Despite an open letter of support from the entire Guardians of the Galaxy cast, it appears that Disney is in no hurry to rehire James Gunn as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Continuing a previous report which suggested Disney executives were recalcitrant about even meeting with Gunn, Variety now reports that Alan Horn, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, has given Gunn a meeting as a “courtesy” before relaying that the decision to separate the Mouse House with the director who led its obscure property to $1.6 billion is final.
According to the trade, Horn met with Gunn only to “clear the air” about why he made what many, including the Guardians of the Galaxy cast, deemed a kneejerk reaction to fire the filmmaker within hours of gross and offensive jokes from years ago being unearthed by a politically motivated social media campaign. Upon firing Gunn, Horn called the tweets “indefensible,” and to be sure Gunn refused to defend them, claiming in an apology that he is a changed man and troubled by his failed attempts at being a provocateur (something his cast has come to defend him on). Apparently Feige was not at the meeting due to being “out of town.” And despite previous reports from multiple publications saying Feige was lobbying for Gunn’s reinstatement, the unnamed sources in the Mouse House purport that Feige is wholly on board with the company line of keeping Gunn banished from the Magical Kingdom.
As a consequence, when Feige apparently returns from his fortuitously timed trip, the search will be on to immediately find a director for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, especially since the movie is still slated to begin production in early 2019 and is purported to still be working from Gunn’s screenplay. Additionally, whoever they find will have a lot of soothsaying to do, given the likes of Guardians star Dave Bautista has called working for Disney after the caving to “cybernazis” to be “nauseating.”
The tweets that caused Gunn to be fired were neither hidden or deleted, and Gunn had apologized for similar material in the past, so it seems unlikely that the studio was unaware of them. And while it’s rare to see an entire cast make such pointed support of an ousted director, especially with the all powerful Disney/Marvel Studios juggernaut, they’re still under contract, and wield little actual power.
None of this should come as a surprise to anyone. While Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is still technically slated to begin filming early next year, Disney appears to be willing to take its time and find the right director. Fans immediately speculated that Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi would be a good fit, or the Russo Brothers, who will have time on their hands once Avengers 4 arrives. But Variety‘s sources expect that the studio will look have to look elsewhere, as the expected names all have prior commitments.
Gunn probably had more creative control over his wing of the Marvel Cinematic Universe than any director in Marvel Studios’ history. He had already done extensive work on the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 script, and even without him in the director’s chair, a chunk of that would seem likely to make it to the screen. But with no release date ever set for the movie, and with Marvel happily playing their future franchise plans close to the vest in the wake of Avengers: Infinity War, there doesn’t seem to be any hurry.
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