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.