A group of crew members set to begin preproduction on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 may now have to look for other work.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, which cited unnamed sources, crew members who started to assemble in Atlanta to launch preliminary work on the Marvel film have been dismissed and told they can seek out other jobs as the movie goes on hold.
The number of staffers showing up in Atlanta now was said to be relatively small, with full preproduction reportedly to have started this fall and principal photography to have begun in January or February of 2019.
All that is now up in the air while Marvel Studios and parent company Disney seek out a new director to replace James Gunn, who was fired last month by Disney chairman Alan Horn after an alt-right blogger brought attention to old tweets of Gunn's in which the director made tasteless jokes about pedophilia, rape, and other subjects.
Although the tweets were nearly a decade old and Gunn apologized for them in 2011 -- long before he got the job writing and directing the first Guardians of the Galaxy -- Disney claimed it had been unaware of them until now and let Gunn go, although his screenplay for Guardians Vol. 3 may still be used.
Although the cast and fans vigorously protested Gunn's removal -- with Dave Bautista, who plays Drax, continuing his own campaign against Disney -- even a meeting earlier this month between Horn and Gunn couldn't win the filmmaker his old job back.
One source said that the production's hiatus is temporary and indicates a "regrouping" as Marvel and Disney search for a new director. A release date for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has never been announced, although the movie was expected to debut in the summer of 2020.
Another unnamed source said that Marvel met with Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi recently, although it was not specified what the meeting was about. Waititi is one of the few filmmakers who fans believe could capture something of Gunn's sensibility, although Marvel may want him back for a potential fourth Thor film.
Marvel has nothing on its release schedule for the rest of this year, with Captain Marvel coming next in March and the untitled Avengers 4 following in April -- which means that Marvel execs don't have to answer any awkward questions from the press for a while.