UPDATE: James Gunn's brother, Sean Gunn, has confirmed that Marvel still plans to use James Gunn's original script.
James Gunn won't return to direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, but Marvel intends on using a majority of his script. After calling the shots on two successful Guardians installments, Gunn was set to round out a trilogy, but was fired by Disney about a month ago after old, offensive tweets of his resurfaced. The move proved to be highly controversial, with a number of people (including the Guardians cast) voicing their support for Gunn and campaigning for him to be reinstated.
Despite rumors that Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige was Gunn's secret champion, he reportedly now supports the decision, and Gunn won't be brought back. Gunn, of course, also wrote the Guardians movies, and his dismissal caused some to question if Marvel would start from scratch on the script. It's already been said the studio still wants to use Gunn's screenplay, and that continues to be the case.
A report from Variety detailing the latest on the Gunn situation made mention of the search for Gunn's replacement and an update on the script. It is believed Marvel will keep Gunn's script in place (he turned in a first draft prior to being fired), but they will allow whoever comes in an opportunity to "put a polish on it" so they can inject their voice into the sequel.
On the surface, this seems very peculiar. Firing Gunn read as Disney's desire to distance themselves from the filmmaker and his earlier posts, so it'd be reasonable to assume the studio would want a clean break and start over. If they stick with Gunn's script, they will still have to give him a writing or story credit, regardless of what "polishes" someone else provides. This means Gunn's name will in all likelihood remain attached to Vol. 3, which will cause many to wonder why he still isn't calling the shots. Granted, the film was supposed to start shooting early next year, so Marvel may want to do whatever is necessary to keep the production schedule on track. Of course, Phase 4 largely remains up in the air, so it's a fluid enough situation that delaying Guardians 3 (probably) wouldn't set the machine back.
This will all depend greatly on who Marvel hires to replace Gunn and what he or she thinks of the screenplay. In their early days, Marvel earned a bit of a reputation for not being the friendliest towards directors. In recent years, however, that seems to have changed, and they've given the likes of Taika Waititi and Ryan Coogler creative freedom when crafting their MCU installments. Hopefully, whoever comes in for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is afforded the same opportunity and isn't boxed in. This remains one of Marvel's most popular sub-franchises, so there's a lot of pressure to deliver a satisfying conclusion.
- 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