James Gunn has written the script for his upcoming “Superman: Legacy” and is currently putting together a casting list and audition material. He’s also about to embark on a worldwide press tour for his final movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” The writer-director recently told Rolling Stone that his “Superman” movie isn’t going to feel like a “Guardians” movie.
“I learned so much from making these movies,” Gunn said about his Marvel franchise. “But it’s not like ‘Superman’ is going to have exactly the same vibe as a ‘Guardians’ movie. It’s actually quite different.”
What the tone of Gunn’s “Superman: Legacy” will be remains to be seen. The tentpole is focusing on a younger iteration of the superhero than the one last seen on the big screen played by Henry Cavill. After his “Guardians Vol. 3” press duties are over, Gunn will transition full time to his new gig as the co-head of DC Studios with Peter Safran. “Superman: Legacy” will kick off the duo’s new DC Universe, which will also include films featuring Supergirl and Batman and Robin.
“I really want Marvel to keep making good movies,” Gunn said about his exit. “I think it’s really hard in the wake of the Blip. There’s this worldwide, universe-wide event that happened. And in truth, everybody would be stark raving mad at this point. So it’s hard to write stories in the wake of that. Which is why the ‘Guardians’ movies have been easier, because they’re set outside of that a little bit.”
The Blip refers to the climax of “Avengers: Infinity War” when the villainous Thanos snapped half of the universe’s population out of existence. The missing populace returned at the end of “Avengers: Endgame,” and every subsequent Marvel film and television series has had to wrestle with the ramifications of the event.
The ending of “Endgame” posed a different challenge for Gunn as it concluded with the Guardians of the Galaxy members linking up with Chris Hemsworth’s Thor.
“[Marvel] chose to have that ending in editing,” Gunn said. “And I didn’t think it was gonna be in there. ‘Endgame’ came out right after I decided to do ‘Guardians’ again. So I didn’t have much say in what was in ‘Endgame,’ and then it came out and then I was like, ‘What the fuck am I gonna do?’”
Fortunately for Gunn, Taika Waititi’s “Thor: Love and Thunder” quickly did away with Thor and the Guardians teaming up indefinitely. Thor went his own way in the film, leaving the door open for Gunn to write “Vol. 3” without Thor as originally intended.
“When [Marvel Studios president] Kevin [Feige] told me, ‘Taika’s gonna do Thor, and we’ll have the Guardians in it’. I said, ‘Thank God!’” Gunn said. “To be completely honest, Thor was never going to be in this movie. Taika took a bullet for me. Because I was not going to have him in. I was just gonna start up and there’s no Thor.”
With his “Guardians” franchise coming to an end and a whole new DC Universe about to begin, is Gunn worried about superhero fatigue?
“I think there is such a thing as superhero fatigue,” Gunn told Rolling Stone. “I think it doesn’t have anything to do with superheroes. It has to do with the kind of stories that get to be told, and if you lose your eye on the ball, which is character. We love Superman. We love Batman. We love Iron Man. Because they’re these incredible characters that we have in our hearts. And if it becomes just a bunch of nonsense onscreen, it gets really boring.”
“I get fatigued by most spectacle films, by the grind of not having an emotionally grounded story,” Gunn added. “It doesn’t have anything to do with whether they’re superhero movies or not. If you don’t have a story at the base of it, just watching things bash each other, no matter how clever those bashing moments are, no matter how clever the designs and the VFX are, it just gets fatiguing, and I think that’s very, very real.”
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is set to open in theaters May 5 from Disney, while “Superman: Legacy” is slotted for a July 11 release.