Marvel Studios will reportedly wait a while to get Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 off the ground, as a new report states filming won't begin until 2021. The firing of James Gunn as director of Guardians 3 has sent the project into a state of uncertainty. He won't be returning to direct as many had hoped, but his script is said to be still used. While that is great news for fans of the franchise, it still leaves a massive role that Marvel needs to fill, one they're reportedly in no rush to do.
All of this came as Guardians 3 was gearing up for a February 2019 start of production that would've made it the May 2020 release and truly launch Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Last we heard, Marvel put the project on hold indefinitely as they regrouped. That process appears to still be happening, but they reportedly have a target for the start of production - and its much later than many would've expected.
A new listing by Production Weekly (hat tip PursueNews) lists a February 2021 start of production on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. This comes after the working title of "Hot Christmas" was revealed on the same listing. Since this start date has yet to be confirmed, it is best to treat this as a rumor until additional sources corroborate this possible filming schedule.
If this is Guardians 3's schedule, then it shows how long Marvel is pushing the project to find Gunn's replacement. This could let the situation surrounding his firing cool before moving forward with the sequel. Starting production in 2021 would then put the movie on target for a 2022 release date, so this delay would effectively push back the Guardians' returns by two years - which would be pretty surprising. Instead of helping kick off Phase 4 and beyond, the may instead be tasked with helping wrap up the next Phase. The project getting a working title doesn't exactly line up with this long delay either, but we'll have to wait and see how Guardians 3 ultimately comes together.
Since Gunn's script was said to set up decades of stories for the MCU, pushing Guardians 3 by two years could result in several other projects also being delayed or reworked. Something like The Eternals could've received set up in Gunn's Guardians 3, but now that Chloe Zhao is directing the Jack Kirby property, it will likely start production next year and come out in 2020. Of course, all of these production schedules are subject to change. As of right now, Marvel's schedule could see Doctor Strange 2 film late this year if Benedict Wong is to be believed, then begin Black Widow in early 2019, start Eternals later next year, and then do Black Panther 2 in either late 2019 or early 2020. This puts Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 far off in their plans unless it gains momentum quicker than is currently expected.
- 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