Ever since Director James Gunn’s historic offending on social media first came to light, things seemed to have continually gone from bad to worse for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Amidst allegations of yet further misconduct by Gunn, an argument over the use of the script he had penned for the project and a groundswell of revolution from the movie’s principal cast, the Marvel three-quel simply doesn’t seem to have been able to catch a break. Well, now it seems the inevitable has finally happened, with reports emerging this week that Marvel have now taken the step of cancelling pre-production and shelving the movie.
Despite the hopes and dreams of a significant majority of Marvel fans and employees, every small chance that Gunn might return to the franchise has been swiftly and brutally sniffed out by the studio execs. At first it seemed that the beleaguered film-maker’s immediate unconditional apology and sterling track-record might see him thrown a lifeline. Rumors emerged that studio supremo Kevin Feige had come forward to fight his corner, and cast members such as Dave Bautista had threatened to quit the franchise.
But then historic pictures emerged of Gunn attending a pedophilia-themed Halloween party. On its own, this act alone would have had the potential to be shrugged off as merely poor taste. Added to the sexually violent and explicit phrasing of Gunn’s texts, the doors to working on Disney’s biggest family franchise closed forever. So what would happen next?
With Marvel apparently refusing to use Gunn’s script, wanting to remove all trace of him from the movie, as well as a cast and crew in full-on mutiny, THR are now reporting that all crew members working on the movie’s pre-production have been dismissed, and are free to seek work elsewhere. It’s not clear at this stage if this means the movie is shelved for the foreseeable future, or just until the company can fine a new Director that fits the material – which will be no easy task.
Despite fans clamoring for an existing Marvel Director such as Taika Waititi, Jon Favreau or the Russo brothers to take over the movie, all appear to have distanced themselves from the debacle, seeming to suggest some solidarity for Gunn. Daredevil director Steven DeKnight has gone even further, angrily taking his name out of the running. So if not an existing MCU director, then who?
The comedic and retro nature of the material really limits the field to a very small number of Hollywood helmers, and there are existing issues with the majority of these names. Edgar Wright has already been fired by Marvel once, and is now being linked to the next Bond movie. Phil Lord and Chris Miller were also thrown off another Disney Project, the Star Wars Solo movie.
It seems the high standards that The House of Mouse imposes on their employees may have come back to bite them in the ass, realistically leaving Deadpool director Tim Miller and Anchorman creator Adam McKay on the table.
We’ll be sure to keep you posted on any future updates with the film, but get ready to expect Doctor Strange 2 instead of GOTG3.