Who Else Could Replace James Gunn?
Assuming Waititi is unable or unwilling, who else could make Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Given the difficulty of this decision, Marvel may choose to go with directors they've recently considered for other projects. One option is Emily Carmichael, who is believed to have been considered for Captain Marvel. Although Carmichael doesn’t have the major filmography of some recent Marvel picks, her short films have received several awards and high critical marks. She's gained experience as a writer of major franchises, including Pacific Rim Uprising and Jurassic World 3. In an interview with Variety, Carmichael stressed that she'd "been really gearing up to doing these tentpole movies my whole life it feels like."
Another option is Michelle MacLaren, whose name was also briefly associated with Captain Marvel. MacLaren was initially director of DC's Wonder Woman before Patty Jenkins took the job, and she's demonstrated her skill with some stunning action scenes on Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones. The director has been working with Chris Pratt on Cowboy Ninja Viking, and the two reportedly have a strong working relationship. So she'd potentially be a great fit for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
Marvel may also consider sticking with directors with a proven history of Marvel movies - top of the list being Peyton Reed, whose whimsical humor would be an almost perfect fit for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Reed already has experience picking up troubled films, taking over on Ant-Man after Edgar Wright left. Unfortunately, Ant-Man & the Wasp's disappointing domestic performance may indicate Reed's style isn't quite resonating with audiences in the way Marvel hoped. It would probably be risky assigning him to a high-profile film like Guardians Vol. 3.
Moving away from these directors, though, Marvel will probably be looking for people who can blend humor and action. Matthew Vaughn is one possibility; although his work on the Kingsman films is hardly the right tone for a Marvel film, it does demonstrate that he can balance the jokes with the pulse-pounding action sequences. He has a history with Marvel superheroes, directing X-Men: First Class. A similar possibility is Jordan Vogt-Roberts, who's known for his humor, but can also direct stylized tentpole films like Kong: Skull Island. Unfortunately, it seems likely Vogt-Roberts's commitments to Metal Gear Solid would rule him out. A third option would be Jennifer Yuh Nelson, a storyboard artist who made her directorial debut with Kung Fu Panda 3. She's broadened out her career in recent years, gaining experience of dramatic live-action productions with Darkest Minds. Finally, Gary Ross would be a safe choice; like all the other names in this list, he has experience with both action and comedy, including with this year's Oceans Eight.
Whoever does take over from James Gunn on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will face a difficult challenge. This isn't your standard Marvel franchise, and could be very important in the future of the MCU. One things for sure, though: Marvel is spoilt for choice.
- 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