Obituary Mix-Up: Gunn’s Not Dead!
After Deadline posted an obituary for science fiction author James E. Gunn on February 12th, director James Gunn (the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy, Slither, and the upcoming Suicide Squad reboot) was forced to take to Twitter to confirm that the the article did not refer to him.
For the record, I’ve gotten dozens of messages from close friends & relatives who read this headline quickly & freaked out. I am alive. Different James Gunn – may he Rest in Peace. (But, @DEADLINE, you might have considered wording this differently). https://t.co/etdcTB1h4o
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) February 13, 2021
According to the Tweet posted by James Gunn, he received dozens of messages from friends and relatives who were confused by the Deadline report and thought that he might have passed away, not James E. Gunn.
Who’s the Prolific Science Fiction Author James E. Gunn?
The Deadline article is actually an obituary for James E. Gunn, a prolific science fiction author who passed in December 2020. He was responsible for founding the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas, where he also taught. In fact, it was the University of Kansas that announced that James E. Gunn had passed away at the age of 97.
The late James E. Gunn had a prolific career. He wrote the 1962 novel The Immortals, which was adapted into both a TV movie (1969) and a TV series (1970-71). And in 1972, his novel The Listeners was published, which Carl Sagan described as one of the best portrays of contact with extraterrestrials in fiction.
The Namesakes: They Were Aware of Each Other
In addition to Tweeting that he was still alive, director James Gunn even included a photograph as proof of life, and also remembering the late science fiction author. Coincidentally, the late author also appreciated James Gunn’s work on the Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy film.
In a 2017 interview with Paul Semel he even said:
I like to think that he shares his name with me. Certainly, the world makes me aware of his existence and his fame. When I was guest of honor at the World Science Fiction Convention in San Antonio in 2013, a fan came up to me with a video of one of my namesake’s films, and wouldn’t believe that I wasn’t the film writer and director.
I saw the first on television — I don’t go to movie theaters anymore — and thought it was great.
James Gunn will also be directing the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which will include Gamora (Zoe Saldana) among the team’s ranks in spite of the fact that her character earned an obituary fair and square in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War. Remember, while death may be a one-way ticket in our universe, that’s not the way things always go in the mighty Marvel multiverse!
Have you ever read any of James E. Gunn’s science fiction novels? Which Guardian of the Galaxy do you hope never gets their own obituary?