The arrival of Guardians of the Galaxy Christmas Special is our second partial look at James Gunn’s iconic Marvel Studios characters since Avengers Endgame. It’s also the first of a sort of two-part finale leading up to the final movie. However, the new head of Batman has just sneaked the name of the DC hero into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
There are moments in holiday special where the Guardians engage in the battle against the Big Bad of Phase Four: pain. Specifically, Peter Quill mourns the loss of Gamora, doubly painful because the “past” version of him stayed in the future but not with them. He is a funny, cartoonish. Guardians of the Galaxy adventure, but heaviness hangs in the air of Knowhere. The team bought the Celestial head from the Collector (which apparently outlived Thanos) and is remaking it as a place for those displaced after the Blip. However, before Gunn leaves this sandbox to lead the newly named DC Studios, he put Batman in the MCU. Fittingly, he’s an actor bringing the Dark Knight to the House of Ideas, Kevin Bacon, with an “Introduction” credit, no less. But he wasn’t just the man tremors Introduced: It was the idea that DC Comics exists in the reality of the MCU.
How do Batman and DC Comics fit into the MCU?
Technically, this isn’t the first Batman reference in the MCU. In eternal, Gligamesh calls Kingo’s valet Karun “Alfred”, a clear reference to Batman’s butler. Phastos’ son also mentions Superman. However, in a world with “super” people, “Superman” is something people would reasonably come up with on their own. So when Kevin Bacon tries to pretend to be a “real” hero while talking to Drax and Mantis on the way to Knowhere, one of his choices is Batman, who clarifies that he is Bruce Wayne. So how does this work?
Did DC Comics play out in the MCU like it did here, with Joe Shuster, Jerry Siegel, Bill Finger, and Bob Kane creating two of the most important characters in fiction? In the scene where Mantis and Drax are in the Chinese Theater, there are (for obvious real world reasons) no people dressed as DC characters. But if they were so iconic, shouldn’t there be one? Maybe they were conveniently off-screen, or maybe DC Comics started after Wonderful. Captain America had comics during World War II, after all.
Perhaps the DC Comics character died out or was even created after the heroes appeared in the MCU. It makes sense. The narrators are made up of fictional government agents, soldiers, policemen, or any number of real-world professions that make for good heroic action movies. That could even mean there was a movie starring Kevin Bacon called X Men First generation about a team of fictional heroes created after the Cap comics fell out of popularity. And that could be how James Gunn gets his DCU and MCU crossover.
Of course, James Gunn slipped Batman into the MCU – he wants a DC crossover
Even before the DC Studios gig, James Gunn wanted DC and Marvel to crossover. But there are a lot of hurdles, especially considering how the comic book collaborations went. At Reed Tucker’s fight party, the author detailed how disputes over dialogue and fighting nearly derailed the project multiple times. a multiversal Avengers vs. Justice League: Dawn of Money it would also fight an uphill battle not to be the worst kind of committee film. However, since DC Comics exists in the MCU, why can’t Marvel Comics exist in the DC Universe?
With Gunn at the helm of DC Studios, references to Marvel will likely become commonplace. Peacemaker might talk about his “spider-sense” of him, or Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam will say something about people not liking him when he’s angry. Still, if they do establish that Marvel characters exist in the DC Universe, it could work as a cheat crossover. It would not be inconceivable that one or more of the Guardians of the Galaxy The cast appears in a future Gunn DC movie as their character from the movies. Conventional wisdom suggests that Warner Bros. and Disney would never come together. However, that was the same thinking that said Spider-Man would never make it to the MCU. Gunn leaves Marvel Studios with much good will.
For Kevin Bacon’s Batman reference, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is currently streaming on Disney+.