As January comes to a close, so ends the month that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was widely reported to begin principal photography. While many of the planned sequel's cast and crew, including Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, have reiterated that the film will still happen eventually, the loss of original filmmaker James Gunn this past July has delayed the production for the foreseeable future. Gunn was fired by the studio after offensive tweets from his past resurfaced online. The director's termination from the project was confirmed definitively by the studio this past August.
Since then, the status of the planned film has been in a state of flux, especially in regards to replacement directors. Every time a filmmaker is seemingly considered to helm the Marvel Cinematic Universe sequel, they quickly deny any involvement with the film, including Ghostbusters director Paul Feig, Bumblebee director Travis Knight and Rocket Raccoon voice actor and A Star Is Born filmmaker Bradley Cooper. While Vice filmmaker and Ant-Man co-writer Adam McKay confirmed he has at least been approached by Marvel Studios to potentially helm the project, he similarly declined the offer.
Earlier this week, fans approached several directors, including filmmakers previously linked directly to the MCU, about the possibility of directing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, refueling speculation about who could possibly replace Gunn. Among the directors included in the debate were original Ant-Man filmmaker Edgar Wright and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse producers and The LEGO Movie directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord, with Wright and Lord suggesting the best director to replace James Gunn would be... James Gunn himself.
He would be a good fit tonally— Chris Miller (@chrizmillr) January 28, 2019
Even Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi, who had also been included in the fan shortlist to replace Gunn, chimed in with a response himself, similarly suggesting Gunn be brought back into the fold, with Gunn's younger brother Sean Gunn, who provided motion-capture for Rocket and Groot and portrayed Ravager Kraglin in both Guardians films, joining in on the running joke, humorously casting his doubt about his brother's professionalism to be able to replace himself.
The thing is, even though Wright, Miller and Waititi's jokes are good-natured on some level, all three filmmakers are also right. If Marvel Studios is keen to continue the style and tone that made the first two Guardians of the Galaxy films such a success with audiences and critics, Gunn really is the best option to close out the story that he first started with the original film in 2014, despite his problematic past statements.
While Gunn's jokes were absolutely in poor taste and offensive, they were published years ago by (hopefully) a different man. To abruptly and completely sever ties with the filmmaker suggests that concepts such as forgiveness and redemption are no longer viable options in a society that has forgotten the possibility of a second chance. And this isn't an entirely unprecedented move for Marvel Studios regarding Gunn.