Marvel studio president Kevin Feige has delivered a rather blunt assessment on James Gunn’s influence on the MCU following his sacking from the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.
Adding his signature tone of fun and frolics to the MCU, Gunn joined the world’s highest grossing franchise to bring Guardians of the Galaxy to life in 2014. Returning for 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Gunn also directed the team’s scenes in the Russo Brothers’ Avengers: Infinity War.
With last year’s drama where offensive tweets resurfaced online, Gunn was spectacularly binned from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Although the latest reports confirm the studio will move forward with Gunn’s original script, Feige is doubling-down on the fact that the MCU doesn’t need the director.
Speaking to CinemaBlend, Feige explained, “[James Gunn’s] influence was Guardians. It was Guardians, it was his input on Guardians and the Avengers films, as you’ve seen in Infinity War, and on the Guardians 3 script, which we’re still using.”
He went on to reiterate, “You’ll see that influence. I think online, sort of the notion of ‘architect across multiple cosmic things’ was slightly blown out of proportion.”
It’s a massive change of direction considering Feige hyped up Gunn’s involvement in a so-called ‘cosmic’ branch of the MCU. With Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s Captain Marvel taking us back into the cosmos, other movies like the tentatively titled The Eternals prove that Feige is keen to keep reaching for the stars.
Either way, it sounds like Feige is trying to distance himself as much as possible from the notion of Gunn helping Phase 4 of the MCU. As it stands, Gunn has been promptly scooped up over at Warner Bros. to handle the Worlds of DC’s Suicide Squad reboot.
No matter what anyone’s thoughts on the Gunn debacle, Guardians stars like Michael Rooker and Dave Bautista have been particularly outspoken in supporting him.
Where Phase 4 and beyond goes next is still up in the air. Apart from the locked-down release of Spider-Man: Far From Home, it’s anyone’s guess where we go next. With news of Black Panther 2, Doctor Strange 2, and Black Widow, it sounds like Phase 4 will stay pretty grounded for now as the Cosmic MCU is left marooned in the depths of space.