Nathan Fillion and James Gunn have had a long history. He was the star in the first film Gunn ever directed, the deliciously grotesque Slither. He also has appeared in every film since then, including as the voice of a digital prison punk in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Yet he is nowhere to be seen in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the box office-crushing Marvel Studios extravaganza.
Now James Gunn has taken to Facebook to come clean on why Fillion, a space opera icon in his own right after Firefly, was not boarded in the final version of Vol. 2. Once again, Gunn confirms that Fillion actually was going to play a relatively important bush league superhero from the Marvel comics universe, Simon Williams/Wonder Man. And while the actual scene that would have constituted a bevy of posters of Simon Williams films got cut, the director still considers it canon—and keeps the flame of hope alive we may see Wonder Man yet in a major role within the MCU.
As many of you know one of my best friends in the world is Nathan Fillion. Along with Michael Rooker and Gregg Henry he’s been in every movie I’ve directed – even as a monstrous, perverted voice in Guardians of the Galaxy. I didn’t have a good cameo for him in Vol. 2 – and I wanted to bring him more fully into the MCU at some point, so I didn’t want to make him Aakon Guard #2, narrowing his chance of a more substantial role in the future. I really do love the character of Simon Williams/Wonder Man in the comics – a sometimes douchey actor/superhero – and could see Nathan clearly in that role (not because he’s a douchebag but because he’s great at playing one). But, of course, in a movie set 99.9% in space I didn’t really have a place for him. So in a small flash to earth I decided to put a theater playing a “Simon Williams Film Festival,” with six Simon Williams movie posters outside. Obviously, from the posters, he’s had a run of B movies. Most of them in themselves are Easter eggs of some sort or another. Unfortunately, the small section of the scene where they appeared slowed down the movie and I had to cut the Easter eggs from the film (along with storefronts named after comic book luminaries Starlin, Mantlos, Annett and others). Equally a bummer was that a lot of people took photos of these posters on the day so suddenly every fan site was reporting that Nathan was playing Wonder Man in he movie. He was even the third-billed actor on IMDB!
So that’s the full story. Nathan’s only cameo in the movie ever were these posters. I’ll post them all over the next few days.
And, yes, I think we can consider them canon for the MCU, and I hold onto hope that Simon Williams will rise again!!
In that vein, here is one of those posters, which is clearly a parody of Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs, which starred Michael Fassbender as the late Apple genius. In the MCU, it would appear that Tony Stark would get the same treatment.