This Was the Status of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ Before James Gunn’s Firing

James Gunn at the opening of the Guardians of The Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! ride

James Gunn | Richard Harbaugh/Getty Images

In a stunning turn of events, James Gunn has been fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 less than 24 hours after a conservative journalist dug up offensive tweets of his from about a decade ago. So what does this mean for the highly-anticipated Marvel sequel? Will it need to be delayed? What was Vol. 3‘s status prior to today’s events?

Well, Gunn had already completed the script for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. He provided that update himself last month, posting a photo of the cover of the screenplay on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.

In terms of when it was supposed to start production, Kevin Feige said last month that filming on Vol. 3 would begin “early next year,” although The Hollywood Reporter reported today that production was going to begin in the fall. The movie did not officially have a release date, but it seemed likely that it was going to hit theaters on May 1st, 2020.

After all, Marvel has that date carved out for an unannounced movie, and Gunn has repeatedly said that Vol. 3 would be coming out in 2020. Since Vol. 2 came out in early May, it has been widely assumed that Marvel was saving the May 2020 slot for Guardians Vol. 3.

However, the future of that movie is now completely up in the air. On Friday afternoon, Disney fired Gunn from the project due to his offensive jokes about rape and pedophilia from about 10 years ago. Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn said in a statement, “The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him.”

The team assembles in 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.'

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 | Marvel Studios

Now, Marvel Studios will need to find a new director for the movie. The major unanswered question, though, is whether Gunn’s script will still be used. One would assume it will not be; this would require him to receive a writing credit, which would defeat the purpose of severing ties with him as Disney has decided to do.

If the script is to be rewritten, the film will probably need to be delayed and will not be able to come out in 2020 as planned. We have not yet received any official information about whether Gunn’s script will be kept or thrown out, though.

We also don’t yet know who might take over for Gunn on the movie, but the first thought for many fans is Taika Waititi, the director of Thor: Ragnarok. That was another Marvel movie set in space that revolved heavily around comedy, so he would be a natural choice. Waititi is currently in production on his next film, Jojo Rabbit, but he doesn’t have any other movie projects in the works after that. Kevin Feige had also expressed interest in working with Waititi again.

Gunn’s firing places Marvel in a particularly difficult situation because he was such a major driving force of the Guardians story. He wrote and directed both the original film and the sequel, although the first movie was also co-written by Nicole Perlman. Gunn had talked about planning this as a trilogy of films, with Vol. 3 being the end of the story he started in 2014. So although Marvel replaces directors for its sequels all the time, Guardians is uniquely Gunn’s, and this was to be the first MCU trilogy to all be directed by the same person. If Gunn’s script is indeed scrapped, fans will always have to wonder how the story of these characters was originally supposed to end as envisioned by the creator.