Thor: Ragnarok director won’t replace James Gunn on Guardians of the Galaxy 3

Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi confirmed today he will not take on Guardians of the Galaxy 3, defending former director James Gunn and referring to it as “James’ film.”

Waititi was rumored to be the front runner director to replace Gunn on the project, following the latter’s firing by Disney and Marvel Studios in July 2018. Gunn was fired after a series of offensive tweets were resurfaced by far-right personality Mike Cernovich. The Guardians of the Galaxy cast asked Disney and Marvel Studios at the time to reconsider their decision, especially following backlash from press over the move, but nothing came of it.

Waititi, who appeared before the Television Critics Association today to talk about his upcoming FX series, What We Do in the Shadows, said he didn’t feel right taking over a project that clearly belonged to Gunn.

“Going into something like that, which has got his stamp all over it, it would feel like going into someone’s house and saying, ‘Hey, I’m your new dad,’” Waititi said, as reported by The Wrap.

Guardians of the Galaxy 3 has faced a series of issues following Gunn’s departure, including a lengthy delay. Chris Pratt, who plays main protagonist Peter “Star-Lord” Quill in the franchise, recently told Variety that despite hiccups along the way, Guardians of the Galaxy 3 was definitely moving forward.

“I promise there’ll be a third movie,” Pratt told Variety. “I don’t know exactly what that’s going to look like, but I know everyone on board is just eager to give the fans what they want and wrap up a trilogy in a meaningful way.”

Still, there aren’t any other directors reported to be in talks to take on the movie. Gunn has since moved on to work for one of Disney and Marvel Studios’ biggest competitors — Warner Bros.’ and DC Pictures. Gunn is on board to write and reportedly direct Suicide Squad 2, the sequel to DC’s 2016 film about a medley gang of super villains who team up to save the world.

As for Waititi, although he’s not working on Guardians of the Galaxy 3 he is still very much involved with Disney. He’s currently writing The Mandalorian, a new Star Wars series set to debut on Disney’s upcoming streaming service later this year. Jon Favreau, who directed The Jungle Book and Iron Man is set to act as executive producer. Waititi said he’s also in talks with Marvel for another project.

“I’m hanging out with [Marvel] still,” Waititi said. “Talking about new stuff, but I don’t know what that might be yet. I want to do another movie.”