James Gunn is most excited to finish Rocket Raccoon's story in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 now that he's been rehired. Marvel Studios selected Gunn to shepherd the cosmic franchise back when he was an indie director, but his work on the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise turned him and the obscure characters into household names. The first two entries in the franchise were wildly successful and Gunn decided to return to write and direct the third installment in 2017. He spent the next year finishing the script and preparing for production to begin, but then Disney fired Gunn after old tweets featuring insensitive attempts at humor resurfaced.
The split between Gunn and Disney looked to be permanent, as Gunn moved on to direct The Suicide Squad for Warner Bros. and DC, while Marvel delayed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 to figure out what to do without him. Ultimately, it was decided that the best decision was to reverse the initial one and Disney made the surprising move to reinstate Gunn as the writer and director earlier this year. The fan-favorite director has still largely stayed off social media and hasn't done much press either, but now he's finally speaking about his return.
In an interview with Deadline that covered the entire firing and rehiring process, Gunn opened up about the difficult experience. He detailed how he had no hard feelings toward Disney for their decision, found support from family, friends, and his Guardians of the Galaxy cast members, and ultimately tried to move on. But, now that he is back onboard the process, the outlet also asked Gunn what he is most excited to see through now that he's been given this second chance - and it is all about Rocket Raccoon.
When you asked me what was saddest for me when I thought it was gone—and anybody at Marvel can tell you—it’s this very strange and attached relationship to Rocket. Rocket is me, he really is, even if that sounds narcissistic. Groot is like my dog. I love Groot in a completely different way. I relate to Rocket and I feel compassion for Rocket, but I also feel like his story has not been completed. He has an arc that started in the first movie, continued into the second and goes through Infinity War and Endgame, and then I was set to really finish that arc in Guardians 3. That was a big loss to me—not being able to finish that story—though I was comforted by the fact that they were still planning to use my script.
Gunn has spoken many times in the past about the connection that he feels to Rocket, who has become one of the best characters in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. He has not only found a family he never thought he could with the Guardians, but has gone on to become one of their leaders. Rocket has dealt with the loss of this family and played a major part in helping Thor in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. After the events of those last two appearances, Gunn's attachment to Rocket sounds like it will translate to him having another big role to play in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and one that wraps up his arc in some fashion.
As central as Rocket could wind up being to the story of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, he will still be one of many characters who Gunn will continue to explore. Avengers: Endgame leaves the Guardians with Mantis, Groot, and Drax back aboard the Benatar and ready for more, as well as Nebula officially taking her place among their ranks. Star-Lord is still the leader of the crew, but his authority could be challenged by Thor, who appears primed to appear in the film too. Meanwhile, the search for Gamora could be one of main focuses of the film, while Gunn is sure to introduce a variety of other new cosmic characters to the mix. All in all, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is shaping up to be quite an exciting film for Phase 4 of the MCU.
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