While it seems that the final decision regarding James Gunn and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 may have been made, that doesn't mean that the topic has gone away. People like Dave Bautista still have some very strong opinions about the decision to let Gunn go, and others are still chiming in with thoughts. Most recently Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 star Kurt Russell was asked what he thought of the situation. The actor has also sided with the director, saying that, while he understands the decision, he feels people may be targeting the wrong people. According to Russell...
It's sad. But it's a part of our fabric now, and I get it. But I do think we're getting a little too sensitive on maybe some of the wrong people.
Kurt Russell, like many others, clearly doesn't believe that James Gunn should be punished for his nearly 10-year-old jokes. The actor goes on to tell Variety that Gunn has a "wonderful heart" and that his attempts at humor all those years ago, as unfunny as they seem now, eventually led him to the Guardians of the Galaxy which the world has embraced.
It's a refrain we've heard from others. The entire cast of the Guardians of the Galaxy films signed a letter in support of James Gunn and many have specifically called for his reinstatement as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Unfortunately, it seems like such a decision is unlikely. The film was set to go into production early next year but with Disney apparently not in a hurry to name a replacement, it seems like there's a good chance the project could be delayed.
That is, of course, if it happens at all. Dave Bautista has recently made it clear that, while he will show up for work if he's asked, he won't be happy about it. One certainly wonders if the rest of the cast feels the same. They're all under contracts and so not showing up to make the movie isn't really an option, but if nobody is truly excited about making it, it might be easier to just skip the headache and move on. After all, one expects Disney and Marvel would love for this entire conversation to go away, and if Guardians Vol. 3 is ever released, the topic will certainly come up again.
Of course, to do that could mean completely retooling Phase 4 of the MCU. While the public knows almost nothing about what Marvel Studios has planned, clearly work was being done, and James Gunn was going to be a major producer on that phase of the product. With this relationship now over, a lot is likely to change.