James Gunn, writer and director of the first two Guardians of the Galaxy films, will most likely not be rehired for the third installment of the franchise. Instead, it’s possible Walt Disney Studios will look beyond the Marvel family for a new director.

Although Disney has not yet met with any replacements, rumors are going around that Jon Favreau (Iron Man), Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok), or the Russo brothers (Avengers: Infinity War) could fill in the spot, according to a report from Variety. However, they probably already have prior obligations, and it’s likely that Disney will wait for the right filmmaker to come along.

Disney fired Gunn last month from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after old tweets resurfaced in which the writer and director joked on topics such as pedophilia and rape.

Disney seems to be standing by its decision to remove Gunn from the franchise, despite a public petition and a signed cast letter in support of the filmmaker, urging for the studio to reverse its decision:

“We cannot let this moment pass without expressing our love, support, and gratitude for James. We are not here to defend his jokes of many years ago but rather to share our experience having spent many years together on set making Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2. The character he has shown in the wake of his firing is consistent with the man he was every day on set, and his apology, now and from years ago when first addressing these remarks, we believe is from the heart, a heart we all know, trust, and love. In casting each of us to help him tell the story of misfits who find redemption, he changed our lives forever. We believe the theme of redemption has never been more relevant than now.”

It’s also likely that the cast will return to the threequel, whether Gunn returns to the project or not.

Disney isn’t feeling any immediate pressure to replacing Gunn, according to Variety’s report. However, finding a new director will probably push back production originally slated for February 2019 and a 2020 theatrical release.

About the author

Maddie Michalik

Maddie Michalik

Maddie Michalik is the senior editor at the Pop Insider, best known as the resident Insta Queen, where she fuels her geeky heart with the latest entertainment and pop culture news. She travels to different stations in the U.S. and Canada to show all her fav products on TV! Maddie is also an editor at the Toy Insider, the leading consumer holiday gift guide and toy review and news website, and serves as the editor-in-chief of leading trade magazine The Toy Book and weekly e-newsletter Toy Report, keeping the toy industry up to date with the latest happenings. Her love for consuming media is surpassed only by her love creating it (especially when she gets to talk about her favorite things). She is a Leslie Knope in training, and you can often find her rereading the Harry Potter series with a cup of coffee in her hand and patiently waiting for the next season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. See more of Maddie on Twitter and Instagram @MaddieMichalik.