James Gunn Reveals Major Difference Working With Marvel vs. DC

By Pierre Chanliau Posted:
James Gunn Avengers Suicide Squad

In July 2018, James Gunn was fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 due to Gunn's controversial and offensive Twitter jokes nearly a decade earlier.

A new emotional interview with James Gunn was recently released that had the director recollect the moment he was fired from Marvel and the fear for his future.

Fortunately for the director, three months after Disney fired him, Warner Bros. hired Gunn to direct and write the next Suicide Squad film, which ended up being called The Suicide Squad.

Funnily enough, his hiring also made James Gunn the first person to direct both for Marvel and DC, which he delved into in his new interview and how both studios differ.


In an in-depth interview with James Gunn on behalf of The New York Times, the director was asked about the differences between working for Warner Bros.'s DC and Disney's Marvel Studios.

The interviewer noted that Gunn is the first director to work for both studios before being corrected by the director with a fake cough. He reminded him and readers of Joss Whedon's work on Justice League reshoots.

Regardless, Gunn does take credit as "the first one to receive a directing credit on the Marvel and DC movies."

Gunn agreed that there are some major differences between the Disney and Warner Bros-owned studios, yet he said there aren't as many operational distinctions "as people probably think:"

"Yes, but not as many as people probably think. There’s no doubt Kevin Feige is way more involved with editing than people are at Warner Bros."

Describing Feige's process, "He gives more notes. You don’t have to take them and I don’t always take them." However, Gunn did stipulate that his first time working with Feige was also his first time "making something so gigantic" and that there was a learning curve at the start:

"Then again, I had more problems. If you saw the first cut of 'Guardians' 1, it had more problems, because that was my first time making something so gigantic and there’s some learning to what works and what doesn’t, carving away the excess stuff."

Gunn also said that as time goes on and the franchise grows, "[Feige's] more spread out:"

"The truth is, as Marvel goes on and Kevin Feige starts to amass ownership of half of all film in general, he’s more spread out."

When asked about whether he would continue working with Marvel, Gunn had his doubts, with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 "probably" being his last:

"I have no clue what I’m going to do. For me, 'Guardians 3' is probably the last one. I don’t know about doing it again."

Gunn expressed his interest in DC for being far looser in its adaptations and continuity "because of the ability to do different stuff in the DC multiverse:"

"I do find, because of the ability to do different stuff in the DC multiverse, it’s fun. They’re starting to really resemble their comic books."

He describes Marvel Comics as "a little more cohesive" with DC being a series of "great single runs," such as The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen:

"The Marvel Universe has always been a little more cohesive, and DC has always had more great single runs. They had The Dark Knight Returns. They had Watchmen. They had The Killing Joke. They had Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing."

Gunn gave a recent example with Joker, "which is a totally different type of movie," along with Matt Reeve's upcoming The Batman. These are two completely isolated franchises, which Gunn appreciates:

"The fact that they did “Joker,” which is a totally different type of movie, that to me is cool. I’m very excited about Matt’s movie [“The Batman,” from Matt Reeves]. They’re getting some really good filmmakers involved. They’re always going to be hit or miss — I just don’t want them to get boring."


It seems like James Gunn has gotten the itch for DC heroes and villains with Warner Bros'. far looser approach to connectivity between its films. Considering films like Joker and The Batman could never have been made as they are if they were meant to contribute to a larger universe, Gunn's feelings are completely understandable.

Gunn pointed out that it's the same for both comic book companies, as Marvel has always been more consistent in its universe stability and connectivity while DC has rebooted itself several times at this point. In addition, some of the company's most famous works are one-off graphic novels like Watchmen and Elseworld stories, such as The Dark Knight Returns.

So, seeing the empty pasture awaiting him, it's not surprising that Gunn is more enticed to return to DC, where he has the freedom to do more with a story than he was at Marvel Studios.

It's unlikely that the MCU will ever have a completely isolated film taking place in its own universe like The Batman, which shows the faults in such a franchise.

Regardless of where James Gunn ultimately ends up, Marvel fans will still see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in theaters on May 5, 2023.

- In This Article: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Release Date
May 05, 2023
- About The Author: Pierre Chanliau
Pierre Chanliau began as a news & feature writer for The Direct at the site's launch in 2020. As a longtime reader of superhero comic books, Pierre's knowledge of Marvel and DC is extensive, informing his reporting and editorial pieces regarding the MCU and DCU.