Production on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has been put on hold. The future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe received a major shakeup when Disney fired James Gunn as writer and director of Guardians 3. The decision came after controversial tweets resurfaced, and immediately became a major talking point online. Although there was a sense that Gunn could be brought back, Disney is not changing their position. After a meeting with Disney chairman Alan Horn, Gunn will not be rehired as director.
This decision shifts the future of Guardians 3 into the hands of someone new, even if they use the script that Gunn already finished writing. The timeline for a decision was unclear, as the movie was expected to begin production early next year with eyes set on a May 2020 release date – even though Marvel never officially announced that.
That lack of announcement may now be for the better, as THR reports production on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has been put on hold. The decision comes as select crew members were already beginning pre-production steps ahead of an early 2019 shoot, but they’ve been let go and set free to pursue other projects. There is now no timetable on when the film will be put back on track.
With such a major change coming to the franchise, delaying Guardians 3 is probably the smartest move. If Marvel and Disney mandated that the movie film early next year as scheduled, regardless of who’s directing, it would’ve been an obvious sign that this was a money-making, universe-building decision. However, them taking their foot off the gas pedal (even if only briefly) will allow for the dust to settle more and avoid a rushed production schedule. One of THR‘s sources described the move as a “regrouping” for the studio, and putting the film on hold allows for some breathing room in figuring out what comes next.
This could have potentially major ramifications on the rest of Marvel’s Phase 4 lineup though. Prior to Gunn being fired, he described the movie as setting up 10-20 years of MCU adventures. With his script still likely to be used, that setup will still be there – but now it will just come later. If a project like The Eternals was going to get set up through Guardians 3, then that movie could also experience a delay depending on how vital the set up is. That project could still progress naturally, but a Guardians spinoff like Nova or Adam Warlock could now have to wait even longer to see the light of day.
But, if one takes the big picture view out of the equation (which could also mean another film moves quicker to hit the May 2020 slot), a delay is the best thing for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. It gives them more time to find a new director, let frustrations die down, and allow for more separation between Gunn’s firing and what comes next. Ultimately, this could mean that future updates on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 could still be months away, if Marvel slows the project down as is now being reported.