James Gunn has been appointed as the head of DC Studios, the latest phase of rebranding Warner Bors. and DC Films' superhero franchise universe into a legitimate competitor for Marvel. With Gunn (and his producer partner Peter Safran) now steering the ship at DC, there have been a lot of knee-jerk reactions to address, as well as new questions that fans need answers to, ASAP. IN that immediate rush of enthusiasm and/or confusion, one interesting possibility has come up:
Could James Gunn be the one to bring two mega-franchises together and give us a "DC vs. Marvel" crossover event?
DC vs. Marvel: A History
The DC and Marvel Universes are often framed as being intense rivals, but that rivalry has arguably always existed within (some of) the fandoms behind each franchise – and not within the hearts and minds of comic book creators themselves, who just as often take jobs from both publishers. Not only have DC and Marvel not gone to war over their differences, the two publishers have put aside their brand differences in the past to team up and launch an epic crossover event.
Marvel vs. DC (aka DC vs. Marvel) became a major success and is still a classic storyline, which saw two god-like beings from DC and Marvel (The Brothers) became aware of one another and create a competition for their respective lineup of heoroes. That event segued into a bigger PR stunt event: the Amalgamation Universe, a faux imprint that mixed DC and Marvel characters into mashups and "relaunched them" in new comic book series. It only lasted from 1996-1997, but is still a classic and/or iconic piece of comic book lore.
Marvel vs. DC: The Movie
While comic book movie fans seem content to war with each other over false DC/Marvel rivalries, there are some who actually have level-enough minds to see the potential in DC and Marvel coming together on the big screen. However, even when fans dream of it, a "Marvel vs. DC" movie has seemed like a logistical long-shot – first and foremost because of the question: who would even put it together?
The fan-wish answer was always that Marvel's Kevin Feige would somehow hop the fence and use his magical franchise universe powers to make it DC and Marvel come together; now that James Gunn is at the helm, a much clearer and more likely answer is in front of us. Gunn is one of the only directors to gain noteriety for his work at both Marvel Studios (Guardians of the Galaxy series) and DC (The Suicide Squad and its Peacemaker TV series spinoff). Gunn's pronounced love for both Marvel and DC makes him the kind of fan (now with executive powers) that could make this wish happen.
James Gunn's DC vs. Marvel
That's not just speculation: James Gunn has revealed that he actually already started talks about a "Marvel vs. DC" event crossover, long before he got the DC Studios job:
"I've casually talked to the powers-that-be at both Marvel & DC about it. I would love for it to happen. I don't think it's likely, but I don't think it's an impossibility either," Gunn wrote in a 2021 Twitter conversation. "THAT SAID, just constantly seeing crossovers & mashups is less enchanting to me than a strong story."
In that same thread, he pressed the point home that events like "DC vs. Marvel" can't be arbitruary:
"I find it disconcerting at times that many folks seem more interested in crossovers, cameos, references & post-credit scenes than they do the actual story & characters of a specific film," He wrote. "When making a film I spend 99.9% of my time thinking about story & character & .1% the rest."
Will there be a DCU vs. MCU Crossover?
So DC vs. Marvel can't just happen on a whim, or for spectacle's sake, but there is genuine opportunity within both franchises to do it in the next ten years or less!
Both Marvel and DC are currently working on movie franchise story arcs that involve alternate realities, the multiverse, and big potential reboots of both franchises. If a by-product of those universe-altering stories is both of them coming together in a new reality, it would be something that (as Gunn indicates) could draw from genuine and deep story and character threads that all converge in this bigger event.
Do you want to see DC vs. Marvel happen?