Make no mistake: “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn is a huge fan of Marvel Comics’ Howard the Duck. But the 1986 film of the same name? Not so much. During an interview with Yahoo! Movies, Gunn revealed exactly how he feels about George Lucas’ incarnation of the character.
“I’m a huge Howard the Duck fan,” Gunn shared. “For people who don’t know, I’m a huge Marvel Comics fan. But Howard the Duck was maybe my favorite character as a kid. I loved the Steve Gerber ‘Howard the Duck.’ I went back and I collected all of those comics, I had every comic he was ever in.”
Howard was, of course, co-created by Gerber and Val Mayerik. The character debuted in 1973’s “Adventure Into Fear” #19 and rose to popularity for several of the following years. He has stuck around Marvel Comics ever since and recently starred in a solo series by Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones.
As to the “Howard the Duck” film, which was produced by Lucas, Gunn was less-than-thrilled with the final product. “I was young and I went so excited about it,” Gunn recalled, adding, “I wasn’t hip with the Caucasian eyelids. That upset me. Because they had the puppet, and it was a duck, and instead of having feathery or white eyelids, he had Caucasian eyelids and it was creepy.”
Asked if the film’s bad reputation is overblown, Gunn didn’t beat around the bush: “No, that movie sucks! That movie’s terrible!”
Nevertheless, Gunn wasn’t shy about bringing Howard to the big screen himself. Howard the Duck appeared in an after-credits scene in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which Gunn co-wrote and directed. The character made his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in the Collector’s menagerie; following the explosion caused by the Infinity Stone, Howard was freed from whatever case he had been trapped in. Voiced by “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” alum Seth Green, he even has a brief interaction with the Collector and Cosmo.
Written and directed by James Gunn, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, and franchise newcomer, Kurt Russell, who plays Star-Lord’s father Ego, the Living Planet. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” arrives in theaters May 5.