James Gunn tried to make a Hitman movie before Guardians of the Galaxy

Cameron Frew
Timothy Olyphant as Hitman

Before he rose to fame with Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn pitched a Hitman movie we’ll never see.

Prior to his MCU debut in 2014, Gunn’s career was wonderfully wacky: he made a name for himself under Troma Entertainment; he wrote the live-action Scooby Doo movie and Dawn of the Dead remake; and he directed Slither and Super.

Meanwhile, the Hitman video franchise first hit consoles with Hitman: Codename 47 in 2000, spawning several sequels, spinoffs, and remakes, as well as two woeful movies.

Once upon a time, Gunn tried to put his stamp on the Hitman world, but it wasn’t meant to be.

James Gunn pitched a Hitman movie before Guardians of the Galaxy

In a tweet, Gunn revealed he pitched a Hitman movie before signing on to direct Guardians of the Galaxy.

“Weeks before I got Guardians I pitched a HITMAN movie,” he wrote.

“The studio really wanted to hire me, but a producer on the project did not. I was bummed then, but thank God, because I would have never been able to do GotG if they had said yes!”

The first attempt at a Hitman movie released back in 2007, simply titled Hitman and starring Timothy Olyphant as Agent 47. It was a financial success, grossing more than $101 million worldwide, but was ripped apart by critics – with the notable exception of Roger Ebert, amazingly.

A sequel was ordered, but Olyphant didn’t want to return, so it became a reboot with Paul Walker set to star. When he died in 2013, Rupert Friend joined the project as his replacement, and Hitman: Agent 47 hit cinemas in 2015.

While attracting even worse reviews than its predecessor, it still amassed $82 million at the box office.

Derek Kolstad, the creator of the John Wick franchise, has been working on a TV adaptation of Hitman since 2017, but there’s been very few updates over the past five years, so fans shouldn’t look forward to that coming out anytime soon.

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About The Author

Cameron is Deputy TV and Movies Editor at Dexerto. He's an action movie aficionado, '80s obsessive, and Oscars enthusiast. He loves Invincible, but he's also a fan of The Boys, the MCU, The Chosen, and much more. You can contact him at cameron.frew@dexerto.com.