– by Nick Doll

Marvel Studios has a reputation of wrestling too much creative control out of the hands of its directors. Joss Whedon didn’t come back for Avengers: Infinity War because of his creative differences with Marvel over Avengers: Age of Ultron and Patty Jenkins was one of the directors to abandon a Marvel project completely when she left Thor: The Dark World.

Guardians of the Galaxy was the weirdest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe back in 2014, and since then projects have been getting more unique and bold like Ant-Man and Doctor Strange. Nancy Tapia attended a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 press junket for LRM, where the director of the film, James Gunn, was asked if he had more freedom for the even weirder sequel:

“The truth is, the great thing about working with, especially with Kevin [Feige], all of Marvel, but especially Kevin who I have an especially close bond with and who is incredibly important person in my relationship with film. They gave me complete freedom on both movies. On the first movie, I think I was a lot more timid, frankly. You know, I took my first draft in on the first film and I ran into Kevin and Joss Whedon was there and there was a lot of humor in there and I was afraid I was pushing the comedy, that it was too funny, and, you know, Kevin and Joss said “Yep, make it more James Gunn,” and I was like, “Okay, it’s your funeral.” But people seem to like that, and so I thought I was, you know, I’m a little punk rock kid who, you know, likes sort of edgy stuff, and I thought what I liked may not be what the entire world likes. But I’ve come to trust that what I like is what works. And the great thing about working with Kevin is, we seem to be very much on the same page with what is, you know, what we like that’s sort of popular and commercial and traditional. And what we like that’s edgy and funny and different. So, yes, I had a lot more freedom on the second movie, but most of it, I feel like, was from myself. Just allowing myself to completely go there with story and not stop myself at any point from fear of alienating people. I wanted to be as true to the artistic vision, and especially as true to the characters as possible in this film.” 

It’s interesting to hear different opinions from various directors about their own interactions with Marvel Studios and the company’s President, Kevin Feige. It does seem, from an outsider’s perspective, like Marvel Studios is lessening their grip a little bit and letting the current crop of directors bring their own flair to Marvel films. The biggest take away from Gunn’s response is that he himself perhaps limited his freedom on the first film more than Marvel Studios did. Expect Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and its sequel to be “more punk rock,” as Gunn continues to allow himself the creative freedom he deserves.

Does it appear to you that Marvel is giving more creative freedom to filmmakers? Or is Gunn just towing the company line? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

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