both sides. The filmmaker has even built up such a reputation in the superhero game that he's now leading the DCU into its "biggest story ever."

But even after Gunn recently began his tenure as DC Studios co-CEO, he still had two Marvel Studios projects yet to release with The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special this month and Vol. 3 in May 2023. So, for the next six months, the movie mastermind will be working on both sides before going all-in on DC.

Unfortunately, following the release of his recent Holiday Special on Disney+, the director has faced some backlash for promoting his latest MCU venture.

James Gunn Faces Backlash for Promoting Marvel Studios Work

James Gunn with Avengers and Justice League posters
James Gunn

Despite having been appointed DC Studios' co-CEO - a position he entered into at the start of November - James Gunn has recently been on the press tour for his latest MCU directing venture: The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.

@Handsome_Wolf called for Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) CEO David Zaslav to "cut part of [Gunn's] salary for promoting the competition." However, the filmmaker responded, making It clear that his new boss was "fully aware" of his existing agreements with Marvel Studios:

"Worry not, David was fully aware of my pre-existing commitments."

@Miguel_Pe_V also added their frustration with his promotion of the opposing comic book giant - translated roughly from Spanish:

"I repeat, the narrative head of DC is a problem that has a contract and products with the competition."

Gunn responded to the post with a "face with rolling eyes" emoji to express his disbelief and annoyance at the message, claiming that he was promoting the "competition" while having a contract at DC.

James Gunn Plays Both Sides of the Superhero Game

David Zaslav was clearly very aware of what commitments Gunn still had in the pipeline before he could fully begin his new DC duties. As such, the WBD CEO agreeing for him to complete those projects during the early days of his tenure at DC will likely have been among the first stages of negotiations.

Although it may seem strange, Gunn was obviously going to be promoting his final MCU ventures, despite his new position at a competing studio. After spending roughly a decade working with the Guardians and the actors behind them, he was never going to abandon that team at the last hurdle. 

The rivalry between Marvel and DC fans has always been infamous, just like the famous consoles wars between PlayStation and Xbox. But despite how fans see it, the two studios clearly don't feel this sense of competition; after all, a positive reputation for comic book movies as a whole is better for both parties. 

While Gunn may still have work to get done at Marvel Studios, make no mistake that his primary focus right now appears to be on forming the future of DC. After all, the DC Studios CEO is expected to present his plan for the franchise to WBD as soon as January with his co-CEO partner Peter Safran. 

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is streaming now, exclusively on Disney+.

- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.