James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is meant to be his last outing with the batch of cosmic Marvel misfits he introduced in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, but it may not be the characters’ final story — at least if you trust the post-credits scenes. It also won’t be his last time working with his brother, Sean Gunn, who plays the space pirate Kraglin (the one who inherited Yondu’s flying whistle-controlled arrow) and provides the on-set body performance for Rocket Raccoon, who’s voiced by Bradley Cooper. The Gunns are already working together on their next project — Creature Commandos, the animated series that will kick off James Gunn’s new DC Universe franchise lineup.
“I’m very excited about Creature Commandos,” Sean told Polygon in a recent interview. “I love the scripts. I’m about halfway through recording my part of it. I played two roles again. James loves to give me two roles in things, which, I’m not going to complain.”
Creature Commandos, which James is writing, is yet another misfits team-up story in the same continuum as his 2021 movie The Suicide Squad, its TV sequel Peacemaker, and the planned series Waller, which is set to follow the further adventures of Amanda Waller (played by Viola Davis), the controlling agent behind the Suicide Squad’s various incarnations. But unlike all those franchise installments, Creature Commandos will be animated, and will send various monstrous DC characters on missions together, once again under Amanda Waller’s command. Gunn will play Weasel, as he did in The Suicide Squad, and another new character: G.I. Robot.
“[G.I. Robot] who is really just a robot with only one raison d’etre, which is to kill Nazis,” Gunn says. “He hates Nazis. Which… magnificent! Who doesn’t hate Nazis? It’s been really fun, and we’re in the middle of it. We’re recording, and I’m going to go back into the booth next week.”
There have been a number of different DC incarnations of the G.I. Robot character since the early 1960s, and it isn’t immediately clear which version, if any, James Gunn is drawing from for the scripts. Not that it necessarily matters, given how much of a personal stamp he’s put on the DC and Marvel characters in his movies, most recently including a radically new take on Adam Warlock. Sean says his performance isn’t drawn from the comics anyway: While he likes to go back and read the comics appearances of his characters after a project is over, he doesn’t want to engage with them beforehand.
“I tend to stay away from [source comics] a little bit — I’ll go back to the source after the fact,” he says. “When we do things on screen, it’s almost like a new line [between versions of a character]. I tend to try to just stay in what it is that we’re doing, and then I’ll go put it into more context later.”
As to his performance as Weasel in The Suicide Squad (where he also played Calendar Man, in keeping with that double-casting habit he mentioned), there isn’t a lot of depth to the character in the movie — he’s an incoherent, shrieking, bug-eyed beastie who serves as one of the weirder running gags in a movie that’s already packed with them. But he promises we’ll finally dig deeper into the character in this new project.
“We will learn more about Weasel in Creature Commandos,” he says, laughing. “If he seems like a giant enigma… we’re gonna get to dig in a little deeper.”
Whether he’s playing a gibbering monster-man, the quirky Kirk Gleason on Gilmore Girls, or a sad, sentient, tech-genius raccoon, Gunn says he approaches every kind of acting with a similar philosophy.
“You have to suit your preparation to the character, so they’re always going to be a little bit different,” he says. “I’ve been acting my whole life, so I would be lying if I didn’t say that I like it when it’s my face and voice on screen — I probably feel a little more affection to Kraglin than the Weasel. But I don’t approach the work differently. I don’t prepare for it any differently.
“My job is to see the world through the eyes of whatever character I’m playing, and to understand their point of view and what they’re thinking about when they’re not talking, and what they would say if they needed to say more, and just kind of understand who they are from their perspective. And that remains the same no matter who the character is. Sometimes that job is a little more simplistic than it is at other times, but that part of the job remains the same.”
Creature Commandos is planned for a 2024 premiere on HBO Max.