James Gunn Confirms He’s Directing Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy

By David Wharton | Updated

After being rumored for the gig for weeks now, writer/director James Gunn has confirmed that he will indeed be directing Marvel’s superhero space opera, Guardians of the Galaxy. Now one question remains: Can Gunn make a movie that includes a space raccoon work?

Gunn broke the news via his Facebook page, where he said that he’s been waiting to make this movie since he was a kid:

For a month or so there’s been a lot of Internet speculation about my involvement with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Until now I haven’t said anything, because I’m trying to be less expulsive about this project than I am about the rest of my life. But last night I got the go-ahead from Kevin Feige to let you all know that, yes, indeed, I am rewriting and directing Guardians of the Galaxy. As a lifelong lover of Marvel comics, space epics, AND raccoons, this is the movie I’ve been waiting to make since I was nine years old. Kevin, Joss, and all the folks at Marvel have been amazing collaborators so far, and we’re committed to bringing you something majestic, beautiful, and unique. I am incredibly excited. I am also incredibly grateful to the fans and the press for all their words of encouragement and support regarding my involvement with this project since the news first leaked. Thanks – you have, honestly, touched and overwhelmed me. And that’s it for now. Other than the occasional photos of my dog and cat here on Facebook, I’ll talk to you again in August 2014 when Guardians is released!

As Marvel’s earlier movies have proven, matching the right director with the material can make the difference between success and failure. I’m sure other directors could have made a successful Avengers movie, but I’m also quite certain that no one could have made it as well as Joss Whedon, because he’s a lifelong comics fan who brings genuine passion and enthusiasm to the job. Guardians is likely to be the trickiest Marvel movie since Thor. Both films feature outlandish cosmic elements that are a hard sell for your average, non-comic-fan moviegoer. Director Kenneth Branaugh and actor Chris Hemsworth made Thor work, for the most part. Will we eventually be able to say the same about James Gunn and Guardians of the Galaxy?

At the very least, Gunn’s comic-nerd credentials are strong. Along with movies such as Slither (starring geek icon Nathan Fillion) and the surprisingly excellent Dawn of the Dead remake, Gunn has made two separate indie superhero flicks. The Specials back in 2000 took a comedic look at “the sixth or seventh best superhero team in the world.” 2010’s Super cast The Office‘s Rainn Wilson as an average guy who dons a superhero costume to wreak bloody vengeance after his wife leaves him for a drug dealer. We’ll do him the kindness of trying to forget about those Scooby Doo movies he wrote back in the early aughts…

When he’s got the right material in front of him, Gunn is a talented dude. It sounds like Guardians of the Galaxy is more than just a paycheck for him, so that’s a good sign. If he can manage to make Guardians a box office success, space raccoons and all, he deserves an Oscar for that accomplishment alone.