Since taking the keys of the entire DC universe, not every one of James Gunn’s statements has been met with the utmost assent, as fans of the previous DCEU weren’t jolly about the regime change. So it’s not hard to see why the acclaimed director often finds himself under fire by a certain fandom on the web, and his recent comments didn’t help make anything better.
Following Gunn’s stance on the cameo culture in recent superhero media, certain fans branded him as a hypocrite, claiming his previous works also fall under the same issue.
James Gunn Is Tired of Unnecessary Cameos in Modern CBMs
It’s hard to overlook the problem with studios emphasizing cameos to sell their CBMs instead of organically adding them to the plot, which appears to be Gunn’s biggest complaint against the genre. Although projects like No Way Home relied on nostalgia to do the heavy lifting, each Spider-Man and villain from the other universes served a meaningful purpose, which Gunn expressed what they should be used for. While James Gunn doesn’t inherently have a problem with cameos used as fun easter eggs, per the director, they should fit organically into the main plot.
Speaking to fans on Threads, he said,
“I call that ‘Cameo P-rn’ and it has been one of the worst elements of recent superhero films… If a character is in a film, they have to have a reason to be there story-wise. I don’t mind actual cameos – if it’s a glimpse or a moment, an Easter egg. What bothers me is when they mangle an elegant story by shoehorning characters in – they aren’t there because the story calls for it, but for some other reason.”
Several MCU flicks and even the last remnants of the DCEU are also at fault for shoehorning cameos without a strong justification, such as Shazam 2 and The Flash. However, fans were also quick to call out Gunn on the matter, with some claiming the director is a hypocrite for his statements.
Fans Called Out James Gunn Claiming His Previous Works Too Are at Fault
One major example most pulled up is the JL appearance with Jason Momoa and Ezra Miller reprising their part in the Peacemaker finale, which for certain fans, seemed shoehorned. Apart from this, other minor ones involved The Collector and Howard the Duck in GOTG, which exactly isn’t a meaningless cameo, as Howard makes subsequent appearances in a plethora of other MCU films.
Remember when James Gunn was complaining about superhero movies having "cameo porn"💀
— Zack Brangen💀🍓 (@ZBrag101) December 24, 2023
James Gunn had the Justice League cameo in Peacemaker for 1 minute so he could write in a fish fucking joke for Aquaman and the Flash while the rest was faceless shadow figures. WB and DC are in a mess they created. https://t.co/EyzswAIrY5
— Brittany 🏳️🌈 (@Britannicus92) December 13, 2023
Don't forget the Justice League cameo in Peacemaker finale just for the sake of cracking fish f*cking jokes. James Gunn is a wannabe intellectual.😭😭😭 https://t.co/s80dvvwqZI pic.twitter.com/IDNojukgq2
— Feat. Sum🇵🇸 (@Sumaira____) December 13, 2023
Who was your favorite cameo in James Gunn’s Peacemaker finale? pic.twitter.com/rOPctKUe6e
— BLURAYANGEL 🦇 (@blurayangel) December 14, 2023
James Gunn says 'cameo porn' is one of the worst things about recent superhero films
“If a character is in film, they have to have a reason to be there story-wise"
“I don’t mind actual cameos – if it’s a glimpse or a moment, an Easter egg. What bothers me is when they mangle… pic.twitter.com/n9jszY9yV6
— Culture Crave 🍿 (@CultureCrave) December 13, 2023
However, the criticism against his usage of JL at the end kind of falls short as deeming it as an unnecessary cameo, like in many other CBMs, doesn’t do it justice. Considering that the JL was referenced several times throughout the series, with Peacemaker making witty remarks about them, the end joke about Aquaman was not only funny but did fit well with the storytelling. As for fans concerned about the huge cast Gunn has assembled for Superman: Legacy, he assured that everyone will serve a purpose to the narrative and help in establishing the greater DCU.