The James Gunn drama has been doing the rounds across all platforms of media lately, with people globally asking if Disney made the right choice in removing the Slither and Super director from the third instalment in his Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy. Whether or not Disney made the right choice is debatable, no doubt, but instead of coming to you today with my opinion on the matter, instead I thought I would take this opportunity to offer up my own ideas on what directors could fill the shoes of Gunn and direct the highly anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Long and hard I thought whom could bring the comedy and the style and the action and adventure to the final cosmic odyssey in Marvel’s dark horse film series, and now I’m confident enough in my choices that Marvel Studios should bloody well hire me for a head honcho job… come on Fiege, you know you wanna…
8. RON HOWARD
Now I know what you’re thinking – I’m thinking the exact same thing. We’re all thinking ‘NO BLOODY WAY’ and some of you nerds are pondering ‘… but he made the most underwhelming Star Wars movie ever…’ and some of you hipsters are thinking ‘eww, bland much’ – well, shut up (for a second at least). I honesty enjoyed Solo: A Star Wars Story for what it was and even though it was far from mind-blowing and captivating, it was at least serviceable. The point I’m trying to make is that Ron Howard is a nice bloke and he seems willing to jump on board a massive project when someone needs him… and, well, Disney are calling again and you better believe Howard is sitting by that phone, waiting for the ring, as we speak. Yes, true, Ron Howard may not have any distinctive style and could very well deliver a bland movie, but with a cast and crew like those behind the Guardians of the Galaxy films, all Howard will need to do is show up on set and eat some donuts as Chris Pratt does Chris Pratt and Dave Bautista cracks some jokes. The tone and chemistry is already there between cast members; all they need is a guy to steer the ship, occasionally. And yes, Rocket, may be the best pilot in the galaxy, but Ron Howard, I think, can manage.
7. QUENTIN TARANTINO
Let’s just get it through our thick little skulls right now that this one will NEVER EVER, NEVER EVER EVER, NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS, EVER NEVER EVER HAPPEN – but we can always cross our fingers. Quentin Tarantino is a free spirit; he doesn’t play by anyone’s rules other than his own. His films are violent, unstable, riddled with curse words and so indie and original that beneath the banners of a studio like Marvel, Tarantino would never manage to play nice. If Edgar Wright could not make his own version of Ant-Man, I mean good luck Tarantino trying to make a third film to an already established and beloved family friendly Marvel trilogy… yeesh, I’m not selling this one, am I? The real reason though that I picked Tarantino was purely for the man’s style. If, hypothetically, Tarantino could work in the bounds of a studio film (for which he shouldn’t) or if Marvel could allow Tarantino to express himself naturally, I think we would be in for an extremely fascinating and distinct Marvel movie. Tarantino can already do ensembles, so why not have the Guardians go on a mega heist plot like Reservoir Dogs? Oh and it doesn’t stop there; Drax could go full Django in his quest for revenge or Nebula could star in her own subplot appropriately titled ‘Kill Thanos Vol. 1 & 2’ as Rocket tots his gun like a true Inglourious Basterd and Star-Lord teaches Gamora to dance in a 1950s styled space diner, immediately following the consumption of ‘shakes’. With Tarantino behind the wheel we could see the return of Kurt Russell’s Ego and Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury go to space. Think about it everyone – you know you want it. I mean, Tarantino is doing a Star Trek film anyway, so it’s close enough.
6. MATTHEW VAUGHN
Here we have the man behind stylised comic book adaptations such as Kingsman: The Secret Service, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class; Matthew Vaughn knows egg-actly how these types of films work (I don’t know why I included the ‘egg’ pun – forgive me, I wrote this in the early morning, so my brain is still a bit scrambled…). True that Vaughn already has an established style which could eventually override that of James Gunn’s and his script treatment, but who’s to say spicing things up won’t result in a fresh and exciting experience for the Guardians? After all the Guardians of the Galaxy film series is predominately a parody of space operas, and no one does parody better than Vaughn… well, truthfully, a lot of people do, but they’re not available, so Vaughn it is. With Kick-Ass successfully spoofing the superhero genre and Kingsman spinning the spy genre on its head (both to hilarious results), why not let Vaughn tinker with the cosmic adventure genre and the Guardians present him with the best vehicle to do so. Also being that Vaughn was behind X-Men: First Class, for which highlighted the first incarnation of the X-Men, who’s to say he can’t do it again but instead with the first incarnation of the Guardians. That’s right – I’m talking de-aged Sylvester Stallone as Stakar Ogord with a cast including Michelle Yeoh, Ving Rhames, Michael Rosenbaum, Miley Cyrus and, of course, Michael Rooker’s Yondu. I’d be all in.
5. JOHN FRANCIS DALEY & JONATHAN GOLDSTEIN
This directing duo of John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein were not only behind this year’s highly enjoyable comedy, Game Night, but also took part in the writing process for Marvel’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. Not to mention the two also share writing credits on Horrible Bosses and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2; and so, from a comedy perspective, Daley and Goldstein seemingly have the chops to pull this off. Already having worked with Marvel, it’s safe to presume they know their way around the studio’s layout and could respectively step into James Gunn’s shoes to faithfully adapt the already completed screenplay. I mean, all they have to do is yell ‘ACTION’ and ‘CUT’, am I right? Now I know this may not seem like a highly inspired choice, but more the logical move on my part (I mean, yeesh, I feel like I’ve turned into a boring board executive just making safe company decisions) but honestly, I feel if Marvel want to play it safe, Daley and Goldstein are their best bet. These two are young but capable, and having worked on studio films before, they could ensure a clean production for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3… also, though, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit my true intentions for hiring these two. You see DC have recently signed on Daley and Goldstein to direct their Flashpoint movie – but other than Wonder Woman, when do DC ever get anything done, honestly? DC can talk the talk but Marvel can walk the walk, and personally I’d like to see another set of Flashpoint directors walk from the project – yes, walk right into Marvel’s hands and make sure DC have to dump Ezra Miller’s Flash along with any last remaining tethers to Justice League (apart from Jason Momoa’s Aquaman, of course).
4. LEIGH WHANNELL
Look, let’s just cut to the chase; have any of you seen Upgrade from earlier this year? Pardon you? Was that a no? Well you better make it a yes, because Blumhouse’s latest film from Australian director, Leigh Whannell, is one of 2018’s most underrated, surprising, intriguing, horrifying, comical, inventive, original, intelligent and… look, I really loved Upgrade, ok. As a matter of fact, Whannell has routes in the Saw franchise alongside his infamous co-writer, James Wan, who’s Aquaman solo film is scheduled for a release later this December. If Wan is able to make the transition from small-scaled horror to large-scaled comic book world building blockbuster, I have no doubt Australia’s own, Leigh Whannell, could make a similar leap. Not only does Whannell have a more philosophically rich understanding of the sci-fi genre, but the writer/ director has an unrelenting knack to entertain. Personally, I’d like the Guardian’s next adventure to undertake a darker and more thought-provoking turn after the events of the highly impactful Avengers: Infinity War whilst still offering up the franchise’s familiar, colourful and vibrant tone – I believe Whannell can deliver all this. Also, you may want to believe that Rocket Raccoon is a cute little trash panda and Drax is a cuddly uncle brimming with dad jokes, but you have to remember that all these characters started as ‘criminals’. They have dark pasts which have only been briefly touched upon; so I believe with Whannell taking charge, the presumed final outing of the Guardians could be more personal and well-rooted into their criminal pasts, which is a side to the characters we have yet seen and could definitely be worth the exploration. So when you really think about it, with Whannell’s pedigree in the Saw films, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 could very well become a live action version of that Rick & Morty episode, Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender… ahh, I think that’s a good thing.
3. DREW GODDARD
I think the real question here is; why not Drew Goddard? Now, you might be sitting there, thinking to yourself “ahh, who’s Drew Goatart… I mean Goatheart… I mean Goddard. You know what, I’ll just look him up on Goo -” well just hold your horses right there, sunshine; I’ve got the down-low on who this living legend is. Ever heard of those Joss Whedon shows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel? What about the J.J. Abrams’ ones, Alias and Lost? Well, Goddard wrote for all of those TV shows. Oh, and you know those little movies we call Cloverfield, World War Z and The Martian? He wrote those as well. And I wonder if you have ever seen The Cabin In the Woods or are currently planning to see Bad Times at the El Royale later this year, because, the thing about those films is that he directed them both. Not to mention he already has ties to Marvel having written for Netflix’s Daredevil and being set to direct the upcoming action comedy Deadpool spin-off, X-Force. If there is anything Goddard has, its range. Name a pop culture movie or TV show from the last few years and he’s 100% had his fingers all up in there (… um, I didn’t mean to say it like that). Also, a big bonus comes in the form of Goddard and his relationship with the God of Thunder himself, Chris Hemsworth. Say, being that Hemsworth has appeared in both Goddard’s directorial efforts, could we be assured that the Guardian’s newest adventure be an extension of the Infinity War segments where Thor and Star-Lord try to out handsome each other? Could Goddard’s takeover of the franchise ensure more of the Guardians further adventures with the one and only pirate angel? All we need is for Thor not to die an horrific and agonising death in the fourth Avengers and finally – finally – we can get Asguardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Yes please.
2. TAIKA WAITITI
The obvious choice from the get go, I reckon. Let’s not beat around the bush here, Taika Waititi would be the most logical and perfect choice Marvel Studios could make when concerning the replacement of James Gunn. One of the biggest reasons Thor: Ragnarok worked was not just because the Hulk turned out to be a big cutie, but because Waititi adopted a strong amount of the tone, humour, visuals and character models from the already established Guardians of the Galaxy films to reshape the Thor movies into more familiar cosmic odysseys. Waititi already knows the ‘how’, and all we should be waiting on is the ‘why’ not. Now if you would please allow me to get a bit nerdy here, I would like you all to think of the unbelievable possibilities on our hands with a Waititi directed Guardians adventure. Not only do we get more incentive for Hemsworth’s Thor to rejoin the Guardians, but Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie could very comfortably make the transition to Guardians member status, as she can drink and gamble alongside Rocket after engaging in sword combat, side-by-side with Gamora – ooft, that would be amazing. Oh, oh, oh! And what if Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster pits adult Groot in a fight with Drax whilst also reuniting with his long lost brother, the Collector, respectfully portrayed by a zany Benicio del Toro. By the way, Korg and Miek in a Guardians of the Galaxy movie would seriously be, like, a match made in heaven – like for real – like amazing – like so fetch. In fact, if anyone is going to make fetch happen it’s Waititi. So let him start by fetching a shooting location in Australia… you know, just any reason to get another one of those Chris’s on Aussie soil.
1. THE DUFFER BROTHERS
Yes. Yes. Yes. This here – the Duffer brothers – is the right answer. I don’t even know why I bothered with the rest of my choices when the Stranger Things creators tick every box instantaneously. Now I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a major fan of Stranger Things but that does not change my opinion on the Duffer brothers. They know how to tell an engaging story set in an episodic nature which is something that would be heavily valuable to Marvel. Think about some of Marvel’s most successful directors, like the Russo brothers and Joss Whedon; they had their start in television, making themselves mainly equipped in telling stories that act more as episodes in a giant series rather than just solo efforts. The Duffer brothers can do that but also with the included sci-fi angle. Not to mention how nostalgic and retro the Duffers brothers can get, the Guardians of the Galaxy are almost solely built on the concepts of nostalgia and retro flavours. Who’s to say also that pop culture sweetheart, Millie Bobby Brown, wouldn’t also be a possible inclusion to the cast if the Duffer brothers join the project. However, my two biggest points for the hiring of the Duffer brothers is as follows: 1) these two built a fascinating, 80s styled sci-fi world for Stranger Things, so who says that they cannot also build out Marvel’s cosmic universe in a familiar style as James Gunn was originally hired to do? And 2) when Marvel began planning Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, James Gunn didn’t even want to do it; so you know who people briefly turned to, before James Gunn eventually signed on? That’s right, the Duffer brothers were at one point considered for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, if I’m not mistaken. And as you can see, it’s a perfect fit. TV shows eventually run out of steam (unless your show starts with a ‘Breaking’ and ends in a ‘Bad’) but all we need is one last Guardians outing, and if Marvel are impressed with the Duffers brother’s take on the characters, we could see the duo become the new Russo brothers as they wrangle more cosmic central, world-building projects like Marvel’s Eternals, Marvel’s Nova or even maybe Marvel’s Howard the Duck – you’d be lying if you were to say you didn’t want to see the Duffer brothers make a film about a talking duck… I mean, you’ve seen stranger things, surely.
- Odland, K 2017, Almost All The Songs for GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 3 Mixtape Have Already Been Chosen, Geek Tyrant, Complex, viewed 6 August 2018, https://geektyrant.com/news/almost-all-the-songs-for-guardians-of-the-galaxy-3-mixtape-have-already-been-chosen (Featured Image)
- Borchers, C 2018, Our Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and James Gunn Deep Dive-Marvel News Desk #82, Marvel News Desk, Nerd News Desk, viewed 6 August 2018, http://marvelnewsdesk.com/2018/08/12/guardians-vol-3-gunn-podcast/