The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been on a serious roll in Phase Three, as every single blockbuster has been a box office and critical success. While the current set of films has largely gone off without a hitch, there is one viral blemish: the departure of James Gunn. After offensive tweets from a decade ago resurfaced this past July, Gunn was promptly fired by Disney-- and only months before production for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was going to begin production.
Considering how much the Guardians franchise is born from James Gunn's perspective, Disney's move to can the director/writer/producer seemingly put the property in jeopardy. How exactly could Guardians 3 function without its visionary leader? One big question has been whether or not the movie would be using Gunn's original draft, and now it seems Chris Pratt has confirmed the blockbuster is. When asked if the script was being used and if he'd read it, Pratt recently revealed:
Do you hear that? It's the sound of countless Marvel fans jumping for joy. While James Gunn won't be hired back to direct the upcoming Guardians threequel, it appears that Marvel Studios is indeed using his script, seemingly preserving his original vision in the process.
Chris Pratt's comments to MTV News answers one of the biggest questions surrounding Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. After James Gunn was fired from the franchise, the Guardians cast wrote a letter in solidarity with their director. Drax actor Dave Bautista was the more irate about the departure, maintaining he wouldn't participate in Guardians 3 if Gunn's original draft wasn't used to craft the story. And now it looks like that campaign succeeded, and the threequel will use that script to wrap up the trilogy of blockbusters.
Since Marvel hasn't released its plans for Phase Four ahead of Avengers: Endgame, it's unclear exactly when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will arrive in theaters. It was original set to be one of the first arrivals after Endgame, presumably hitting theaters a few months after Spider-Man: Far From Home. But shortly after Disney cut ties with James Gunn, the film was put on indefinite hold. As far as we know, there's no new date set, and a director hasn't been found to replace Gunn and complete the story.
You can check out Chris Pratt's comments about the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 script below:
These comments are a relief to most Marvel fans, who have been worried about the precarious future of the Guardians franchise since James Gunn was canned back in July. Out of all the MCU franchises, Guardians of the Galaxy is arguably the most director-driven, as Gunn's sense of humor, taste in music, and dance moves were all incorporated into the first two films. He obviously had a clear path for the story he was hoping to tell in three movies, so Vol. 3 definitely needs at least his script in order to do the project justice, and come through for the fandom.
The Guardians are currently in a precarious place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as Avengers: Infinity War wasn’t very kind to the motley crew of heroes. By the time the film’s runtime had ended, Bradley Cooper’s Rocket Raccoon was the only one left standing.
Gamora died about halfway through Infinity War, so her abusive father could acquire the Soul Stone from Red Skull. The Avengers were split up during the film’s last conflict, but Thanos’ finger snap of death (aka The Decimation) claimed the lives of Star-Lord, Drax, Mantis, and Groot. Fans were left to watch in horror as the quirky group faded away, putting the future of the franchise into question.
Smart money says the dusted characters will eventually be resurrected, but one has to wonder exactly if/how Zoe Saldana’s Gamora will return from the dead. The younger Gamora was briefly seen as Thanos succeeded in his snap, so perhaps her consciousness is not actually dead. That, or the Soul Stone will somehow bring her back during Avengers: Endgame.
It’s unclear if Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is going to be set in the present, or the years between Vol. 2 and when the group eventually ran into Thor (literally) during Infinity War. The first sequel was set back in 2014, shortly after the titular group of misfits became the Guardians. So there are a number of years unaccounted for, where the characters became closer, Mantis truly became a member of the family, and Groot slowly aged into the teenage version we saw on the silver screen.
If the ending of Infinity War remains intact, a prequel would make perfect sense in order to complete the story, while also honoring The Russo Brothers’ bold directing choices. This would also make the characters’ deaths all the more devastating, as their fates were actually sealed. Of course, there’s no telling what James Gunn had planned for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, so only time will tell.
It will be fascinating to watch the development of Guardians 3, now that James Gunn is no longer involved. Marvel Studios has a difficult task ahead of it by trying to find Gunn’s replacement, and a director brave enough to finish the trilogy.
The fandom has put forward quite a few possibilities, with one of the most popular being Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi. While he’s probably got the sense of humor and chops to pull it off, Waititi has shown no interest, maintaining the franchise is still James Gunn’s. A few Marvel writers have recently come forward to echo similar statements, suggesting Gunn should return to finish his franchise.
Although the future of the Guardians franchise is still a mystery, it seems development is moving forward, albeit slowly. Luckily for fans of the group, they’ll be part of Avengers: Endgame in just a few months. Even if just Rocket and Nebula survived The Snap.
CinemaBlend will keep you updated on all things Guardians of the Galaxy and Marvel as details become public. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.
Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.
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