"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" — time to say goodbye?

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 dir. James Gunn 2017

The future of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 looks pretty doubtful right about now.

Marvel fans and general audiences agreed that the studio had struck gold with their adaptation of Guardians of the Galaxy. It was one of Marvel Comics’ lesser properties, out of sight from popular culture. Yet, the franchise is now one of the studios’ hottest properties. Perhaps its success comes down to bright tone, intergalactic spectacle and openness to humour; combined, these three made the effort one of the most exciting theatrical experiences of 2014.

The MCU has been associated with humour ever since Iron Man released back in 2008. Robert Downey Jr.’s comedic performance widened the film’s appeal, drawing in crowds who favour comedy over action sequences. It offered the best of both worlds and Guardians of the Galaxy saw them profit from this approach considerably. The ensemble of characters gels so well, with the performers boasting great chemistry to create an engaging atmosphere whenever on screen - even if they’re lounging around cracking wise.

The 2017 sequel - Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - was well-received, although not quite as well as the first, which was embraced by critics and audiences alike. It was never going to meet expectations; after all, the first film had none and perhaps that’s why it was so appreciated. Nevertheless, audiences still admired what they were calling “James Gunn’s vision”. There has arguably been more of an emphasis on Gunn’s involvement with the franchise than there has been on other directors within the MCU and their associated films. So, fans were rather worried about the series’ future when he was stripped of his duties on subsequent instalments.

It looks like Gunn is very close to being announced as the director of DC’s The Suicide Squad, and he is currently penned as the project’s writer. On the other side of the pond, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 remains unhelmed. Thanks to Gunn’s close association with it, it’s likely that the studio is contemplating potential directors very carefully. Who could they possibly announce that would put minds at ease? The best bet would definitely be Taika Waititi, who many consider as the saviour of the Thor franchise for bringing them Thor: Ragnarok. You could say they’re very aligned - other arguments would be Edgar Wright and Adam Green.

If a decision isn’t reached soon, the whole project could potentially dissolve. Empire recently reported that James Gunn’s brother and an actor in the series - Sean Gunn - opened up about the next film at the Captain Marvel premiere. “I feel like we are going to make the third movie,” he said, in conversation with Variety. “I’m excited to make it. I think it’s a disservice to the fans if we didn’t make it and I know the people who worked on the Guardians movies are really a family, and we’re going to come together and make the best movie we can regardless of who’s in charge. I just have this feeling everything’s going to work itself out.”

Although optimistic, it’s not exactly encouraging. A film as big as this needs more than to “work itself out” - such a statement definitely conveys concealed worries. Behind the scenes, the studio was likely in crisis after James Gunn’s departure, and are evidently still searching for a satisfying solution. The best takeaway from such optimism is that those involved are keen to make it; the main questions remains, “how are they going to do that?” It has been some time now and it looks like they’re still unsure. For such a bright franchise, the future looks concerningly bleak.

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