Following an eight-month period where the film's future was up in the air, James Gunn has officially been reinstated as the director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. However, a new report indicates that Disney and Marvel may not have ever actually started searching for a replacement following his firing.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, insiders claim Marvel and Disney never actually began searching for a replacement in earnest. Rather, they began secret talks to bring Gunn back into the fold. Deadline also reported that "Marvel Studios never met with or considered any other director for Guardians of the Galaxy 3."
Gunn was fired from the film last July after old comments featuring offensive jokes resurfaced. Shortly after Gunn's initial firing, rumors of Marvel approaching Disney for a compromise regarding the director began to surface. However, these rumors were quickly shut down, with Disney reportedly doubling down on its decision to fire Gunn and indefinitely delaying Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 shortly thereafter.
Of course, Marvel fans weren't the only ones upset by this news. The cast of Guardians of the Galaxy even penned an open letter to Disney requesting that Gunn be reinstated. Dave Bautista, who plays Drax, was especially forthright with his opinions on Gunn's firing in particular.
While those attached to the project assured fans that the film would still get made and that Gunn's script would be used, Gunn landed a gig directing Warner Bros.' next Suicide Squad film, which seemed to a lot of fans like confirmation he wouldn't return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe anytime soon. However, this report seems to indicate that plans to have Gunn return have been in the works for awhile.
As of this writing, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 does not have a release date.