We wonder if James Gunn thought he'd be the frontrunner for one of the most exciting summer blockbusters around back in 1996, when he got his first screenplay credit writing Lloyd Kaufman's Tromeo & Juliet. We're guessing… not. But in the years that followed, he began writing such hit films as Scooby Doo and Dawn of the Dead, and finally directed the cult hit horror comedy Slither and the critically acclaimed superhero drama Super, which cracked our list of the Ten Best Films of 2011. We're guessing it's those films (and his screenplay for the indie superhero comedy The Specials) that Marvel was considering when they decided to put him at the top of the list to direct The Guardians of the Galaxy, the galaxy-spanning lead in to The Avengers 2.
Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Marvel Studios is targeting Gunn to helm the comic book adaptation, whose log line says it's about "a U.S. pilot who ends up in space in the middle of a universal conflict and goes on the run with futuristic ex-cons who have something everyone wants." That "U.S. pilot" wasn't included in the cast as we understood it, which consisted of Starlord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Groot and Rocket Raccoon. They're probably referring to Vance Astro, an alternate reality version of the Avenger called Marvel Boy, who wound joining both incarnations of the team.
Gunn doesn't have the gig yet, so don't get too excited yet. If his deal doesn't work out, Marvel Studios is considering Bring It On director Peyton Reed (who was once attached to the Fantastic Four franchise before Tim Story jumped on board) and Half Nelson directors Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden. But James Gunn has the comedy and geek sensibilities that made Joss Whedon so perfect for The Avengers, so we imagine Marvel wants to make this work out.
CraveOnline will be back with more Guardians of the Galaxy news after we get a pez dispenser with a little us on it.