James Gunn Reveals His Dislike of 1986's 'Howard the Duck': "That Movie Sucks"

The 'Guardians of the Galaxy' director doesn't mince words when it comes to the Lucasfilm version of the Marvel character.
Courtesy of Marvel
Howard the Duck (1986)

Writer/director James Gunn planted an homage to one of his favorite Marvel characters, Howard the Duck, in the after-credits scene in 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy.

That appearance of the avian comic character was not his first on film, however, as Howard the Duck starred in his own feature length film in 1986 from Lucasfilm. The film was a notorious flop and, even worse, riled up fans of the character who felt his representation on the big screen was nothing like how he appeared on the page. 

One such disappointed fan was a young Gunn, who opened up about his experience seeing the film for the first time in a recent interview with Yahoo Movies. "I was young and I went so excited about it," Gunn recalled, only to immediately describe his distaste for the movie. "That movie sucks!” he said. “That movie’s terrible!”

“I wasn’t hip with the Caucasian eyelids," Gunn continued, recalling the bizarre prosthetic work used to create the character onscreen. "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.”

Gunn created a bit of a stir when fans caught a glimpse of the character, fully rendered in CGI, at the end of Guardians, sipping a cocktail while cracking wise with Benicio Del Toro's Collector character. Rumors immediately circulated of a reboot for the much-beloved Marvel character, one that Gunn himself considers one of his favorites. 

"I’m a huge Howard the Duck fan,” Gunn said. “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 went back and I collected all of those comics, I had every comic he was ever in.”

Is a Gunn-directed feature film centered around the character coming down the pipeline? No word from the helmer, but given his recent success making a blockbuster franchise out of Marvel's lesser-known Guardians of the Galaxy, and his apparent hatred of the '80s film, never say never.

For more on Howard the Duck, here's an wonderful Decider oral history of the movie.