Although Disney is reportedly standing by its decision last month to cut ties with writer/director James Gunn, the studio nevertheless is expected to use his recently completed script for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
The entertainment conglomerate surprised many July 20 when it fired Gunn from the upcoming Marvel Studios sequel after years-old offensive tweets about rape and pedophilia made by the filmmaker were unearthed by some of his right-wing detractors. Gunn apologized for the remarks, both before and after his firing, attributing them to a time in his career in which he viewed himself as a provocateur.
According to Variety, although a new director will have to be hired for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Gunn's script is believed to form the basis of the movie. Although the outlet suggests the incoming director "will still need to put a polish on it," the news ties in with earlier reports that Vol. 3 will try to continue as planned with Gunn's story.
It was previously thought that Vol.3 would be Gunn's final chapter with the Guardians before handing the reins to his successor, but let's also not forget the director was supposed to be heading up a cosmic branch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Star-Lord actor Chris Pratt recently admitted "it's not been an easy time" for the Guardians of the Galaxy cast since Gunn's firing. Even with Gunn now gone from Vol.3, the use of his script could be one way to appease the franchise's stars -- Bautista in particular.
With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 originally scheduled to start filming in January 2019, starting from scratch with the script would involve significant delays, not only jeopardizing the sequel's production window but also its place on Marvel's Phase Four slate. That said, there is still no confirmation from Disney regarding the script, and with no director attached, much could change.
Disney has not staked out a release date for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, but it was widely expected to hit theaters in 2020.