Directors Joe and Anthony Russo confirm their Avengers 4 was not impacted by Marvel Studios' decision to indefinitely delay Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. At one point in time, the third outing for the franchise's popular cosmic team was penciled in as one of the first installments of Phase 4. With James Gunn back at the helm, production was slated to begin in 2019 for a theoretical 2020 bow. Of course, those plans drastically changed when Disney fired Gunn from Guardians over the summer, after old offensive tweets of the filmmaker's were brought back to the limelight.
Though Marvel still has every intention of using Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy 3 script, there's a lot of work to be done before the film can move forward. Finding a replacement director is the top priority, which is why the project was put on hold. In the meantime, it's expected the full Guardians team (including those who were dusted in Infinity War) will return in next year's Avengers 4 - which presumably lays the groundwork for their future adventures. It'd be understandable if one thought some changes were implemented to reflect the new schedule, but that isn't the case.
At a post-Infinity War screening Q&A hosted by Collider, the Russos were asked if they had to alter Avengers 4 in any way because of the Guardians 3 delay. Peter Sciretta of /Film shared the filmmakers' response on Twitter, and you can read it in the space below:
Principal photography on Avengers 4 wrapped in January 2018, well before the Gunn controversy blew up. However, as is customary for big-budget productions, the Russos needed to reconvene for reshoots. Those took place after Gunn's firing, seemingly running from September to October. The filmmakers could have taken the opportunity to implement some story changes here, but that seems highly unlikely. For starters, a majority of the Guardians ensemble appeared to be absent from the reshoots, with only Karen Gillan and Pom Klementeiff seen on set. Plus, since Avengers 4 is huge production with several moving pieces, mixing a few things around could have forced wholesale alterations across the board - which just isn't feasible. By all accounts, it was easier for the Russos to run with what they already had and Marvel will figure out the rest from there.
Since Guardians of the Galaxy 3 was only delayed and not permanently pulled/cancelled, this development isn't surprising. Gunn's sensibilities played a large role in making the obscure comic title a household name, but the sub-series is so lucrative now (last year's Vol. 2 grossed $863.7 million worldwide), Marvel is obviously interested in continuing it and want these characters back on the big screen. It'll be interesting to see where Avengers 4 leaves the team, but fans can rest assured knowing they'll return one day.
Source: Peter Sciretta
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019