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James Gunn Says Kevin Feige Was The First Person He Told About His New DC Gig

In one of the most welcome surprises from an increasingly embattled Warner Bros. Pictures, James Gunn has been brought on board to co-lead DC Comics' cinematic endeavors. This comes just over a year after the release of Gunn's DC debut, 2021's "The Suicide Squad" — a critical success despite a COVID-strapped box-office performance.

Gunn will be joined by Peter Safran, a film producer who worked on a number of DC films including Gunn's "The Suicide Squad," "Shazam!" and its upcoming sequel, "Shazam: Fury of the Gods," as well as "Blue Beetle." Safran's first DC film was James Wan's "Aquaman," after serving as a producer on a great number of the director's previous projects, including those in the successful "Conjuring" universe. Notably, Safran has not been involved in any Zack Snyder-directed features, "Black Adam," the upcoming "The Flash" film, nor the canceled "Batgirl" HBO Max feature. He was, however, an executive producer on HBO's "Peacemaker" series, helmed by Gunn. As far as DC track records go, Safran's is stronger than most.

Though this announcement is a promising one for the future of the DC Universe, it came as a disappointment to fans of Gunn's Marvel Studios work. Per The Hollywood Reporter, Gunn's DC contract has an exclusivity clause, meaning he cannot continue to work with Marvel Studios for the entirety of his four-year engagement with DC. This has stoked many jokes about a longstanding perceived rivalry between Gunn and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, and Gunn has something to say about the rumored, non-existent feud.

James Gunn loves his 'arch-nemesis' Kevin Feige

Some have joked that Feige created his own arch-nemesis by hiring Gunn to direct "Guardians of the Galaxy," before firing and then re-hiring the director after a string of indefensible unearthed tweets — continuing a misconception that the decision was made by Feige in the first place (per The Hollywood Reporter, that decision was made by Disney Chairman Alan Horn). According to Variety, sources have stated that Feige pushed for Gunn to be given a second chance. The truth at the heart of this "feud" is that Gunn's impermanent exit from "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" arguably pushed him toward his first collaboration with Warner Bros. and DC (per Deadline).

Feige and Gunn are, of course, on very good terms. Even ignoring the fact that since his firing, Gunn has worked with Feige and Marvel Studios on an original series of shorts, a holiday special, and the feature-length climax of his decade-long "Guardians" saga, Feige and Gunn have both stated explicitly that Gunn's move to DC is completely amicable.

"Not only do I love Kevin," tweeted Gunn, "he was the 1st person I told after I did the deal with DC," noting that "Peacemaker" star John Cena was the second. Gunn continued, "Contrary to popular belief, a dollar less for Marvel is not a dollar more for DC. DC & Marvel have the common goal of keeping the theater-going experience vibrant & alive!" Feige, on the other hand, told Deadline that he would be "first in line to see anything he does" for DC — after he fulfills his duties on "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3'," of course.