James Gunn came straight out of left field when he was first announced to be directing the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Guardians of the Galaxy. He did have some cache in the effects-heavy family film market having penned Scooby-Doo and sequel Monsters Unleashed, but his background was firmly in the R-rated realm.
After getting his start at schlock merchants Troma before penning Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake, Gunn made his feature debut on blackly comic body horror Slither, following it up with his own twisted psychological take on superhero cinema with 2010’s Super.
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New book The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe via CBR reveals that during his initial meetings with Marvel Studios, the filmmaker wasn’t convinced that Guardians of the Galaxy was the right project for him, instead pitching the altogether more eccentric and violent Hit-Monkey instead.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is close to beginning production ahead of a May 2023 release, while an animated episodic version of Hit-Monkey is coming to Hulu on November 17, so fans ultimately ended up getting the best of both worlds eventually. That being said, Gunn’s sensibilities make the idea of him helming a live-action adaptation of the latter sound like a mouthwatering missed opportunity.