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SYFY WIRE James Gunn

Is there much difference between working with Marvel or DC? James Gunn weighs in

Surprisingly, Gunn said neither studio has come at his scripts with proverbial creative machetes.

By Tara Bennett
Peacemaker Season 1 PRESS

As one of the few creatives that slides from Marvel Studios to DC Extended Universe films and TV series, writer/director James Gunn has a unique perspective on how each work and approach collaboration. For Marvel Studios, Gunn has two Guardians of the Galaxy films (and a third currently in production) on his resume, and is currently writing/producing, I Am Groot, a series of animated shorts for Disney+. And over at WB/DC, Gunn directed last year's The Suicide Squad and has written and directed the HBOMax series Peacemaker, which premieres this week. 

With Peacemaker launching the DC Extended Universe into the episodic streaming realm, it might be assumed that Gunn was given huge creative guardrails. But in a recent interview with SYFY WIRE and a few other outlets, Gunn said neither studio has come at his scripts with proverbial creative machetes.

"People tend to think that there's a master plan for Marvel. But the truth is, Marvel never asked me to do anything other than in the first Guardians to put Thanos in there, and to come up with what the Infinity Stones were," Gunn shared. "Other than that, Marvel has never ever asked me to do anything. And the same thing has basically been true of DC. Well, there was one thing that maybe I pushed a little too far in the original scripts of Peacemaker, which I pulled back on this much," Gunn illustrated by pinching his fingers together. "But other than that, they kind of let me go hog wild."

Asked what he got notes on specifically, Gunn said he peppered his scripts with throw-away references and off-handed mentions of many of the DC universe's beloved characters. "I think they had a lot of questions on how Bat-Mite is in the DCU," Gunn laughed, referring to Chris Smith (John Cena) mentioning the character in a script. "I think it's hilarious."

"They were very, very cool with everything," Gunn continued about his Peacemaker interactions. "HBO Max, in particular, was a fantastic partner in backing me up anytime we came against a little [note] like, 'I don't know, should you call Batman this?' Every once in a while some questions about that type of stuff [came up]. But for the most part, these guys have been fantastic partners, but especially HBO Max."

The series boasts a hard-R rating, and Gunn said the show lets the audience know that right from the over-the-top Peacemaker title credits dance sequence, with the cast underscored by Wig Wam's "Do Ya Wanna Taste it."

"At the very beginning of the show, you see that first scene and we go directly into the dance scene which is our way of saying, 'Do you want to taste it? Do you really want to taste it?'" Gunn laughed. "We are willing to go anywhere, whether that's filthy language, or sex, or a ridiculous, ridiculous dance number. There's no real constraints on what we can do here creatively. And we aren't your normal DC or Marvel superhero TV show. We're something different than that. At the end of the day, I don't think [Peacemaker] is a superhero show. I think it's a story about a sad guy who wears a costume and lives in a world of superheroes and has to sort of compare himself to them and is very envious of them. And we see that."

Peacemaker debuts Jan. 13 on HBOMax with new episodes dropping weekly.