Due to the unearthing of years-old tweets containing all sorts of obscene and gross jokes by James Gunn, the Guardians of the Galaxy is now without a central figure at the helm. There’s no denying that Gunn had a huge part in the development of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it today, but assuming Disney doesn't reverse course and rehire him, where does it go now?
Gunn took characters that were essentially nobodies in the Marvel Comics mythos and turned them into one of Marvel Studios’ biggest franchises. His loss leaves Marvel Studios with big shoes to fill, but here are seven people we think could fill them.
Easily the safest name on this list belongs to Taika Waititi, the director behind Thor: Ragnarok. Waititi took a franchise featuring two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s lowest-regarded movies in Thor and Thor: The Dark World and made a third entry that most would say completely redeemed the franchise.
Ragnarok was beautifully shot and the entire film looked as if it were a comic drawn by Jack Kirby himself. And that humor! Waititi’s signature humor fits perfectly with the comedic undertones Gunn has laid in the first two movies and with him at the helm for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Marvel Studios is sure to take a monstrous check home from the box office.
I know what you’re saying right now. “But Adam, Nicole Perlman has never directed a movie before!” I know that, I really do. But outside of guys like Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, I’m not sure there’s another person on the planet that understand the characters in the Guardians franchise as much as Perlman.
She largely wrote the script to the first Guardians flick herself before Gunn boarded the project and added contributions. She also penned the first script for Captain Marvel alongside Meg LeFauve. And she wrote a killer Gamora comics mini-series for the House of Ideas — seriously, you should check it out if you haven’t already.
Marvel Studios hasn't always been a movie house to bring in big-time, A-list Hollywood directors, and since Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was supposed to start shooting as early as this Fall, Perlman could easily be a quick replacement.
Bird’s latest release — The Incredibles 2 — is one of the biggest movies Disney’s Pixar has ever released. Between his work on both Incredibles movies, Ratatouille, and The Iron Giant, Bird has been able to inject a serious amount of heart into his animated movies. And that’s going to be something Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is going to need in a post-Avengers 4 world.
Animated movies aside, Bird’s first live-action movie — Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol — is widely regarded as the best movie in the popular Ethan Hunt franchise and goes to show he has the chops to direct big-time blockbusters.
Another one of the most popular choices on the list is Ant-Man writer Adam McKay. McKay, the former head writer on Saturday Night Live, has created some of the more memorable comedy movies of the past few decades including Step Brothers and the Anchorman franchise.
At one point, Marvel had reportedly approached him about directing the first Ant-Man in addition to writing it, but McKay turned that opportunity down. On the press tour for Avengers: Age of Ultron, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige even went the length of saying that McKay is “in the running for everything.”
Again, with the comedic undertones of the Guardians franchise, McKay would be a super safe hire to carry over the franchise’s tone.
Kelly Fremon Craig — the woman behind The Edge of Seventeen — is another writer and director who’d be able to adequately produce a comedic Guardians movies while injecting that much-needed heart into the film.
Although The Edge of Seventeen was far from a Marvel Studios blockbuster, Fremon Craig’s take on the Guardians could be super interesting. For the better part of two movies, the Guardians franchise isn't just about comedy — it's about taking a group a losers and turning them into lovable losers.
Through two movies, we've fallen in love with a talking raccoon and walking tree, and that's an aspect of the franchise that I think Fremon Craig could nail on the head. While the signature look of the Guardians consists of comedy, it often times would end up being borderline-trashy humor without any of the character depth beneath it.
After winning an Oscar for his directorial debut Get Out, funnyman Jordan Peele’s clout in Hollywood is larger than ever before. Since he’s actively working on another horror movie named Us — which coincidentally features the MCU’s Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke – it’s a long shot that Marvel Studios would be able to get him for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3… or any Marvel Cinematic Universe property, for that matter.
Needless to say, Peele helming a comedic movie in the MCU would likely end up pure gold, so we can continue to hope and wish, right?
Yeah, I said it — I think adding Rian Johnson to the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise would be a great fit. I’m one of the few — according to Twitter, at least — who thoroughly enjoyed Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
It added a fresh new take on a decades-old franchise and quite frankly, a fresh new take on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 might be what Marvel Studios is looking for after this James Gunn scandal.
On the surface, the Guardians franchise was built on a set of characters who were virtually unknown prior to the first movie debuted in 2014. With what Johnson did with The Last Jedi, he added a breath of fresh air while staying true to much of the Star Wars franchise. I mean at the very least, Johnson at the helm would ensure people are talking about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.