The debate surrounding “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3” continues to rage.
Key members of the movie’s cast have published an open letter in which they express their gratitude for James Gunn.
The letter stops short of calling for any particular action. It doesn’t outright say that Gunn should be reinstated as the director of “Guardians Vol 3”. But, it does heavily imply that the team would like to see this happen.
If you please, read the statement written and signed by The Guardians of the Galaxy cast in support of James Gunn’s reinstatement as director of GOTG Volume 3. pic.twitter.com/TjNA9RF6M8
— Zoe Saldana (@zoesaldana) July 30, 2018
Honestly, I’m not sure where I stand on the subject of Gunn coming back to Disney. I’m not eager to overlook his gross tweets, while I also appreciate that people can grow and develop over time (even if Gunn was already 40 years old when he wrote them and can’t exactly blame his attitude on youthful naiveite).
One thing I do think, though, is that there probably shouldn’t be a “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3”.
At least, not in the sense of an official follow-up to the films we’ve already seen.
A Ship Without a Captain
At this point, there’s no way that this movie can turn out without major controversy.
At present, the studio seems to be really dragging their feet in picking a replacement. It’s almost as if they realize they jumped the gun(n) at first and they’re waiting to see how things shake out before committing to anything.
Let’s assume that Gunn is eventually replaced. We get an “Ant-Man” situation. A well known director, considered an auteur by his biggest fans, is switched out for someone who is forced to emulate his distinct tone and style.
The movie will never live up to expectations. People will always pine for the “Guardians Vol 3” that never got made. Disney has to suffer through the first big true failure of the MCU. Even if it makes all the money in the world, it’ll always be thought of as the black sheep of the Marvel pantheon.
So, what about the other alternative? James Gunn comes back to the project, directs “Vol 3”, and everyone is happy, right?
Well, no. First off, there are the people who genuinely are offended, triggered even, by Gunn’s comments and the discovery that Disney knowingly worked with a man who can make light of some very serious and traumatizing crimes.
It’s for these people, I suspect, that the “Guardians” actors are hedging their bets. No matter your opinion on Disney and James Gunn, it would be cruel to overlook the voices of survivors of abuse who have been wounded in the crossfire during this internet shooting match.
But, let’s face it, if Disney actually cared about marginalized voices they’d never have hired Gunn in the first place.
The studio’s hesitancy around rehiring Gunn is more about the damage that will now be done to the reputation of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3”.
Put simply, there’s no way this movie can’t now be associated with Gunn’s tweets. If he makes the movie, all press interviews will feature a discussion of this entire furor. It’s inescapable, and it would set the agenda for all viewings of “Guardians Vol 3” in perpetuity.
Plus, “Volume 3” is meant to start shooting next year. If Gunn and his team have already downed tools, it’ll take a while to get things up and running again.
The Ticking Clock
The MCU is a well-oiled machine, and every second of pre-production time is necessary in order to keep production and editing on track. Even a slight delay cannot be allowed, as it means compromising the quality of the finished film.
This is a big part of the reason why Marvel is succeeding where, say, Warner Bros or Lucasfilm are failing. Marvel’s production schedule is perfectly organized in order to provide the perfect amount of time for each blockbuster that the studio rolls out.
Thus, while “Guardians Vol 3” is currently only two weeks behind schedule, this time is going to add up. Things could go very, very wrong for this movie if Marvel doesn’t get it up and running again as soon as possible.
I get the feeling that everyone at Disney is already aware of this. I think that’s why they’re dragging their feet on hiring a new director or rescinding their previous pink slip.
Considering the timing of the original firing, I still suspect that someone in Disney’s boardroom wants to get the “Guardians” franchise out of the way. James Gunn makes the “Star Wars” brand look bad by association, and I wouldn’t be surprised if “Guardians 3” is cancelled outright solely to make sure the next Lucasfilm space opera isn’t competing against another facet of the Disney diamond.
It’s for these reasons that I won’t be surprised if we never get a “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3”.
Is this a bad thing? I’m not sure. Certainly, I’d rather have no “Volume 3” than a sub-par version of the film.
I get the feeling that, either way, the issue is bigger than Disney simply calling Gunn up and saying that saying that they changed their minds.
We’ll have to wait and see exactly how this all plays out, but don’t be too surprised if the next “Guardians” movie is a wholly new beast rather than anything like the first two movies.