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It's only been about a week since Disney fired writer/director James Gunn, after a series of controversial tweets that ranged as far back as 2009 resurfaced. In the wake of his termination, there's been a lot of talk about whether it was the right thing to do, and where Marvel Studios should go next in terms of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. While there's already a draft of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in the hands of the top brass, there's naturally going to be re-writes required, and a new director would need to be brought on. As a fan, all of those moving pieces have me thinking one, simple solution is the best one when it comes to Volume 3's fate: it shouldn't happen at all.
Yes, the Guardians of the Galaxy series is wildly popular, but its popularity comes from the fact that the films are quintessentially products of James Gunn's sense of humor and perspective. If the Walt Disney Company fired Gunn because of his moral character and code of behavior, then keeping any part of his work in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 would essentially be compromising their decision to remove him from it. If the executives in charge don't want James Gunn's name damaging the marketability of this film, then they should be ready to remove it completely. After all, Gunn's sensibilities are a good majority of what made Guardians franchise the comedic success that it currently is.
Should the studio court someone hypothetically perfect to take the project in a new direction, say Thor: Ragnarok mastermind Taika Waititi, it would be similarly flawed in a two pronged manner. One scenario would probably see Waititi, or anyone else approached who respects James Gunn, would reject the opportunity out of personal courtesy or the sense that they'd be inheriting what's basically a doomed albatross of a project. Of course, it's very likely Disney will want to hire a new director. At that point, they'd have to recreate everything, from soup to nuts, which plays havoc with the rumored (but not confirmed) 2020 release window for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3's launch.
Even if Disney could nail the story without rushing, or somehow do the PR gymnastics that would allow James Gunn's script to be used and keep Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 on track, there's one crucial component that still seems to be in question: the cast of the film seems loyal to Gunn. Actor Dave Bautista is the most vocal of the Guardians cast to have spoken up so far, but messages from Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, and Pom Klementieff have shown up on Twitter, each voicing a degree of support for the director. While you could very easily use the events of Avengers: Infinity War to completely re-structure the Guardians of the Galaxy team,doing so would basically jettison everything that came before it. And this choice would require a new script to be created on the double.
As far as franchise runs go, the Guardians of the Galaxy duology is a solid two film series that really doesn't need to progress under anyone else's auspices. Avengers 4 can close out the current run of the characters involved, and Marvel Studios can be emboldened to reach out further into the Cosmic realm with the foundation of what's already been laid down. Without a third film to sully their reputation, the Guardians can serve as an inspiration for the future, without having to weigh it down with unnecessary baggage. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is known to roll with the punches, and shift things around when the need arises. Canceling Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 lets Disney proceed into its future without having to worry about James Gunn ever again allowing the MCU to push forth into the future with barely a mention of his work. If that's not a clean break, then I don't know what is.