Both Peacemaker’s James Gunn and Zack Snyder have been asked about directing a live-action Rick & Morty movie, so what would these projects look like?
While both Zack Snyder and James Gunn have been asked about directing a live-action Rick & Morty movie, the two directors would likely have very different takes on the material. The prospect of a live-action Rick & Morty might be tough to envision, but that has not stopped fans from speculating about the Adult Swim hit’s movie potential. Even though the gory, twisted, and absurd comedy of Rick & Morty could have a tough time translating to the medium of live-action cinema, fans of the show have even gone as far as asking notable directors about their interest in the prospect of shooting a Rick & Morty movie.
In 2021, during an appearance on the Film Junkee Vodka Stream, Justice League director Zack Snyder said he was open to the idea of making a Rick & Morty movie. In 2022, The Suicide Squad helmer James Gunn had a different response when asked about the potential project on Twitter. As a result, fans of Rick & Morty have begun to wonder what a potential live-action feature-length adaptation of the sci-fi comedy series would look like from both famous directors.
As the furor over Zack Snyder’s Justice League cut and the success of Gunn’s work in the MCU prove, both directors are comic book cinema legends. However, although both Gunn and Snyder have been asked about a live-action Rick & Morty movie, their responses couldn’t have been more different. Gunn said he wouldn’t be able to work on the project since he loves the original cartoon series so much, tweeting that “the animated series is just so beautiful & perfect I would never touch it.” In contrast, Snyder said he’d love to make a Rick & Morty movie for the same reason. When asked about the idea of him shooting a comedy, Snyder said “if I did the Rick And Morty movie, that’s probably about the closest I’d get.” So, what would the two very different directors bring to a big-screen iteration of Rick & Morty?
Could A Rick & Morty Movie Work?
Much like South Park will never have a live-action spinoff, Rick & Morty may be too inherently boundary-pushing and surreal to sustain a non-animated movie adaptation. However, where South Park will always be limited by the issue of needing child actors to voice very adult jokes, a live-action Rick & Deathy movie is at least conceivable—particularly when projects like The Suicide Squadtea Dead Pool movies, The Boysand Peacemaker have brought cartoony R-rated violence and pitch-black self-aware comedy to both big and small screen live-action. The Sheer Lunacy of Rick & Morty‘s approach to animated anarchy means it would be a challenge for any filmmaker, but it could be possible if a big name with significant cult appeal was attached to the project—like Zack Snyder or James Gunn.
What Zack Snyder’s Rick & Morty Movie Could Look Like
Although some fans online were skeptical about Snyder’s potential as Rick & Morty‘s live-action director thanks to his history of working on darker, edgy projects, his funnier fare gives an idea of how the project could turn out. Army of the Dead and 2004’s Dawn of the Dead remake (which, ironically, was scripted by Gunn) both have moments of gory comedy that could fit the world of Rick & Mortywhile both his Justice League and watch men have the striking exaggerated color palette of a live-action animated movie. However, the movie’s tone would still be the biggest struggle since Snyder is known for broad, dramatic characters where Rick & Morty‘s characters jump between irony and sincerity from scene to scene.
Would Snyder’s Rick & Morty Movie Work?
If there’s one thing that Snyder is famous for when it comes to character, it is big, sincere drama. From Batman Vs Superman‘s infamous “Martha” moment to watch men‘s equally infamous Leonard Cohen-scored sex scene, Snyder’s movies are full of scenes that wear their heart on their sleeve and (for better or worse) disavow the sort of winking, self-aware irony that many modern superhero blockbusters indulge in. Both Snyder’s successes and failures with critics are rooted in this tendency toward sincerity, which makes the idea of him shooting a Rick & Morty somewhat jarring. After all, persistent cynicism and this self-aware irony is a huge part of Rick & Morty‘s appeal and the show has bounced between ultra-violent action, tragic moments of pathos, and goofy comedy since its pilot episode.
As proven by Rick & Morty‘s season 5 finale cutting from a wordless sequence detailing Rick’s devastating backstory straight to the antihero blithely commenting “yes, dead wife, now everybody can shut up about it,” Rick & Morty is all about mixing irony and sincerity. It is undeniably tough to picture Snyder’s sincere tone finding the right balance for moments like this in live-action. However, the director has managed to bring challenging source material to life onscreen before as proven by watch menmeaning he may be better equipped to capture the right tone for a Rick & Morty movie than his more self-serious outings imply.
What James Gunn’s Rick & Morty Movie Could Look Like
It’s interesting that Gunn vetoed the idea of him helming a Rick & Morty movie since the project would fit right in with his existing CV. While “Rickdependence Spray” didn’t deserve the fan hate that the season 5 episode received, the gross-out comedy and cartoony gore of the episode did bring to mind the shock-value gags of Gunn’s early Troma work. Combine this with the pitch-black, R-rated humor of Great and Slither and Gunn’s style would perfectly fit a live-action Rick & Morty, although visuals may prove a problem. While Gunn has come with The Suicide Squad and Guardians of the Galaxy that he can switch from his grungier roots to high-gloss, high-budget blockbuster filmmaking, even his superhero movies don’t have the same strange, intense (and, admittedly, divisive) striking visuals that Snyder would bring to Rick & Morty‘s movie.
Would Gunn’s Rick & Morty Movie Work?
The financial failure of The Suicide Squad proves that even Gunn’s critically-acclaimed signature style isn’t guaranteed to land with audiences. If one of DCEU’s most profitable properties struggled at the box office under his direction, a cult hit like Rick & Morty would be likely to have even more trouble finding an audience. That said, Guardians of the Galaxy proved that with the right cast, Gunn could turn an essentially forgotten intellectual property into an outsized hit. As a result, there is an argument to be made that a well-loved but less intensely hyped intellectual property like Rick & Morty‘s live-action movie could be the perfect project to bring back Gunn’s blockbuster dominance.
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