What with the signature on the Guardians franchise being so specifically James Gunn, and fan favorite pick for replacement Taika Waititi opting out of the project, who in Hollywood has the right stuff to take on Star-Lord and the rest of our favorite group of intergalactic a-holes to the finish line? Here’s our top seven choices for the job:
Michelle MacLaren has been one of television’s most celebrated directors for years, having helmed episodes of modern classics like Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Westworld, and The Walking Dead. She keeps flirting with big screen superhero movies (e.g. Wonder Woman and the delayed Cowboy Ninja Viking). Maybe Guardians 3 could be the film that breaks McLaren’s comic book movie curse.
The co-founder of Laika Studios, Knight directed Kubo and the Two Strings, and then got his first live-action gig with Bumblebee, which is noteworthy as the one Transformers film that pretty much everyone likes. Coming into a Transformers movie and making it his own after five Michael Bay films was no easy task, so we think he could be the one to make a hilarious and heartfelt Guardians Vol. 3 that both audiences and critics alike would love.
Clarkson is another celebrated television director, who among her many credits is Marvel’s The Defenders, and who was set to make her feature film debut with Star Trek 4, until that got put on the back burner. She’s currently scheduled to direct the pilot episode of the Game of Thrones prequel series sometime this summer, but what about after that? Maybe she can trade in the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise for the crew of The Benatar?
Cooper just directed his first film, A Star Is Born, which was a huge hit at the box office and garnered several awards, so he probably has his choice of projects now. While it’s not likely that the third movie in a franchise is at the top of his list, but one way to get over the discomfort of losing Gunn would be to keep it in the family. Why not let Rocket Raccoon himself direct?
Sure, Chris McKay has only directed one movie, but that movie was the terminally delightful LEGO Batman Movie, which proved he has the chops for not only making a film that is non-stop funny and filled with one-liners, but also has a ton of heart and great superhero action. He’s been rumored for a Nightwing film for ages now, but since that seems to be nowhere on the horizon yet, we say Marvel Studios should snatch him up for the Guardians while they can.
In 2011, Joe Cornish made the incredible sci-fi film cult classic Attack the Block, but for some reason or another, it took him nearly eight years to get another feature film made, the currently-in-theaters The Kid Who Would Be King. Despite that film bombing at the box office, it got decent reviews, so Marvel would be wise to consider him for the third Guardians film, and give him a shot at having a bonafide blockbuster under his belt.
Although this one is a long shot, due to his commitment to the Ant-Man and the Wasp films, Peyton Reed did step in once before to direct the first Ant-Man when Edgar Wright left, and he helped create a franchise for the studio. Could he be asked to do it again? He combined comedy with superhero adventure for the Ant-Man series, so there’s no reason he couldn’t do it for Guardians.
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