Hey, a guy’s gotta work.
Warner Bros. studios on Tuesday announced that former Marvel darling James Gunn has been tapped to write the script for DC’s planned Suicide Squad sequel. The news comes as sour grapes to millions of fans still clinging to the hope that Disney will realize the mistake it made in firing Gunn and welcome him back into the fold.
Here’s the thing, though: it’s not going to happen. When Disney fired James Gunn in July over some decade-old tweets, their decision was utterly, devastatingly final. The studio that owns the Marvel Cinematic Universe may backtrack enough to use Gunn’s script for the third installment of his beloved franchise, but that’s it. Gunn isn’t going to come back. Period.
Which brings us to Suicide Squad, DC’s grungy counterpoint to the Guardians of the Galaxy. The story of a team of misfits defined by their apprehension for authority, Suicide Squad failed to ignite fans when the team’s rambling, borderline incoherent origin story was released in 2016. Amid cries from writer-director David Ayer (End of Watch) that Warner had fiddled with his final copy, Suicide Squad was roasted by critics and ignored by fans.
And yet … it’s not a bad movie. Among its middling DC counterparts, it’s actually pretty good. The CGI is better than Justice League, the script is better than either Superman film, and the cast is more talented than the Wonder Woman folks. The bones of a solid film are so prominent in Suicide Squad’s final version that one has to wonder if there was merit to Ayer’s complaints. At the very least, a sequel that jettisoned the needless exposition and the world’s stupidest Joker has great potential.
At the moment, Gunn hasn’t locked down the directing job, though rumors are swirling that Warner Bros. is courting him for the duties. Gunn wouldn’t be the first big name drafted by the DCEU. Joss Whedon took over the reigns of Justice League when Zack Snyder was forced to drop out, Steven Spielberg and Ava DuVernay are working on one-shot films of their own. However, should he be hired to direct, Gunn would be the first big name talent allowed to shepherd a project from start to finish in the swirling maelstrom that is DC’s current cinematic storyline. Offering Gunn a foot in the door and a chance to anchor things in something fresh … well, there’s great potential there, too.
Gunn’s time in the Marvel Universe is done. It’s over. But banishment from one universe doesn’t mean that Gunn can’t lend his singular ability to another struggling franchise. Perhaps it’s time to stop wishing for something we can’t have and start thinking about the glorious possibilities that James Gunn can bring to the DC Extended Universe.