We still have several years and at least eight movies left to go in this, the third phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), fans are always clamoring for more. It doesn’t matter that we still haven’t seen Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 yet, or Spider-Man: Homecoming, or Thor: Ragnarok, or Black Panther, or Avengers: Infinity War, or Ant-Man and The Wasp, or Captain Marvel, or whatever that other Avengers movie is going to be called. Everybody wants to know what’s coming next, and with the press junket for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 about to get underway, writer/director James Gunn has decided to get out ahead of the most obvious question in, well… the galaxy.
It’s official: James Gunn, the writer/director of Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, is coming back for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
So sayeth James Gunn (via Facebook)…
Well, this week we start the U.S. press junket, before traveling to Europe at the end of the week. Of course I know some of the questions that come up a lot – “Wasn’t there a lot more pressure dealing with the sequel of a beloved film?” (No, there was less, because this time I knew there was an audience waiting to see it!) and, “What was it like working with Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone?” (Daunting and at times overwhelming – I ran around in my backyard as a kid pretending to be Snake Plissken and John Rambo, so these guys are true icons to me.)
But the question that comes up perhaps the most is, “What’s the deal with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and are you going to direct?”
Before I was able to honestly answer this, I needed to know it was, in my heart, what I truly felt called to do. There is a history in Hollywood of haphazard endings to trilogies, and I didn’t want to become a part of that dishonorable tradition of pretending the third one doesn’t exist. I couldn’t do it for the money, and I couldn’t do it because it was what other people wanted me to do. I needed to do it because it was what I needed to do. I have never made choices in my career based on anything other than passion and love for the stories and characters, and I didn’t want to start now.
So, after many months of ruminations and discussions, I know the answer. I could save this answer for the first, random interviewer to ask me during the press junket but instead I thought I’d share it with the most important people in the Guardiansverse – you, the fans, who have been so incredibly supportive and enthusiastic over the past five years, it has moved me to tears on a regular basis.
So, yes, I’m returning to write and direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
In the end, my love for Rocket, Groot, Gamora, Star-Lord, Yondu, Mantis, Drax, and Nebula – and some of the other forthcoming heroes – goes deeper than you guys can possibly imagine, and I feel they have more adventures to go on and things to learn about themselves and the wonderful and sometimes terrifying universe we all inhabit. And, like in both Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, we will work on creating the story that goes beyond what you expect.
My partnership with the folks at Marvel Studios – Kevin Feige, Lou D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, and Jonathan Schwartz – has been the best of my professional career, and is a huge contributing factor to my decision – as is my relationship to the guys at Disney Studios – Bob Iger, Alan Horn, and Alan Bergman – who have been cheerleading innovation and the pure love of movies from the start. This is the kind of thing you’d expect a director to say about the people who have just hired him, but people who know me know I would never put up working with people I don’t like for a single movie, much less two, and much, much less three. I love them all and appreciate immensely their collaboration. I wake up every day pinching myself that they’d allow this punk rock kid from Missouri to help create this wonderful universe, and to not only allow but encourage creative freedom while doing so.
I can’t fricking wait to get started.
Much of what’s happened in the MCU for the past ten or so years has been leading, in a big way, to the Avengers’ Infinity War. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will happen after all that. It will conclude the story of this iteration of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and help catapult both old and new Marvel characters into the next ten years and beyond. I will be working side-by-side with Kevin Feige and the gang to help design where these stories go, and make sure the future of the Marvel Cosmic Universe is as special and authentic and magical as what we have created so far.
I promise you, the fans, I’ll do it all with integrity and love and respect for the characters.
Make mine Marvel.
We are Groot.
Hey, it’s Crave again. We just wanted to throw it out there that this is, unless Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 somehow sucks out loud, really good news for fans of this series. James Gunn is a very particular storyteller, and although he’s clearly working within he pre-existing narrative and tonal confines of the MCU, he has succeeded in carving out his own little corner that follows his own little rules.
Anyone else taking over the Guardians of the Galaxy series would have a heck of a time making it their own without sacrificing some of the strange alchemy that made the original work in the first place. So it’s a bit of a relief that we don’t have to worry too much about this franchise’s future right now.
How do you feel about this news, folks? Are you happy that James Gunn is coming back or do you wish he’d venture out into all-new directions?
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Top Photos: Marvel Studios
William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on The B-Movies Podcast and Canceled Too Soon, and watch him on the weekly YouTube series What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.