So it is written, acclaimed Marvel movie director James Gunn is now in charge of the DCEU. The news, while sudden, isn’t all too surprising given the great jobs he did on action movie The Suicide Squad and sci-fi series Peacemaker. It certainly makes us more optimistic about DC movies, but things could’ve been very different.
Kevin Feige, head of Marvel Studios and a longtime planner on the MCU, was in discussions for the position once upon a time. A report from Puck News posits that Feige “talked pretty seriously with Warners a few years ago” when he was looking to get out from under the thumb of then-Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter.
Perlmutter was a notorious figure when it came to Marvel movies and Marvel series, reportedly exhibiting a cynical, money-driven attitude among other transgressions. Feige was unhappy about working around Perlmutter, and given the success MCU movies were creating, clearly considered his options for more creative freedom.
Feige was under such pressure he earnestly looked at leaving, and no doubt got some leverage in negotiating power with what Warners offered him. In any case, it all worked out, because in 2015, Disney restructured Marvel’s place on the flagpole so Feige only reported to Alan Horn, then-chairman of Disney Studios.
But this does show that Warner’s been looking for someone to maintain its superhero movies for some time. Though we’ve had some hits, like Wonder Woman, the aforementioned The Suicide Squad, and Birds of Prey, a lot of DC’s big screen output over the last decade has been scattered.
Putting discussions on quality aside, from Superman movie Man of Steel onwards we’ve seen a hodge-podge of tones and storytelling ideas from DC, totally lacking the cohesion and momentum of its Marvel counterpart. The company has needed someone to do some focused, long-term planning, with the dedication to stay the course, and now it has it in James Gunn.
However, it could’ve been Feige. What a strange alternate universe we’d be living in if that were the case. Have look at our guide to 2023 movies we’re looking forward to if you want to knows what’s coming for either franchise.