James Gunn Says Cameos Are One of the ‘ Worst Elements’ Superhero Films
It hasn’t been a great year for DC movies. I mean, maybe you loved Shazam! Fury of the Gods, or The Flash, or Blue Beetle, or all of them. (I thought The Flash was mostly fun until the final 20 minutes or so.) But it’s hard to argue that 2023 has represented a creative peak for the studio. (It objectively was not the commercial peak for the studio. That much is certain.)
The movies DC has released in the last 18 months or so haven’t had much in common with each other, even if they have all shared a cinematic universe — except, perhaps, a fixation on big cameos to help bolster their profile and buzz. (I suppose what follows now might be considered spoilers for these movies. Beware, in case you have been saving Black Adam to watch over the 2023 holiday season for some reason.)
Henry Cavill’s Superman (and Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller) popped up in Black Adam. The Flash had a cavalcade of DC guest stars, both living and dead, concluding with the shocking return of George Clooney’s Bruce Wayne. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman played a comic relief cameo in Fury of the Gods. Really only last summer’s Blue Beetle didn’t have one of these “shocking” returns or teases, which might be a sign that new DC co-CEO James Gunn is taking a more active role in the studio’s productions.
I say that because over on Threads, Gunn recently revealed that he considers cameos — “Cameo Porn,” he calls it — “one of the worst elements of recent superhero films.”
“If a character is in film, they have to have a reason to be there story-wise,” he added.
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Asked to clarify his stance on disliking cameos while working for a company whose business model is built on the idea of characters from one franchises appearing in another, he explained “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.”
So maybe don’t expect to see the new Batman, whoever that winds up being, in Gunn’s Superman: Legacy when it opens in theaters on July 11, 2025. We also have Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom coming later this month; it will be interesting to see whether any other DC alums appear there, despite Gunn’s distaste for cameos.