Who should replace James Gunn on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3? Gunn has become an immediately-recognized name in recent years, writing and directing the hugely popular Guardians of the Galaxy movies. He's become synonymous with the characters, to the extent that Gunn wrote dialogue for the Guardians for Avengers: Infinity War and next year's Avengers 4. He's recently finished the script for Guardians Vol. 3, which was intended to set up the next decade's worth of Marvel movies. The film was due to begin production early next year, with Marvel aiming for a 2020 release. But all those plans have been shaken by a recent controversy, which has culminated in Gunn's being fired by Disney.
The firing of James Gunn leaves Marvel facing one of their most difficult challenges to date. Assuming the studio want to cut all ties with Gunn, they'll need to have a new script written for the film. But Marvel has been working with Gunn for years, and he's been serving as an adviser on their upcoming cosmic films. That means substantial parts of Marvel's plans for their future slate may spin out of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Fortunately, the studio has been extremely secretive about their post-Avengers 4 ideas, which allows them to pivot without public embarrassment.
Given the success of the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy, replacing Gunn at speed will be a high priority. But that doesn't mean it will be easy; James Gunn has been extremely protective of his characters, meaning none of Marvel's other writers have even penned dialogue for the Guardians. What's more, the speed with which this controversy has developed will have taken Marvel by surprise; they won't have any plans for this eventuality. Just who should Marvel choose as Gunn's replacement?
- This Page: Taika Waititi is the Natural Choice
- Page 2: Who Else Could Replace James Gunn?
Taika Waititi is the Natural Choice
The frontrunner in many eyes is undoubtedly Taika Waititi. Thor: Ragnarok not only proved that Waititi can work well within the Marvel Studios machine, but that as a tentpole filmmaker he has the perfect blend of fantastical style and rich humor. The film was the best performer in the Thor trilogy, grossing over $850 million against a budget of $180 million. Additionally, by all accounts Thor: Ragnarok's cast and crew absolutely loved the experience of working with him, and a friendly face like Waititi's could be ideal for bringing together a cast and crew who've surely been shaken by the loss of James Gunn.
Marvel's recent movies have succeeded in large part because the studio has allowed their directors to push their own vision for the films. The risk with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is that whoever replaces Gunn will be tempted to simply try to copy his approach and style, and as a result their own personality won't infuse the film. Waititi, however, is strong-willed and confident. What's more, he may already have ideas that could be subtly absorbed into Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Chris Hemsworth and Taika Waititi have both talked of wanting to make Thor 4 together, and after his interactions with the space a-holes in Avengers: Infinity War, it's fair to say the Thor of Ragnarok would be a perfect fit with the Guardians.
Of course, it all depends on how much such a radical change would affect Marvel Studios' overarching plans. We have no way of knowing how many other films Marvel is considering that spin out of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which means that the script may be restricted a little more than is usual. This is the problem with the shared universe model; every film is potentially a foundation for the next, and Marvel had a lot riding on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Waititi may not be interested in compromising his vision for Thor and the Hulk by integrating them with the Guardians franchise.
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