Last week, it was revealed that Walt Disney Studios and Marvel will not be rehiring James Gunn for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and will be looking for a new director for the Marvel Cinematic Universe film. However, there's at least one name they can take off the list: Steven DeKnight.
DeKnight, who previously served as executive producer for the first season of Netflix's Daredevil in addition to directing Pacific Rim Uprising, was asked by a fan on Twitter what he would say if someone asked him to step into the director's role and replace Gunn. His answer was a professional and respectful no.
"I would politely decline," DeKnight wrote. "No way in hell I could come close to what @JamesGunn has accomplished."
The idea that it would be difficult if not impossible to fill Gunn's shoes on the Guardians franchise is something that many have talked about since the director was fired last month after offensive old tweets resurfaced. Gunn, for his part, apologized for the tweets and those close to him have acknowledged that he has changed dramatically since they were written -- due largely in part to his work and devotion to the Guardians films. The personal elements that Gunn put into the films would be difficult for any director to replicate even if they do end up using his script.
However, DeKnight's comment brings up another potential issue that Marvel and Disney may face when seeking out a new director for the third Guardians film. If the studio looks to the pool of directors who have worked on Marvel projects before, it's possible that many or all may decline as DeKnight proactively has. The directors are a close-knit group and could, out of respect for Gunn and his work, opt out. There's also the real fear of backlash from both the film's cast and fans should they step in. Fans have largely been on the disgraced director's side as well, meaning that any director who comes in will find themselves in a very challenging situation from a fan standpoint, but they could run into issues with cast as well. The Guardians cast has been clear in their support of Gunn, even signing a letter urging Disney to bring Gunn back.
"It is our hope that what has transpired can serve as an example for all of us to realize the enormous responsibility we have to ourselves and to each other regarding the use of our written words when we etch them in digital stone; that we as a society may learn from this experience and in the future we will think twice before we decide what we want to express; and in so learning perhaps can harness this capability to help and heal instead of hurting each other," the letter read in part. "Thank you for taking the time to read our words."
It will be interesting to see how the search for a new director for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 plays out. Be sure to follow ComicBook.com for all developments in this ongoing story.
For now, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has a planned release for 2020.