There was no doubt he would, and in a move pretty much everyone—including me—predicted, he is going to work for Marvel’s arch-rival, DC. James Gunn has been tapped to write a new script for Suicide Squad 2, and maybe he will direct it, too. The directing gig probably depends on whether or not the brass at Warner Brothers and DC Films like his script, and also if they decide they can weather the blowback of hiring Gunn after Disney sacked him for bad tweets. Going to work for Marvel’s rival, and on a franchise not entirely unlike Guardians of the Galaxy no less, is a hard dunk on Disney, and an Edmond Dantes-level revenge move, for sure. But as easy as it would be to make this a Take THAT, You Losers post, let’s remember a couple things about this situation.
One, it’s a mess. It was always messy. Disney should not have fired Gunn because the outrage over his old tweets was manufactured by an internet Nazi mob, but also, they probably shouldn’t have hired him in the first place. And now that we’ve rehashed his history as a bad-taste filmmaker and forty-year-old edgelord sh-thead, Warner Brothers has decided to hire him for another major franchise. This is not “Bryan Singer getting a huge payday for Red Sonja” territory, but it’s not outside the city limits, either. The question is what’s different now? What has changed FOR THE BETTER? Has James Gunn changed? If so, how is he demonstrating it? And maybe that’s not fair because he was deliberately targeted in bad faith, but at the end of the day, his dumbass past behavior was reexamined and three short months later, he’s back at work like nothing happened. This is the pattern we’re seeing now, everyone going back to work like nothing happened. So what changed? Anything? Nothing?
Another thing to keep in mind is that Warner Brothers is standing by Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts 2, so they get no points awarded. This is very much within their “maintain status quo” parameters. It’s a brilliant piece of business, sure, but it feeds directly into the feeling that nothing has changed, that no behavior is too bad for Hollywood. Again, Gunn isn’t in the same boat as the other names we’ve heard over the last year, though his past behavior is 100% that of a twat, but what this does is put them all on the same level. The guy who said some dumb sh-t is on the same level as the guy with multiple allegations of sexual assault and confirmed terrible behavior on set.
It’s that lack of consistency. As I said when I first wrote about Gunn’s firing, there has been no consistency in the way people accused of bad behavior, or worse, are handled in Hollywood. No path forward has been established. And, lacking direction, all the same people are going back to work like the last year was just a bad dream. The studios have merely traded which tainted filmmaker they’re paying that week. So while it will serve Disney right for Gunn to go on and make a billion dollars for someone else, and there is a certain deliciousness in knowing there is an overlap in the people who targeted Gunn and DC fanboys who now have to deal with him in their house, at the end of the day, nothing has changed. Harvey Weinstein is done. That’s really all that is different. Everyone else is getting back to business as usual.