James Gunn, the man behind both Guardians of the Galaxy movies, is known for bringing some of the weirdest yet most compelling stories to the big screen, making him a perfect fit for Marvel's current wave of colorful, imaginative movies. However, a sentient tree and a loud-mouthed, gun-slinging raccoon would have looked normal in comparison to what the filmmaker originally wanted to make for Marvel Studios. To be specific, Gunn either wanted to direct a movie featuring two Hulks, or a Marvel adventure that focused on the adventures of a gun-wielding monkey.
Monkey Business: James Gunn's Dream Marvel Movies
Last month, Gunn held a Q&A post on Facebook in order to answer any questions his followers had, including those regarding spoilers. One fan asked Gunn what his dream #Marvel movie was before he signed on to direct Guardians of the Galaxy. The director replied by saying that it was his childhood dream to make a movie for Hit-Monkey and the Red Hulk, who ideally would have gone head-to-head with the Incredible Hulk on the big screen.
Q: Before you filmed any of the GOTG movies, was there one specific superhero movie you wanted to film? Marvel or otherwise? Obviously you are emotionally tied to GOTG but I'm curious if you ever had a childhood superhero dream movie.
A: I wanted to do Hit Monkey. Like REALLY wanted to do it. I was also interested in doing a Hulk/Red Hulk film.
For those who may not know, Hit-Monkey is a hitman who's literally a monkey. First introduced in 2010, Hit-Monkey acquired his particular set of skills after watching an injured hitman recover from his injuries and train to regain his strength.
After the hitman and Hit-Monkey's clan of monkeys were assassinated, Hit-Monkey picked up his deceased mentor's guns and swears to avenge his fallen loved ones by killing all assassins. Hit-Monkey has since gone on to become one of the Marvel universe's most skilled fighters, giving the likes of Deadpool and Bullseye (both of whom are expert mercenaries) a hard time when they became his targets.
The Red Hulk is what happens when General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross decides to fight the Hulk by becoming a gamma-powered monstrosity himself. Born from a similar experiment to the one that turned Banner into the Hulk, the Red Hulk is a foil to the Avenger because he possesses a tactical mind, the physical ability to beat Banner and a better vocabulary.
Red Hulk almost made it into Captain America: Civil War, but the idea was ultimately scrapped by the Russo Brothers. Instead, they simply brought back the general (played by William Hurt) but never hinted at the possibility of his future transformation. This was because Ross's rank was more important to the story than adding another super-powered character to a film that already boasted a huge superhero line-up.
"On our list of priorities, he [General Thaddeus Ross] was there sort of as the government’s agenda and not to add another complicated super powered character to the mix."
The Weirder, The Better
Although a Hit-Monkey movie or an appearance from the Red Hulk may seem unlikely at the moment, the door has yet to be shut on them completely. Equally obscure characters like Howard the Duck (and anyone else from the Guardians of the Galaxy movies) have all made an appearance in the #MCU, meaning it's not impossible for Gunn's chosen characters to make it to the big screen some day.
If Hit-Monkey or Red Hulk debut in a future Marvel Cinematic Universe entry, their presence could bring small yet significant changes to Marvel's ever-expanding universe. Hit-Monkey could give the MCU room to deviate from the usual superhero formula, while Red Hulk could give the Hulk a worthy adversary in a solo-movie.