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It's been a rough few weeks for Marvel and Disney. After Disney fired James Gunn for jokes he made about pedophilia and sexual assault 10 years ago, defenders of Gunn quickly rose to action. Since then a number of fans, actors, and creatives have come forward to support Gunn, resulting in some celebs quitting Twitter and even a petition to rehire him as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Most notably, the entire cast of the Guardians movies issued a joint statement in support of Gunn. It's unclear exactly what will happen moving forward, but whether or not Disney decides to undo its decision, Vol. 3 should be delayed.
While Disney has issued its statement over the firing, Marvel has kept especially quiet on the matter. That includes announcing the status of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which was set to go into production this fall. That date seems unrealistic right now, but it wouldn't be the first time that Marvel has thrown in a lastminute replacement to get the movie to its release date. It's likely that Marvel is still trying to figure out the best course of action, but for what it's worth, there are a number of reasons why pushing back Vol. 3 from its original release date is the best thing they can do.
It Might Need To Start From Scratch
James Gunn has been updating fans on the writing progress of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and according to the latest information, Gunn had completed the script before he was fired. However, it's not entirely clear if Marvel is going to use that scrip,t or if they are allowed. It's doubtful that Gunn owns the script he wrote and Marvel can probably do whatever they want with it, but there might be Writers Guild rules that throw a wrench into the works. For what it's worth, portions of Ant-Man had to be rewritten and new scenes were added after Edgar Wright left, but that might have been because that's what the movie needed as opposed to a legal requirement. There's also the chance that they might need to do a complete rewrite, assuming that they don't like the early draft or they bring on a new writer who wants to make it his own. If the script does need to be rewritten, that's barely any time at all before the fall production date.
James Gunn Is Really Hard To Replace
Arguably more than any other franchise in the MCU, Guardians of the Galaxy is the voice of its director. These movies are his brainchild and James Gunn's take on the team is so powerful that Marvel Comics has basically just copy and pasted his work into new Guardians books. Gunn's fingerprints are all over the movies, from the quirky humor right down to the Awesome Mix volumes that have become inseparable from the franchise. He puts a lot of himself into his work, and that makes it extremely hard to find a replacement. It's easy to see a new director trying to copy what Gunn did and falling short, resulting in a lackluster entry. On the other hand, they could get a director who does his own thing and branches too far from what the franchise is known for. It's easy to say that Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi should take over, but just because someone is funny and weird enough doesn't mean they can direct a Guardians movie. Whoever Marvel does end up hiring better be prepared for endless questions about Awesome Mix Vol. 3, and the like.
Marvel Has Other Sequels To Produce
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has no official release date, but reports have indicated that it is looking to release as early as 2020. Additionally, Marvel has several release dates slated with no attached movie. Vol. 3 is supposed to be one of the earliest movies of Phase 4, but let's not pretend like Marvel is hard up for content. They have loads of movies and sequels that they could run in Vol. 3's time slot. While none of these movies are confirmed, they could easily fill it with Black Panther 2, Doctor Strange 2, Captain Marvel 2, or Ant-Man 3. The Guardians threequel is supposed to help establish the cosmic side of the MCU, but unless Marvel already has some epic plan in place, there doesn't seem to be much reason why Vol. 3 can't afford to be pushed back.
Giving Space Might Help With PR
It's not often that Marvel has to deal with behind-the-scenes controversy (at least publically), and James Gunn's firing is almost certainly the biggest PR nightmare the studio has ever gone through. Should Marvel make a decision about a new director soon, it doesn't seem likely that it will be met with universal positivity. Moving full steam ahead to make a release date as if nothing happened also isn't a very good look. One of the benefits of pushing the release date and taking time finding a director is that it puts space between Gunn's firing and the movie itself. Marvel is in this situation because Disney was quick to make a decision so it makes sense that going slow and letting tempers cool before moving forward.