James Gunn can generally be considered the face of the franchise. Guardians of the Galaxy proved to be one of Marvel Studios' greatest successes when it released back in 2014. Audiences were sceptical due to the fact that the characters weren't exactly well-known; could this be the MCU's first slump? It was anything but and has largely influenced much of their output since. Thor: Ragnarok may not have existed if not for Guardians of the Galaxy.
With pressures to follow up the success of the first film, Gunn and the gang got to work on a sequel and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was born. Although not quite the success that its predecessor was, critics and audiences both enjoyed the instalment and found it to be a satisfying follow-up. Safe to say, fans were more than happy to see a third film. Unfortunately, things took a rather sinister turn.
In July 2018, Gunn was relieved of his directorial duties on the proposed sequel due to a series of unearthed offensive tweets. There was an immediate outcry, with some fans arguing against Disney's decision and others feeling that the move was justified. The tweets were definitely insensitive and in very poor taste, but were they just an edgy attempt at shock-comedy from the director's distant past? This looked to be the case as Gunn grew increasingly apologetic.
Since he was banished from the project, news was incredibly scarce. There has been no concrete information regarding the third film's situation, that is, until now. As Empire reports, Gunn has been rehired by Disney to continue his work on the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. He recently issued a tweet, expressing his gratitude:
This has put an end to speculation. For many months, fans have been wondering who would take over Gunn's directorial duties; Adam McKay and Taika Waititi seemed to be the most popular suggestions. In fact, the latter has actually spoken on out on Twitter to comment on Gunn's reinstatement in typically humorous fashion:
What the hell?? I thought I was going to do it!! https://t.co/Emdfiw6Opa— Taika Waititi (@TaikaWaititi) March 15, 2019
The question comes down to this: should James Gunn be allowed to direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3? The debate has already begun, as it seems everyone has strong opinions on the matter. Honestly, it feels like Disney hit a brick wall with the project and reassigned him to it out of desperation. Have they drastically changed their minds about his foolish behaviour? That's unlikely, but they want to please the majority and turn out another successful product. The series definitely could have faltered without him, but will it also suffer as a result of his confirmed role?
It's doubtful. Gunn's offensive comments were idiotic, but they didn't appear to come from a place of hostility. The director has clearly come a long way from those tweets and changed so much as a person and as an artist; such pathetic humour is evidently beneath him now, after all, these tweets were not recent.
Personally, if he's back on board, it just suggests that he shouldn't have been fired in the first place. That's all, really, but it will be interesting to see if any backlash affects the film's reception once it finally rolls around.