James Gunn Clarifies U.S. Military’s Influence on Marvel Movies

By Russ Milheim Posted:
Marvel, Avengers, US Military

One key aspect of Marvel movies, sometimes to their detriment from critics, are their action sequences. From superheroes fighting powered bad guys, to murderous robots destroying an entire city––the range of situations featured throughout the years are endless.

With all of those action sequences, the US Military tends to play into most of them. A majority of the Marvel films have military vehicles and official items throughout. This has led some people to believe that all of Marvel's films, alongside projects from other studios, have to go through a screening process to be approved by the military.

Well, those theories just got Gunn'ed down.

No Pentagon Approval Needed for Marvel Scripts


Jesse Hawken from Junk Filter Podcast posted a tweet that drew the attention of one of Marvel's biggest filmmakers.

In his message, he mentioned how a certain aspect of Eternals (which will remain detail-less as to avoid spoilers) was amazing for the simple fact that the connection had to be approved by the Pentagon––a process he claimed happened with all Marvel films.

James Gunn, the director of Guardians of the Galaxy and The Suicide Squad, came out to clarify the facts, saying that no, "not all [Marvel scripts] are approved by the Pentagon:"

"Marvel scripts are not all approved by the Pentagon. Where do people come up with this nonsense?

When another user came forward saying that they thought studios needed approval for their films in that regard, Gunn replied "no," continuing on to say that "this is very few films:"

"No. When a film uses military assets for free those specific scripts have to get military approval to make sure the military isn't disparaged. This is very few films - and, from what I know, the military is pretty loose about it."

After an attempt by a user to call him out for invalidating his first statement, Gunn called the argumentative pivot "so stupid" before explaining himself:

"This is so stupid. They said all Marvel movies are pre-approved by the military. This isn't true. Saying some movies in Hollywood get approval in exchange for assets doesn't make that any less true. I've never had a movie get approved by the military..."

James Gunn went on even further to say that "[he has] never gotten free military assets for any film."

Not Every MCU Film Needs the Military

Who would have guessed that something would be misunderstood and misconstrued on the internet?

An important distinction here, besides how Gunn clarified that some films do still need approval, is that in order for this to matter, those military assets would have to had been given to the production for free. Otherwise, no approval is necessary.

The screening is for the free assets––not for the film to be able to include whatever plot points it has in relation to the military. It would be silly if literally every film which necessitated the government's approval in order to be able to move forward. In fact, it wouldn't be silly. It would be censorship.

There would also be far less military involvement in films across the board. Thankfully, the local censorship issues are nearly nonexistent, and certainly not at the levels of some other countries out there.

The next Marvel Studios filmEternals, which is not likely to have much military involvement, will be hitting theaters on November 5. 

- In This Article: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Release Date
May 05, 2023
- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.