Guardians of the Galaxy on Hold
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has been officially put on hold.
This is no surprise. Since firing director James Gunn, it was always going to be difficult to enter production in January of 2019. Marvel still has to find a director and figure out what they’re doing with the script. Crew in Atlanta have been released so they’re free to find other work.
If Marvel finds a director by the end of this year they could still make a 2020 release date, but it won’t be the May date they were eyeing. The most realistic scenario is that Black Widow, a small budget production with few special effects and set to go into production in a matter of months, will move up to the May slot. Doctor Strange 2, likely scheduled to repeat its November release in 2020, will move to July. That would allow Guardians 3 to be pushed back to November.
Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi recently had a meeting with Kevin Feige, causing people to speculate that they were discussing him taking over Guardians 3. From what I’ve heard, though, Waititi has another project that would come come into a scheduling conflict. He was really there discussing Thor 4 as well as shooting a promo for the mobile game Marvel: Contest of Champions.
Part of me wonders if the delay means Feige has his eyes on the Russos; they’re currently conducting Avengers 4 reshoots so they wouldn’t be available in time to meet a January production. Perhaps production is being delayed so they can eventually take it over. This is just pure speculation on my part but I think it’s a real possibility.
Another dark horse to direct: Bradley Cooper. The voice of Rocket Raccoon just had his directorial debut with A Star is Born and is set to direct his next project, Bernstein. Granted, Cooper is less experienced with directing big budget blockbusters but he knows the cast and characters and would serve as a satisfactory replacement in the minds of his fellow cast members. He also wouldn’t expect to redo much of Gunn’s completed script. This is unlikely but worth mentioning.
The longer we go without a director announced, the more likely it is we see someone like the Russos or another filmmaker familiar with Marvel take over. A new director, especially a well-known one, will want wholesale changes to the script, thus delaying it even further.
So that’s how I see the situation currently. I see 2020 shaping up to be Black Widow on May 1st, Doctor Strange 2 on July 31st and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 on November 6th.