The filmmaker signed on to cross the floor and work with DC after he was sacked by Marvel in the wake of distasteful old tweets, which were rediscovered and brought to attention online.
His return to Marvel to helm Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was announced in March 2019, but by then he had agreed to board the sequel to 2016’s critically panned Suicide Squad, taking over from David Ayer.
Gunn has now told Empire that the timeline was even more compressed in private than it was in the public announcements.
Watch: Behind the scenes of The Suicide Squad
“It was a happy ending, but it was also scary, because I actually got the call from [Disney chairman] Alan Horn long before it was announced; it happened literally the day after I agreed to do The Suicide Squad,” said the 54-year-old.
Gunn then contacted Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige to update him on the situation and Feige asked if he was making a Superman film — which Gunn has said he rejected in favour of taking on The Suicide Squad.
The director said that, despite the rivalry between the two studios, Feige has proved adept at keeping quiet about The Suicide Squad secrets.
“Kevin knew who all those characters were for months before we revealed them at DC FanDome,” Gunn said.
“He still knows who the villain is. I think he’s pretty trustworthy with his NDA.”
The Suicide Squad will not be a strict follow-up to Ayer’s 2016 take on the characters, though stars including Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag will show up again.
New additions to the ensemble include John Cena, Idris Elba, Peter Capaldi, Pete Davidson, Flula Borg and Alice Braga.
Read more: John Cena “blown away” by working with Gunn
Jai Courtney is also back in the cast as Captain Boomerang and said the film will wow fans with its oddball approach.
He said: “It’s different, man, but people are gonna have a ball with it. I hope it’s massively successful.”
The Suicide Squad has finished shooting and is due to be released in August 2021.
Watch: Pete Davidson discusses The Suicide Squad experience