In the continuous wake of the James Gunn exit from the MCU, Disney has confirmed that production for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has been pushed back to February of 2021. As the search for a new director–and potentially a new writer–trudges forward, Disney has made it clear they’re not going to rush into anything too serious too soon. It’s a solid relationship model, for what it’s worth.
Even as Gunn has moved on to *grimaces* Suicide Squad 2, Disney retained his script to the third installment and, as all accounts report, are still planning to use it. Finding someone to take over directorship on short notice (production was supposed to start early 2019) is a tall task. While a quick switch worked for Solo: A Star Wars Story, Disney is opting to instead give themselves some time, allowing them to vet their options and, if needed, create a new script.
Regardless of one’s thoughts on Gunn as a person, his foray into the MCU with Guardians of the Galaxy produced a surprisingly positive response for a group of superheroes many casual fans knew little about. The connection between story and cast quickly catapulted GotG to the top of the fan favorite list.
Besides a director, Disney still needs to work out the Dave Bautista threat. The actor has been steadfast in his support of Gunn, and even as it became more and more clear Gunn would not be returning, Bautista never backtracked. The delayed production also allows Disney some wound-healing time to try and work things out with the actor. If Bautista remains true to his word, however, the studio will be looking for a new actor on top of their director search. Bautista made it clear he may be done with Disney, but perhaps a larger paycheck might convince him to stay. In the meantime, with a suddenly open schedule on his hands, Bautista teased a possible return to the WWE.
One of the more curious aspects of the delay is how it may affect the MCU as a whole. As the movies are more intertwined than ever largely in part to the multiple Wars, one wonders if the delay will have a butterfly effect on other projects and stories. With next spring’s Avengers 4 (how do we still not have a title for it?) in post-production, Disney may have to issue some additional reshoots to better align where they want the Guardians’ narrative to end up as they slide into the third installment.
The enormity of the MCU has grown beyond expectations, and with it, the necessity to prevent it from slipping into the muck and the mire it’s most obvious competition has been trudging through. Disney is going to be picky with their choice, as well they should. While there don’t seem to be any early frontrunners, it’s been reported that Bradley Cooper was approached about the possibility of directing. Given his involvement as the jack-of-all-trades Rocket Racoon and his newly released directorial debut with A Star Is Born, the fit seemed to be there. Cooper, on the other hand, felt differently, saying as much when he made it clear that he wouldn’t direct anything he didn’t write. So GotG with Gunn’s script? Not gonna happen. Give him the opportunity to rewrite it under his own terms? Maybe there’s a chance.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was originally slated for theatrical release in 2020, so will Disney fill its slot? Currently, there’s no projected timeline for a second Black Panther or Doctor Strange installment. Kevin Feige has confirmed a second Strange is forthcoming, and Ryan Coogler is rumored to return for the Black Panther sequel. How it will fit in story-wise is something Disney will have to flesh out if they do take that route. Good thing they have two years to figure it out.
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 delayed [Pursue News]