Following James Gunn's firing by Disney last year after old, offensive tweets resurfaced, the rumor mill has been incessant regarding speculation about who could replace him for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. It's a franchise Gunn built from the ground up and, as Marvel Studios' first cosmic foray, it garnered major plaudits for its visual aesthetic and retro soundtrack.
However, rather than reinvent the wheel, the studio already has the perfect director to take over the job in its stable -- and, no, it's not Taika Waititi. In fact, it's none other than the man who launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008, Jon Favreau.
There's no better person than the Iron Man director because he embodies everything the MCU stands for, having actually set the tone for everyone to follow. Not in terms of style, but in terms of narrative and continuing to lay the foundational blocks for what's now become Avengers: Endgame.
Firstly, the Guardians movies mix together action, comedy and, of course, spectacle, something Favreau pulled off so well with Iron Man. He blended all these elements together to kickstart Robert Downey Jr.'s career as Tony Stark, who's undoubtedly become the linchpin of these Marvel movies, something Favreau clearly engineered from the start.
Seeing as the threequel Gunn was supposed to make was going to be a big jumping off point for Phase Four, the studio needs someone who can handle the responsibility and burden of such a huge job. Favreau did it once, so why can't he do it again? It helps Disney avoid backlash, as he's a beloved director whom the industry adores, and this can pacify those still bitter over the handling of the Gunn fiasco.
Let's be real, Gunn's not coming back, so it's best to use a creative who's tried, trusted and proven in terms of track record, and who can build, rebuild or expand the galactic realm. Sure, Iron Man 2 left a lot to be desired, but Favreau's overall portfolio shows he can continue the majesty of the preceding MCU phases.
Look no further than what he's done with The Jungle Book remake, which is steeped in just as much style as it is substance. Not to mention, he'll have cosmic credentials under his belt with Disney+'s The Mandalorian, so he knows a thing or two about space sagas and star wars.
When you combine these with Favreau having laid the template for the likes of Taika Waititi and Peyton Reed to subvert, the likelihood of him being able to pull off almost anything in the MCU wheelhouse only increases. He's so diverse and this is the essence of what drives the Guardians movies.
Now, Gunn had a script down already with his brother, Sean, and it was said Marvel Studios contemplated trying to repurpose it, but Favreau's the ideal person to pull bits and pieces from it; something we can see him accomplishing with Gunn's blessing, while doing his own thing. That's because he knows the MCU's heartbeat inside out, so he knows how to evolve it, or, in this case, repair it.
Most importantly, given his personality, he's not a liability, as he isn't outspoken online or in person. Favreau goes about his business quietly and hits his targets with a pleasant demeanor. He's a company man, yet his filmmaking is visionary and far from safe. He has delivered the goods too, so, honestly, what more could studio president Kevin Feige want in an ally?
Whether it's course correction or steering the ship to newer pastures, Favreau knows a lot about universe building, which is what this particular franchise requires. Without him, it's tough to say we'd have no MCU, but we can all admit it'd look drastically different.
A proactive storyteller is hard to come by, ergo why Gunn's been so difficult to replace, but with Favreau taking this ensemble of superheroes into the deep recesses of space, finding new teammates, exploring new threats post-Thanos... yeah, we'd bet on it being a move that would reap major dividends.