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Guardians Of The Galaxy Wasn't The First Marvel Film James Gunn Wanted To Make

At this point in his career, James Gunn has solidified his place on the Mount Rushmore of superhero filmmakers with hits like "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "The Suicide Squad." His ability to juggle entire rosters of characters for both Marvel and DC led him to land a co-CEO position with the latter, ushering in a new era for DC.

Many may not know this, but "Guardians" wasn't the first superhero movie Gunn brought to the big screen. In 2000, he wrote "The Specials," a comedy focusing on a day off from crimefighting for an unpopular group of heroes. Ten years later, Gunn introduced an original idea with "Super," a dark comedy about an average man who decides to be a superhero. However, in 2014, the director's fame rose to new heights with the release of "Guardians of the Galaxy." Gunn's ability to take a ragtag group of relatively unknown characters and turn them into household names was on full display with his MCU debut. Since then, he's made two more "Guardians" movies and a holiday special.

When he signed on with DC, the company offered him whatever property he wanted, which landed him "The Suicide Squad." While Gunn will always be associated with the MCU for his time with the "Guardians," if Marvel had given him the same choice DC did, fans would have gotten a much different movie from the director.

Hit Monkey was at the top of Gunn's list

During a 2017 Facebook live Q&A, a fan asked James Gunn what his dream superhero movie was before signing on for "Guardians of the Galaxy." "I wanted to do Hit Monkey. Like REALLY wanted to do it," the director replied. "I was also interested in doing a Hulk/Red Hulk film."

Hit Monkey is a really interesting choice to see a director like Gunn wanting to bring to the big screen. If the name wasn't a dead giveaway, Hit Monkey is a hitman who's a monkey. The character hasn't been around in Marvel Comics for that long, debuting in "Hit-Monkey" #1 in 2010. In the issue, the monkey was part of a clan of monkeys located in the mountains of Japan, who took in a wounded assassin to nurse him back to health. The monkey disagreed with the clan's decision but studied the killer as he trained, learning his fighting techniques. After his family exiled him, the monkey returned to warn them of incoming soldiers, but it was too late. Vowing to take revenge, he picked up the assassin's pistols and became Hit-Monkey.

According to the 2021 book "The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe," Gunn wasn't lying when he said he really wanted to make a "Hit Monkey" movie, as the book details how he pitched the idea to Marvel's executives. However, they eventually got him on board with making "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Even though Gunn wasn't a part of it, Hit Monkey eventually made it to the screen, with Hulu developing "Hit-Monkey." The series was a success on the streaming service, getting multiple seasons, although it remains separate from the MCU.