[UPDATE: Marvel wants James Gunn to return for a different MCU movie than Guardians 3.]
James Gunn is not expected to be rehired by Disney to direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Gunn became the center of an online controversy following old tweets resurfacing and Disney didn't waste any time in making the decision to remove him from their company. The move itself has been met with equal levels of backlash, as some view Disney's decision to be the correct one, while others are voicing their support to rehire him. As of right now, it has been the latter that has been the bigger discussion.
An online petition to rehire Gunn has crossed over 300,000 signatures, but that's nothing when compared to the nine signatures featured on an open letter of support from the Guardians cast for Gunn. The franchise's ensemble is standing in solidarity to support Gunn and has done everything but actually say they want Gunn to be brought back (most likely, due to contractual restrictions). However, that doesn't appear to be part of Disney's plans.
Variety reports Disney is "not currently planning" to rehire Gunn for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. They still view Gunn's attempts at humor in the resurfaced tweets as inappropriate and don't believe any of the stars will attempt to exit despite their letter of support. Variety also doubled-down on their previous report that Disney's not rushing to make a decision, even though that previous report noted a "growing feeling" that Gunn could be reinstated.
The director situation for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is still in the early stages of being figured out too and there are conflicting reports over Gunn's possible rehiring. Another rumor claimed Disney was going to meet with Gunn about being brought back. Even though that doesn't line up with this latest update, Gunn's potential return will be part of the conversation until someone else is hired to replace him. Some previous reports noted that no final decisions will be made until Bob Iger returns from vacation anyways - so even though Disney may not currently be planning to bring Gunn back, that stance could change.
When it comes to potential replacements, there's yet to be any reported discussions on this either. Variety mentions names like Taika Waititi, Jon Favreau, and even the Russo Brothers could be approached, but all are believed to have other projects lined up that may not allow them to do it. A brand new voice could be the ultimate choice, then.
The timeliness of this decision could come down to Marvel and Disney determining when they want Guardians 3 to hit theaters. Filming is scheduled to begin in early 2019, so a replacement will need to be found relatively soon in order to maintain that schedule. But, if Disney and Marvel decide to push the film back on their unannounced schedule, then they'll have more time to sort this out. Whether or not this ends with Gunn back on the project remains to be seen, but the odds of that happening don't seem favorable right now.
We will bring you more details on the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3/James Gunn situation as they become available.
- 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