James Gunn might still direct some comic book movies, but not from Marvel. DC and Warner Bros. have hired the writer and director to, appropriately, write and direct the next Suicide Squad film. This is the first public project Gunn has been attached to since his abrupt firing from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in July 2018.
The Wrap reported Gunn’s “switch” earlier today. Gunn has not made a statement regarding this news and has not tweeted since July following his apology regarding his old offensive statements. Warner Bros. nor DC have commented either. Deadline also reported that DC and Gunn were in talks to develop this film and settled the deal once Disney fired him.
The first Suicide Squad hit theaters in 2016 and was met with abysmal critical reception. The film was lambasted for its poor script, weak characters, bad story, and more. It currently sits at a 28 percent on Rotten Tomatoes right next to Batman V Superman‘s 27 percent but just a bit above Catwoman‘s nine percent.
Critics were more forgiving to Justice League and Man of Steel, but not by much (40 percent and 55, respectively). Aside from 2017’s Wonder Woman, DC has struggled to be a live action competitor to Marvel, whose films are both critical darlings and financial juggernauts. Poaching one of the Marvel’s most unique filmmakers was likely a calculated move to replicate its success.
Gunn was most known for Guardians of the Galaxy, which was a band of ragtag misfits filled with tons of emotional baggage. The members of the Suicide Squad, albeit more sinister, have more than a few of these similarities in common with the four Guardians of the Galaxy. Suicide Squad even took more than a few nods from Gunn’s hit film, as it also had a focus on pop music and a distinct visual palette. However, one was more well regarded. Those commonalities probably made Gunn a good fit in DC’s eyes.
Gavin O’Connor, known for the 2016 film, The Accountant, was previously attached to direct the Suicide Squad sequel. But he is now directing Torrance, a drama starring Ben Affleck, for Warner Bros. instead. Suicide Squad’s director, David Ayer, also won’t be returning, which makes sense given his rough time developing that film.