The Suicide Squad and Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker James Gunn is the "poster child" proving creatives can go back and forth from DC and Marvel, Gunn's Squad producer Peter Safran says about competitors DC Films and Marvel Studios. The Aquaman and Shazam producer pitched DC to Gunn just days after Disney fired Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 directing duties over resurfaced "offensive attitudes and statements" tweeted by Gunn. "Marvel's mistake" was a "giant benefit" for DC and Warner Bros., says Safran, who argues both companies continue to "raise the bar" in the ever-expanding genre of superhero movies.
"I love the fact that James is showing you can work at DC, you can work at Marvel, and it's not a problem," Safran told the Deadline podcast. "All of us in this world [of superhero movies] love comic books, love these stories, love these characters, and that which unites fans of Marvel and DC is much greater than that which divides us. So I love that James can kind of be the poster child for the ability to go back and forth between the companies."
Safran added he applauds the success of "the other company," the Kevin Feige-led Marvel Studios, because "whenever superhero stuff is done well and differently and succeeds for the audience and is embraced by the audience, it just builds the audience for superhero stuff in general."
"They keep raising the bar, and you have to keep meeting that new standard," Safran said of Marvel, adding DC "truly will let each property have the right tone for that particular character."
Safran explained: "You can have the Taxi Driver nature of Joker, you can have Big [with] Shazam!, the Shakespearean epic of Aquaman, the war caper of The Suicide Squad, they let you do all that. Marvel and DC keep raising the bar of each other, and they keep rising to the challenge."
Gunn previously revealed Feige visited the Squad set and was "very cool and supportive as he always is" of Gunn going to the DC Extended Universe for The Suicide Squad, where Warner Bros. made the Guardians filmmaker's exact pitch without interference. "There isn't the enmity behind the scenes like there is in the fan community," Gunn said about the fan-fueled DC-Marvel rivalry in an Instagram post published last year.
Ahead of his return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, coming May 2023, Gunn casually pitched a DC and Marvel crossover movie to executives of both companies. Gunn tweeted last month that a live-action collaboration between DC Films and Marvel Studios is not "likely" but not "an impossibility either."
Starring Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Jai Courtney, Peter Capaldi, David Dastmalchian, Daniela Melchior, Sylvester Stallone, and Viola Davis, The Suicide Squad releases in theaters and on HBO Max on August 6.