The sequel to the first two Guardians of the Galaxy films, Vol. 3 will tell the continuing story of the intergalactic “A-Holes” who saved the galaxy from Ronan the Accuser and Ego in previous movies.
It’s expected that the film will deal with the fallout from the upcoming Avengers 4, while also ushering in a more cosmic age for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Vol. 1 and 2 director James Gunn previously suggested that the film could involve the popular comic-book character Adam Warlock (who was teased in the previous movie) and the return of Elisabeth Debicki’s Vol. 2 character Ayesha, as well as providing an “epic conclusion” to the story that would draw this version of the team to a close.
However, recent behind-the-scenes changes may now throw even these details into doubt.
What’s happening with James Gunn?
Well, this is the biggest news around this film at the moment, as James Gunn (writer/director of the first two Guardians films) was sensationally fired from the project after ten-year-old tweets resurfaced in which he made dark jokes related to child abuse and rape.
Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn said in a statement: “The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible.
“[They are] inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him.”
As yet, there’s no word on who could or would replace Gunn in the director’s chair, with the search made all the more challenging due to his close creative involvement with the franchise.
Will James Gunn be rehired to direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?
However, there could be a glimmer of hope for those hoping for Gunn’s return. Deadline reports that back channel conversations are taking place between Marvel and Disney, and that the Marvel team is trying to persuade Disney to find a compromise that allows Gunn to be involved in the movie in some way.
Who could replace James Gunn as director?
A few names have been kicked around as potential replacements for James Gunn, with the likes of Taika Waititi (who directed last year’s Thor: Ragnarok, which had a similar sense of style, humour and space-travel shenanigans as the Guardians films), Brad Bird, Kay Cannon, Michelle Maclaren, Emily Carmichael, Peyton Reed and Matthew Vaughn already being mooted for the top job.
However, given the bad blood around Gunn’s firing and his close creative control over the franchise, it may be that few other directors fancy taking on what could be a poisoned chalice.
Drax the Destroyer star Dave Bautista has been one of Gunn’s staunchest defenders so far, regularly expressing his support for Gunn (and disappointment in Disney for firing him) on his Twitter account, and even threatening to leave the Marvel Cinematic Universe over the incident.
Originally, Bautista said he’d stick with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 as long as Gunn’s script was used (see above), saying he’d do what he was “legally obligated to do” despite the “nauseating” feeling he got from it – but in a more recent interview on the UK’s Jonathan Ross show, he suggested that he might walk away from the project now anyway.
“It’s a bitter-sweet conversation — um, no it’s a bitter-bitter conversation because I’m not really happy with what they’ve done with James Gunn,” Bautista explained on the ITV series.
“They’re putting the movie off,” he added. “It’s on hold indefinitely. To be honest with you I don’t know if I want to work for Disney.”
Who’s in the cast?
While Bautista has threatened to leave the film, it seems unlikely that any other major cast members will walk from the project over Gunn’s firing, especially given the contracts that bind them to the franchise. James Gunn’s brother Sean, who plays the Ravager Kraglin and provides on-set acting for Rocket, may be less likely to come back given his family connection.
With that in mind, fans can probably expect Chris Pratt (Star-Lord), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Bradley Cooper (Rocket Raccoon), Vin Diesel (Groot) and Pom Klementieff (Mantis) to return to their outer-space adventures.
That is, of course, assuming that many of the characters’ deaths in Avengers: Infinity War end up being reversed. By the end of the 2018 blockbuster Star-Lord, Drax, Mantis and Groot had been turned to dust by Thanos (Josh Brolin), while Saldana’s Gamora was thrown to her death off a cliff.
Of the main cast, only Rocket and Nebula were left alive by the end of Infinity War, which would be a fairly stripped-back version of the franchise to say the least.
When will Guardians 3 be released in cinemas?
Originally Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was shooting in early 2019 for a 2020 release date, but after Gunn’s firing the film has been put on hold indefinitely, with pre-production crew dismissed from the set.
At the moment, it’s unclear how long it’ll take for the project to get back on track, if it can at all.
We’ll keep you updated as and when details change about the movie.
Sign up to the Radio Times newsletter for the latest TV and entertainment news