UPDATE: A new report states Marvel will use James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 script. The rest of this article has been left as it was originally published.
UPDATE 2 : James Gunn's brother, Sean Gunn, has confirmed that Marvel still plans to use James Gunn's original script.
The latest reports suggest Marvel Studios has "tossed out" James Gunn's script for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The film was due to start production in early 2019, ahead of an anticipated 2020 release, but that looks increasingly unlikely.
Gunn was fired by Disney after his political opponents shared a range of offensive tweets he'd made years ago, in which the writer/director made light of rape, pedophilia, 9/11, the Holocaust, and everything in between. Fans have been outraged at the decision, launching a petition that currently has over 370,000 signatures. Actors and celebrities have stood in Gunn's defense, insisting these tweets predated his time with Disney, and that he's grown as a person since then. None have been more outspoken than Guardians of the Galaxy's Dave Bautista, who's accused Disney of caving in to "cybernazis." In spite of this popular support, though, it's become increasingly unlikely that Gunn would be rehired.
Christopher Marc, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Omega Underground, has taken to Twitter to share the latest rumors. Although he stresses these are still rumors, Marc reports sources telling him that "Marvel Studios may have indeed tossed out James Gunn's script for GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL.3." As Marc notes, this news is hardly unexpected, but it does mean there will likely be substantial production delays for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. In a full post on GWW, Marc expanded to report Gunn has been scrubbed as director and screenwriter from Guardians 3, and production on the movie is now listed as TO BE ANNOUNCED.
This causes a lot of problems for Marvel Studios. For one thing, Gunn previously revealed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was intended to "set up the next 10, 20 years of Marvel movies." A delay in production will mean that all Marvel's post-Phase 3 plans will need to be reassessed. Fortunately for Marvel, Kevin Feige has chosen to be extremely secretive about anything releasing after Avengers 4. Viewers have no idea what Marvel had in store, and thus any changes in plans will be behind closed doors.
There are other issues, though. The cast of Guardians of the Galaxy are behind Gunn, issuing a public letter of support. Bautista in particular is clearly furious, openly threatening to quit if Marvel ditches Gunn's script. It's uncertain whether or not he can follow through on this threat, of course, breach of contract in Hollywood is a serious business. But Bautista's vocal statements are creating further controversy over a decision that's proving to be increasingly unpopular. He's ensured that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 remains something of a PR disaster for Disney, and Marvel will have serious concerns about what he may say on promotional tours for next year's Avengers 4.
Marc insists that his report should be treated as only a rumor, but it's hardly an unexpected one. Disney seem determined to cut all ties with Gunn, and that would indeed mean ditching the script - and accepting all the issues that flow from that decision.
- 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