While James Gunn has had a very eventful journey to helming the third outing for Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, it seems that it may also turn out to be his last directorial effort in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Having written and directed the first two Guardians movies, being unceremoniously fired for a while by Disney, jumping on board DC's The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker series, and then being rehired to helm Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 3, it is almost a story worthy of its own Marvel movie. While Gunn has been nothing but complimentary about his time working for Marvel Studios, he has made it clear that he believes his time within the MCU is now limited.
Speaking to the New York Times while promoting The Suicide Squad, James Gunn discussed how the new feature with Marvel is likely to be his last, at least for now. "I have no clue what I'm going to do," Gunn said. "For me, Guardians 3 is probably the last one. I don't know about doing it again. 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. 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. 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 [Matt Reeves' The Batman]. 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."
In previous interviews, Gunn has not made any secret that working on The Suicide Squad has been a world away from his time with Marvel's creations, noting in particular that there is a certain creative freedom that comes with DC's titles that isn't available with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is in part due to the MCU being, as Gunn says himself, a "little more cohesive", but there is also the "family" aspect of Marvel's movies up to this point. Where DC is venturing into the more adult themed, sweary, blood and gore filled world of comic books, which it should be said is one of their greatest and, until recently, mostly unused assets, Marvel has been reluctant to deviate away from PG-13 territory.
With Marvel having confirmed that Deadpool will be me making his R-rated debut in the MCU in a few years, it could well be possible that James Gunn will come back to the Marvel fold if that kind of "adult movie" freedom develops even further somewhere down the line. Until then, we can look forward to the imminent arrival of The Suicide Squad in theaters soon and will see if the risk of going all guns blazing, "balls to the wall bonkers" will pay off for Warner Bros. After the success of Joker, but mixed reviews of Birds of Prey, the future direction of DC's R-rated content is likely to hang on the reaction to Gunn's vision, and based on the early previews, it looks like that future is bright, and bloody, indeed. Read the whole interview at The New York Times.