A month after Disney announced that it was parting ways with director James Gunn on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, The Hollywood Reporter claims that the film is being put on hiatus. The film was originally slated to hit theaters in 2020.
According to the outlet, sources revealed "that crew members, at this stage a small group that was prepping for pre-production, are being dismissed and are free to look for new work."
While the film never earned a solid release date, based on Gunn's progress and Marvel Studios' track records of production schedules, the film was likely going into production in early 2019. Pre-production on the film was likely to begin this fall.
One source shared with the outlet that, as opposed to the film being brainstormed from scratch, this delay was more of a "regrouping." With the release date never officially confirmed, it's possible that it could be shifting from a spring release to a fall release.
Another source noted that "the timeline has been pushed out."
The official status of the project has been complicated, with sources claiming Gunn's script was still being used and other sources reporting that Disney and Marvel Studios were even meeting with Gunn to discuss options for the film's future, yet Disney decided to stick by their decision to part ways with the director.
Gunn directed the previous two Guardians of the Galaxy films, which went on to become breakout hits for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The filmmaker was an integral component of defining the cosmic side of the MCU, which likely would have continued with the third film and into other aspects of Phase 4.
Gunn has been an active member of social media, which includes regularly criticizing Donald Trump. In response to his criticisms, alt-right bloggers dug into Gunn's past to share offensive comments he made earlier in his career about rape and pedophilia. This resulted in Disney announcing it was officially cutting ties with Gunn for the upcoming film.
In the wake of the controversy, the cast has shown their support for Gunn, with Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, and much of the series' supporting cast sharing a statement asking Gunn to be reinstated. Bautista specifically has regularly vocalized his frustrations with Disney's decision.
Stay tuned for details about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3's future.
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[H/T The Hollywood Reporter]