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In recent years, everyone has been speculating about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the DC Extended Universe, and the ongoing rivalry between the two. It’s almost as if moviegoers are expected to choose between the MCU and DCEU, rather than simply being fans of both. Of course, if this “Marvel vs DC” mindset sounds familiar, that’s because it’s been going on for decades.

However, even when it comes to superheroes, there is strength in numbers. So why couldn’t the Marvel and DC empires eventually combine forces on the big screen? According to one director who has worked for both companies, such a project could happen at some point.

James Gunn at the Electronic Entertainment Expo
James Gunn at the Electronic Entertainment Expo |Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Marvel and DC’s decades of rivalry

Although DC Comics entered the scene decades before Marvel Comics, both companies have become synonymous with the industry. In fact, they jointly own the term “superhero,” which says a lot about their dominance in shaping the genre. Over the years, the comic book companies have maintained a friendly rivalry, attempting to outdo one another.

In the process, they have drawn inspiration from each other’s work, with characters on both sides mirroring each other. That competitive nature has since translated to the big screen, as Marvel and DC have embraced the notion of big-screen shared universes. They’re even frequently reported to be courting the same actors, such as Keanu Reeves.

To the untrained eye then, it feels incredibly far-fetched that Marvel and DC would entertain the idea of a cross-over project. However, it has happened before. The comic book miniseries DC versus Marvel Comics was released in 1996 by both publishers, perhaps setting a precedent for an adaptation to occur.

Could the MCU and DCEU collide?

But would Marvel and DC engage in such an ambitious — and costly — endeavor as a big-screen DC versus Marvel Comics project? Considering how much Marvel and DC have going on right now, it’s likely not on either companies’ radar. That said, director James Gunn believes the right time may come someday.

In a recent Q&A session with fans, Gunn was asked about the possibility of a Marvel-DC crossover.

“In the past, I would have said no way,” Gunn said. “But today I think anything is possible.”

We’ve previously discussed a few ways the Marvel and DC Comics worlds could collide on the big screen. Most of them would involve some interdimensional mischief. But with time travel, the Quantum Realm, and the multiverse theory in play, they have plenty of options to have the Justice League meet the Avengers.

James Gunn’s singular accomplishment

Even though fans can’t stop speculating about the possibility of a Marvel-DC crossover, it’s probably a long way off, if it ever happens at all. Ironically, Gunn might be one of the few directors who could play an instrumental role in bridging that gap.

Several actors — most notably, Chris Evans and Ryan Reynolds — have played major heroes on both sides. But Gunn actually has a foothold behind the camera as well. Having directed both Guardians of the Galaxy films, Gunn moved on to The Suicide Squad and will then return to Marvel for Guardians Vol. 3.

We’re still not sure a DC Versus Marvel movie would entirely work. Yet, it’s certainly a fun idea to think about. Maybe if the two companies can bond over their appreciation for Gunn’s films, he can take a crack at the project himself. That we’d pay to see.