Griffin Sendek | Staff Writer
The Wrap first reported on Oct. 9, 2018 that James Gunn was in the talks to write and possibly direct Suicide Squad 2 for the DC franchise.
Disney parted ways with Gunn back in July, immediately removing him from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Gunn was fired following the resurfacing of nearly 10-year-old tweets by far-right Twitter user Mike Cernovich, who has been known to share offensive content from prominent left-leaning creatives’ pasts. Gunn often voiced his personal political beliefs and objections to the current administration on social media, which made him a target for Cernovich and other conservative voices. The tweets in question were of Gunn making several rape and pedophilia jokes.
Gunn’s sudden dismissal came as a shock and was received with an outcry from fans and cast members alike. A petition to Marvel on change.org to re-hire Gunn has received upward of 421,000 signatures. Additionally, a personal letter from the main cast of Guardians of the Galaxy showed their support for Gunn, and their views of his removal being unjust. Cast member David Bautista has been particularly vocal about the matter, showcasing his specific distaste at the nature of Gunn’s firing. Bautista went as far to say that he will quit the franchise if Gunn’s script is not used for the third Guardians film. Despite this and an apology from Gunn himself, Disney has zero plans of reinstating Gunn’s position at Marvel.
Since severing ties, Gunn has been approached by multiple producers and studio executives to work on their movies. Gunn ultimately chose to partner with Warner Bros and DC, Marvel’s immediate rival in the superhero movie genre. Whether this decision was merely business or a method of Gunn’s to get back at Disney is up for speculation.
Gunn is making the shift from leading a ragtag team of superheroes to a ragtag group of super villains. Him being the powering force behind Suicide Squad 2 could be precisely what the series needs. Even more so, it would benefit the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) as a whole.
The original Suicide Squad had all the potential and promise to be a terrific movie with a solid concept, a talented cast and good source material to draw from. Unfortunately, the film was plagued by the studio meddling with extensive re-shoots, numerous cut scenes and complete re-editing which held it back at every turn.
Suicide Squad has been included amongst Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, other DCEU films of which all had promise but either failed in execution or did not live up to the hype, causing many to draw their conclusions that DC’s take on a cinematic universe is failing, and only one or two more bad films away from crumbling. Meanwhile, Marvel seems to soar higher with each consecutive release.
Five movies in, with Wonder Woman being the only one to receive widespread critical and commercial acclaim, it is evident that the DCEU is in need of a change. Bringing James Gunn on board for Suicide Squad 2 could be a big step in the right direction.
Gunn is reportedly taking the sequel in a new direction; there is no word yet on precisely what that means and how Gunn’s take will differ from David Ayer, director of Suicide Squad. If Gunn’s previous work is any evidence to go on, Suicide Squad 2 could very well be one of the best blockbusters of its year. With Guardians of the Galaxy, Gunn took relatively unknown characters and broke them into the mainstream. Guardians was a risk for Marvel, but at the time they trusted Gunn to make it work, and it ended up being a smashing success. If Wander Bros. and DC believe in Gunn and let him do his job with limited studio interference, Suicide Squad 2 has all the potential to be excellent.