After the shocking announcement about James Gunn’s removal from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, one of Marvel Studios’ biggest franchises is suddenly in need of a new director. With the first two Guardians of the Galaxy films, Gunn transformed an obscure superhero team into one of the most beloved groups of characters in the MCU by expertly mixing comedy, heart, and sci-fi action. Whoever comes after Gunn will have big shoes to fill in order to successfully keep the Guardians’ momentum.
Fortunately, there’s no shortage of talent in Hollywood and beyond, and there are more than a few who are ready to step up. SYFY WIRE has narrowed down the list to seven directors and director teams who would make sense to take the helm of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
Arguably, Taika Waititi has already directed the third Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Thor: Ragnarok clearly lifted some of the comedic tone from the Guardians films and added an extra layer of quirk and weirdness from Waititi. It proved to be a winning combination at the box office, and the highest grossing Thor movie to date. Waititi could make the transition to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 as seamless as possible, and a track record that would be difficult to argue with.
Ana Lily Amirpour
The creator of "the first Iranian vampire spaghetti western" is exactly the kind of director that Marvel usually likes to recruit for the MCU films. Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night took critics by storm in 2014, and she followed that up with The Bad Batch, a darkly funny movie that featured an unlikely cannibal romance set against a Mad Max-inspired world.
Amirpour has demonstrated a love of bending genres together while offering her own vision and take. Her sense of humor would also give Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 its own flavor instead of apeing Gunn’s tone.
John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein
Staying with black comedy, Game Night was one of the funniest movies of 2018. Directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein deftly blended action, suspense, and a love story between a husband and wife with a consistently hilarious script. In a down year for comedy, Game Night was one of the biggest hits in that genre. Now, just imagine what Daley and Goldstein could do if they had all the resources of the MCU to play with?
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
After getting fired from Solo: A Star Wars Story, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller don’t seem like they would be high on Disney’s shortlist of directors. While they may not have been a great fit with Lucasfilm, they could potentially be exactly what Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 needs. The LEGO Movie shared more with the first Guardians than just Chris Pratt. Both films had an irreverent sense of humor and a lot of unexpected heart. Adding Lord and Miller to the MCU could give them a second chance to prove themselves with a big budget sci-fi film.
Given his success with Get Out, Jordan Peele is an unlikely choice to replace Gunn simply because he’s already busy with many of his own projects. But as an actor, a writer, and a director, Peele is uniquely talented and well suited for the MCU. Alongside Keegan-Michael Key, Peele demonstrated his love for genre in Comedy Central’s Key & Peele sketch series. That will presumably serve him well when and if he ever makes a superhero movie.
Last year, Broad City director and Upright Citizens Brigade alumni, Lucia Aniello made her feature film directorial debut with Rough Night. That dark comedy starred MCU veteran Scarlett Johansson and a very talented cast of actresses, and it seems like an ideal warm-up for bigger films in the future. Aniello seems to be well suited for a chance to shine on a larger stage, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 would be a nice start.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 needs a director who can pull off comedy and action. Leigh Whannell demonstrated his skills with both in Upgrade, an ambitious sci-fi thriller that was released earlier this summer. Out of all of the directors on this list, Whannell’s sensibilities seem to mirror some of Gunn’s earlier films. Whether he can also make the transition to superheroes remains to be seen, but Whannell could be a very interesting choice for Marvel.
Who do you think should be the new director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3? Let us know in the comment section below!