The Suicide Squad director James Gunn is assuring everybody that he is still alive and well after an obituary with his name on it went viral. Fans, friends, and family all reached out to Gunn after it was revealed that popular sci-fi author and editor James E. Gunn passed away. As it turns out, many people read the headline too quickly, and assumed that it was the Guardians of the Galaxy director who had actually died.
After the James E. Gunn obituary started to go viral, director James Gunn tweeted, "For the record, I've gotten dozens of messages from close friends & relatives who read this headline quickly & freaked out." The Suicide Squad director continued, "I am alive. Different James Gunn - may he Rest in peace." Gunn also called out a publication for their misleading headline, which left the "E" out of James E. Gunn's name. When glancing at said headline, which has since been edited, it's easy to see why people thought the other Gunn had passed away.
James E. Gunn was a prolific sci-fi author and editor. Gunn died on December 23rd, 2020 in Lawrence, Kansas and was 97-years old. His death was announced by the University of Kansas, which is where he taught and later founded the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction. Gunn's 1972 book The Listeners was praised by astronomer Carl Sagan who said it was, "one of the very best fictional portrayals of contact with extraterrestrial intelligence ever written." However, James E. Gunn is probably best-known for his 1962 book, The Immortals, which was later adapted into a TV movie, and then a TV series in the early 1970s.
James E. Gunn's last book, Transformation, came out in 2017. Throughout his lengthy career, the author wrote over 30 books and over 100 short stories. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America honored him as a Grand Master in 2007, and he was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2015. While it doesn't seem to be a direct influence, it seems that James E. Gunn's trailblazing writing may have been an indirect influence on Arnold Drake and artist Gene Colan when they created Guardians of the Galaxy.
The other James Gunn is still very much alive and working on The Suicide Squad spin-off series Peacemaker, which is now filming with an aim for an early 2022 release on HBO Max. After that and the promotional campaign for his DC projects, Gunn will head back over the Marvel Studios to begin work on the long-awaited Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Fans have been waiting a long time to see the Guardians back together in their own movie, so thankfully, the wait is nearly over. You can check out James Gunn's official Twitter response to the obituary of James E. Gunn above.