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Fancasting 11 Directors for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Updated on August 18, 2018
ChrisSawin profile image

Certified critic on Rotten Tomatoes. Member of the Houston Film Critics Society. Also writes for Bounding Into Comics and GeeksHaveGame.

Baby Groot sheds a single tear regarding the loss of James Gunn in the MCU.
Baby Groot sheds a single tear regarding the loss of James Gunn in the MCU.

If you’re a fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy films or the MCU in general, then you’ve probably been entangled in the back and forth news regarding writer and director James Gunn being fired as director during SDCC weekend this year. Everything from Gunn being offered big money projects from other studios (including a rumored offer from WB/DC) to Dave Bautista threatening to walk away from the Drax role entirely if Gunn’s script is scrapped to Gunn’s final meeting with Walt Disney Studio chairman Alan Horn to put the final nail in the coffin regarding a possible return for Gunn and everything in between. What we know now is that Disney’s stance is final and the February 2020 release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 may be in jeopardy since Disney is intending to take their time waiting for an A-list director; whether Gunn’s script will be used or not is still anyone’s guess.

From a personal standpoint, the desire to see a complete trilogy remains. The Guardians films are arguably the most fun of the entire MCU (along with Thor: Ragnarok). Gunn seemed to mature not only as a person, but also as a filmmaker over the course of the first two films. These characters are connected to Gunn and with their main source of inspiration severed the final outcome will be entirely different compared to if Gunn wasn’t so outspoken about his political beliefs over the internet. Will that change be for the better? Should Marvel sideline a franchise that brought in $1.64 billion at the worldwide box office? These are the questions the fans and producers are facing in the aftermath of a talented filmmaker who formerly had no filter when it came to comedy.

What follows is entirely speculation. Similar lists have gone unread other than the graphic that accompanies the article in social media feeds. Who should replace James Gunn as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3? Some of these options are entirely unlikely, but the goal was to provide a list of directors that either weren’t mentioned yet or are just crazy enough to work. The list is also in the most believable order; starting with the least plausible and ending with the most likely. So dust off your favorite pair of smack talking gloves and enjoy a list of 11 directors you’ll probably disagree with!

11 - Noboru Iguchi

Iguchi is an interesting choice because in the same vein that James Gunn started in Troma films, Iguchi got his start in adult films. He’s done film adaptations of manga (Cat-Eyed Boy), television series from the 70s (Karate-Robo Zaborgar), and unbelievably absurd stuff like killer sushi (Dead Sushi) and diarrhea covered zombies (Zombie Ass). He tends to make films that are ridiculous yet provide something different that the mainstream usually shies away from (let’s strap a machine gun to a school girl’s arm and call it The Machine Girl!). That kind of resourcefulness could translate well into the cosmic adventures of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Iguchi has a romance film called Are You Ready? Hey You Girl! debuting in Japanese theaters in October. Other than the promotional junkets that come with that, Iguchi could squeeze a Marvel film into his schedule.

10 - Stephen Chow

Chow has always mixed comedy and action with an ensemble of offbeat characters throughout his entire career. The downside is other than Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle, Chow’s presence in America has dwindled to almost nothing but his films are still breaking records in China. His box office dominance in China is something Disney and Marvel may be interested in especially with Hollywood attempting to cater to Chinese audiences in recent years. The other issue is that he’s never made an American film. That doesn’t mean much these days, but it’s surprising he hasn’t at least attempted an English language film over the course of a 20+ year film career. With the success of The Mermaid overseas, Chow looks to be in the process of developing a sequel along with producing a television series based on the film (and another series based on Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons). His availability for a Marvel film is unlikely, but it’s fun to think about.

09 - Yorgos Lanthimos

Lanthimos has made two of the most unusually brilliant indie films of the past few years (The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer). He writes his characters as these unnatural outcasts that seem to be from this reality that is impossible to be comfortable in. His dialogue is often harsh, relentless, and hilarious because it doesn’t pull any punches. His filmmaking may be too peculiar and outlandish for the mainstream to enjoy, but the thought of Lanthimos tackling some Guardians of the Galaxy dialogue is intriguing. Lanthimos is the type of director that also seems to thrive on being on the independent circuit, so that leaves his participation in a Marvel film as nearly impossible. Lanthimos is currently preparing a drama film called The Favourite for a November 23, 2018 stateside release. Cameras were originally intended to start rolling for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 sometime in 2019 and Lanthimos could technically be open for that.

08 - Martin McDonagh

McDonagh has typically made R-rated dark comedies with fantastic casts. What he accomplished with Seven Psychopaths could possibly translate hilariously well with the likes of Star-Lord, Drax, Rocket, Groot, and Gamora. Following the massive awards buzz Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri received (including two Oscar wins and four Golden Globes), it’d be interesting to see McDonagh follow that up with a huge superhero blockbuster. It probably won’t happen since McDonagh tends to stick to $15 million budgeted drama films with comedic bloodlines, but the thought of McDonagh igniting a Marvel film with his writing and/or directing is invigorating. McDonagh currently isn’t attached to another film and is completely open schedule-wise.

07 - Quentin Dupieux

Dupieux is probably the oddest choice on this list. He has an affinity for the bizarre (the telepathic living tire of Rubber) and the surreal/confusing/nonsensical (Wrong), but that strangeness could bring out a side of the Guardians of the Galaxy that we’ve yet to see. The Guardians are a part of what introduced the cosmic aspects of the MCU; they’re physically able to travel through countless galaxies away from earth and show viewers planets and solar systems that completely defy imagination. Dupiuex is a reliable director who could bring the peculiar to life without question. Dupieux’s black comedy Au poste! came out in July of 2018, but he doesn’t seem to have any other commitments at the moment.

06 - Joe Cornish

Cornish directed and produced a little $10.2 million sci-fi horror comedy called Attack the Block starring a pre-Star Wars John Boyega. He also co-wrote The Adventure of Tintin and was the guy who was brought in to tinker with Edgar Wright’s script for Ant-Man. Cornish has experience working with both smaller films and blockbusters. He tends to cater to action and science fiction anyway. He seems like an obvious candidate for a Guardians of the Galaxy director. Cornish has a new film entitled The Kid Who Would Be King due in theaters in March of 2019. Despite his commitments, Cornish is another director whose Marvel involvement could coincide with the current Guardians Vol. 3 shooting/release schedule.

05 - Scott Sanders

This is absolutely because of Black Dynamite. Sanders, along with Michael Jai White, created an uproarious homage to Blaxploitation and kung fu films. While the film didn’t spawn a sequel, an incredible animated series that ran for two seasons did air on Adult Swim. The way Sanders is tuned in to silliness and campiness could be a smooth transition into all of the back and forth conversations the Guardians have easily. Remember Quill’s dance off at the end of the first Guardians film? Sanders could be the guy to capitalize on that and make it even funnier. Scott Sanders looks to be involved with a crowdfunded Michael Jai White film called The Outlaw Johnny Black. The film is still in production, so who knows if Sanders could work on a Marvel film in his spare time?

04 - Nacho Vigalondo

Timecrimes is one of the most original and satisfying time travel films to ever be made and Colossal was crazy fun for anyone who loves giant monsters and kaiju. Vigalondo’s experience in the science fiction genre could be considered good practice for a Guardians film. Maybe his work with giant monsters could lead toward him handling Galactus or a more in-depth version of The Watcher down the line. Vigalondo is already equipped with creativity and has experience playing with the spectacular. Throwing him the keys to the Milano would be like allowing a little kid to have an all you can eat shopping spree at a candy store. Vigalondo has no new projects in development.

03 - Boots Riley

Riley only has one film to his name and it came out in 2018, but it’s a debut any filmmaker would be proud of. Sorry to Bother You incorporated Michel Gondry visuals, an overflowing amount of creativity, and a familiar story that takes a sharp and ballsy detour in its second half and never looks back. Riley’s unique storytelling abilities and exquisite sense of inventiveness could result in a Marvel film unlike any other. Bringing a Guardians to life with Riley at the helm would be very interesting indeed. Riley currently has no upcoming film projects for the foreseeable future.

02 - Edgar Wright

Depending on how sour the relationship is between Wright and Marvel after their falling out over Ant-Man, Wright’s involvement in another Marvel film may be nothing more than a pipe dream, but his return would absolutely be exciting. Wright has a keen ear for great music, which is essential in a Guardians film and usually works with excellent casts. Wright also has a ton of films in development at the moment including a film adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Fortunately, The Milk, an animated film called Shadows, a remake of Gorgo, Them, The Night Stalker, Grasshopper Jungle, Baby Driver 2, and a music documentary. Does Wright have room on his full plate for another go at a Marvel film?

01 - Taika Waititi

After James Gunn was relieved as director for Guardians Vol. 3, one of the suggestions floating around was that Guardians Vol. 3 would evolve into a fourth Thor film. After Thor: Ragnarok, most MCU fans would probably be all for that especially after Thor’s chemistry with the Guardians in Avengers: Infinity War. If Waititi did come back, we’d almost certainly get more of fan-favorite Korg, which isn’t a bad thing in anyone’s eyes. Waititi is currently working on his next film, Jojo Rabbit, and will be playing Hitler in the film. He is also attached to the live action (and doomed) remake of Akira, a stop-motion animated film shown from the perspective of Michael Jackson’s monkey Bubbles, and a sequel to What We Do in the Shadows entitled We’re Wolves. Waititi is a busy man, but a return to the MCU would be met with open arms.

Who should replace James Gunn as director for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?

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© 2018 Chris Sawin


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