According to Variety, a handful of crew members hired to begin pre-production on the third installment of the blockbuster in Atlanta were dismissed from the project and given permission to look for other work. Filming on the project was scheduled to begin in early 2019, although no release date had been set.
The Hollywood Reporter labeled the pause on production as “temporary” and a “regrouping” of sorts following Gunn’s July 20th firing, which came after several alt-right social media personalities unearthed nearly decade-old tweets where Gunn – a vocal Donald Trump critic – joked about pedophilia, transgender people and more.
Gunn issued a statement following his firing from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 where the director accepted responsibility for his actions. “My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative,” Gunn said. “I have regretted them for many years since — not just because they were stupid, not at all funny, wildly insensitive, and certainly not provocative like I had hoped, but also because they don’t reflect the person I am today or have been for some time.”
Despite Gunn’s firing, nearly all the major actors from the franchise bound together to pen an open letter lobbying for the director’s reinstatement. However, a mid-August meeting between Gunn and Disney did not result in reconciliation. Part of the production delay is likely due to Marvel and Disney trying to find a director to enter into what could be a toxic situation: Actor Dave Bautista, who plays Drax in the franchise, has routinely chided Disney over Gunn’s firing on Twitter.
Variety added that while Gunn won’t direct Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3, it’s still likely that his script will be used on the film.
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 isn’t the only blockbuster in danger of an indefinite delay: After the upcoming 25th James Bond film parted ways with director Danny Boyle over creative differences, it’s unlikely that movie will make its scheduled October 2019 release date.