James Gunn will not be rehired as the director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Gunn has been an instrumental voice in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the last several years, as he turned the obscure Guardians of the Galaxy property into a massive hit. He was set to be the first director to complete a trilogy, prior to him being fired due to resurfaced tweets. Although Disney acted quick, their decision has not been without controversy, including a growing push for Gunn to be brought back.
There have been several different reports since about the possibility of Gunn being rehired. The conflicting nature of the reports made it difficult to sort out what exactly Gunn's true chances were of returning to the gig. After meeting with the Disney executive who made the statement announcing Gunn's dismissal, he won't be coming back after all.
Variety reports that Disney chairman Alan Horn is standing by his original decision to fire Gunn as the director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and has elected to not rehire him for the film. The decision comes after a courtesy meeting between the two that was reportedly civil, but failed to change Horn's mind. The report also notes that Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige, while not able to attend the meeting, fully supports the decision.
With Gunn's future possibility of returning to direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 now nonexistent, its time for everyone to move on to what comes next. As previously reported, Gunn's script is still going to be used for the third film, so his story will largely remain. This report does note that a polish of his script is expected to happen after a replacement director is named, so some tweaks could come further down the road.
As for Gunn's eventual successor, there's still no word on who could possibly take over. There will be an enormous amount of pressure on whoever lands the job, but hopefully the cast and fans will embrace the new voice. Once Feige is back in town, Marvel Studios and Disney will continue the director search. Earlier reports noted trusted MCU names like Taika Waititi, Jon Favreau, and the Russo brothers will likely be approached, but none are expected to take the job due to prior commitments.
Depending on when a replacement is named, then the production timeline for Guardians 3 can be sorted out. Prior to Gunn's firing, the film was on track to start production in early 2019. There's currently no word on if Marvel plans to push that start date back, which could prove to be a difficult move based on the in-demand cast members' busy schedules. Lucky for Marvel, they can push the film back as far as they want and never officially delay it, since they've yet to announce the Phase 4 release slate. Whenever Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 does hit theaters, fans now know that Gunn won't be listed as the film's director.
- 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 05, 2019