What a year for James Gunn! The filmmaker's first DC Universe movie, The Suicide Squad, is about to be released, the spin-off series The Peacemaker is in the can, and his much-anticipated Marvel sequel enters production. That's right folks: Guardians if the Galaxy 3 is finally happening – this year.
Gunn took time to discuss the Guardians sequel during press for the upcoming DC flick, where he announced the movie was entering production in November this year in Georgia. During the conversation with Collider (opens in new tab), he also revealed what we'd suspected for some time. The sequel's title is… Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3.
A spat between Gunn and Marvel caused the sequel's delay after a series of distasteful tweets surfaced and led to his being fired. He scooped up the DC villain reboot gig, and not long after patched things up with Marvel. But he'd already committed to writing and directing The Suicide Squad, and its John Cena-starring series for HBO Max, leaving no space for Star-Lord's crew.
While he spent two years on those related projects, it turns out the script for Guardians 3 was already done.
"It’s basically been finished for years," he said. "I keep fiddling with different things and adding things, and figuring out permutations and stuff – I’m in the middle of doing another draft now – but it’s really small stuff in comparison to what it has been. It’s basically been finished since three years ago.”
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has undergone significant changes during that time. The biggest shock for the Guardians is the death of Gamora in Avengers: Infinity War, followed by a variant Gamora emerging from an earlier part of the MCU timeline in its sequel, Avengers: Endgame.
So while he's nailed down the screenplay, he mentions that any changes to the characters to reflect these changes are not out of the question, adding that Marvel's never asked him to add any "setup" material into his scripts for other features down the line.
"The only time they ever [asked me to include something for future MCU movies] was on the first movie with Thanos, putting Thanos in there. Which they wanted me to do. But besides that they’ve never done that.
"I have to pay attention to things that happen, which they did talk to me about – the stuff with Gamora and things like that. I know that the characters have been through certain things, so I have to deal with that stuff. But for the most part, they never once asked me to put anything in the script for Volume 3 to set up anything in the future. Nor would I do it, frankly, it’s not really my thing.”
With Squad and Guardians both on the horizon, alongside the Peacemaker show, as Chris Pratt would say: "James Gunn is back."
Catch Gunn's next heroic caper The Suicide Squad when it arrives in US theaters and on HBO Max August 5, with a UK cinematic release on July 30. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is scheduled for release on May 5, 2023. In the meantime, make sure you're up to date with the MCU with our guide to Marvel Phase 4.