James Gunn’s Marvel return with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was always expected to prove a number of points about his Disney dismissal and reinstatement and his ability to fully control a franchise without the need for a consortium of additional writers’ input. The movie has already managed to beat off the likes of Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania and Thor: Love and Thunder in the review stakes and posted a strong opening weekend box office, and now it had broken a long MCU tradition by not collapsing in its second weekend.
While many Marvel Studios releases have seen a 66%-70% drop in revenue following their front-loading opening weekend, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 looks to be taking just a 51% dip with a projected $58 million domestic haul. According to Deadline, this is the best second-weekend of any MCU release since Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings back in mid-pandemic in 2021. This is a huge win for both Marvel Studios and for James Gunn, who leaves for DC Studios with probably the best leaving gift he could have hoped for.
The third outing for the Guardians is most notable for following in the footsteps of previous entries in the cosmic saga and not being connected to the larger story arc being told across Marvel’s Phases 4-6. Instead, Gunn has concentrated completely on telling the story he set to to tell in the way he wanted to tell it. While there are many Marvel fans excited to see things building to Secret Wars, Guardians 3 has clearly appealed to the same audience who liked “unconnected” Disney+ offerings such as Moon Knight and Werewolf by Night.
James Gunn Turned The Guardians Into One of the MCU’s Greatest Teams.
When Guardians of the Galaxy arrived in 2014, characters such as Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Groot and Gamora were all characters that were pretty much unknown to anyone who had never picked up a comic book. By that time, the MCU had become established enough that characters such as Iron Man, Thor and Captain America had become household names. Flash forward to 2023 and James Gunn has made the Guardians of the Galaxy just as big and well known as some of Marvel’s biggest hitters.
Just as the Avengers is now a moving collective, the Guardians to this point have always been made up of the same characters. Going forward, it seems clear that the group will return to fight another day under the command of their new captain Rocket, and Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord is potentially getting his own project – either as a Disney+ series or future movie – but where and when all of this happens is yet to be revealed.
Before any of that can happen, someone will have to be chosen to take over the role of writer and director from Gunn. Having already given his blessing to whoever comes in to take over from him in future, James Gunn has left plenty of open doors and just the right amount of breadcrumbs for them to follow when it finally does happen.
This story originally appeared on Movieweb