Though the DC and Marvel universes are separate, Gunn has been known to cross the streams every now and then by hiring actors that he's previously worked with on both sides of the pond.
The MCU director reused Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's Sylvester Stallone for the role of King Shark in The Suicide Squad, in addition to casting Nathan Fillion as T.D.K. after the actor was left on the MCU's cutting room floor two times running.
This trend is so frequent that many fans speculated that The Suicide Squad's Daniela Melchior was set to play Moondragon, but Gunn shot down these hopes entirely. Gunn isn't averse to hiring new talent though, as Will Poulter has been brought into the MCU to play the long-requested character, Adam Warlock.
Now, a social media post from Gunn has revealed a new addition to the Guardians family.
Peacemaker's Chukwudi Iwuji Joins Guardians Cast
The image confirmed that Chukwudi Iwuji has been cast in the film, who previously worked alongside Gunn on DC's Peacemaker.
Gunn has sung Iwuji's praises in the past, calling him "outrageously gifted" and "truly of the best actors [he has] ever seen" on social media.
Gunn echoed these thoughts when welcoming Iwuji to the cast a short time later, tweeting that the Nigerian-born actor will play a Marvel role that "every big name actor in Hollywood wanted:"
"Chuk has indeed joined the cast. After working with him on Peacemaker I wasn’t about to let go of one of the best actors I’ve ever worked with - so I gave him the role most every big name actor in Hollywood wanted. #TalentAboveAllElse"
Gunn reaffirmed his stance on Iwuji to The Hollywood Reporter this summer, saying that Iwuji is one of his favorite actors that he has ever worked with along with the likes of Glenn Close and Margot Robbie.
The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker's Steve Agee took to Instagram to celebrate the news, commenting "f**k yes @chukwudi_iwuji !!!!!!"
Guardians of the Galaxy Meets DC
This stealth announcement is sure to be a surprise for many fans, as no word has come out about Chukwudi Iwuji's involvement in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 up to this point. It is unclear when Iwuji would have been brought onto the cast, whether well before Peacemaker or if Iwuji was a recent addition to the production.
Judging from how passionate Gunn is about Iwuji's acting talents, there is a possibility that the actor was cast recently and written into the script through late rewrites. Gunn was at least past the first draft of the script in May 2021, which would have been around the time that Peacemaker was filming. Could Iwuji's performance have influenced Gunn's writing process during this time?
As for who Iwuji is playing? It's completely up for debate.
Considering the actor is placed alongside the main cast, it is likely that Iwuji has a significant role in the movie. Perhaps he is portraying a new addition to the Guardians team roster, like Gladiator or Major Victory from the comics. Alternatively, Gunn could delve deeper into the cosmos, such as by casting Iwuji as the MCU's Silver Surfer. Whoever Iwuji portrays, he is sure to give a rousing performance if Gunn's praises are anything to go by.
Fans can see Chukwudi Iwuji join in on the intergalactic escapades when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 hits theaters on May 5, 2023.