Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is steadily working towards its May 2023 release date, with James Gunn hard at work in post-production on his third directorial effort in the MCU since 2014. The classic bunch of a-holes has seen a number of changes since they were first introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy, with Gunn never being one to hide his process for making these movies from the MCU fandom.
Recently, Gunn actually tackled the more negative side of taking on directing jobs for Marvel Studios along with how he's evolved as a filmmaker since first joining the MCU nine years ago. This includes explaining how movies as a whole are getting worse due to the increasingly difficult working conditions that come with developing a Hollywood blockbuster.
Now, with his latest quotes, Gunn has shared some insight into how things have changed for him specifically between his first MCU solo movie and his most recent effort in Guardians 3.
James Gunn Changes Directing Style for Guardians 3
Director James Gunn took to Twitter to address the differences between directing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and his work on the first movie in the trilogy.
When asked how rigid production needs to be, Gunn indicated that he directed Vol. 3 with a much "looser" style than the first movie, "often" making changes on set that he believed would improve the production and final product. However, Gunn still ensures that he's prepared with a plan every day he comes to set:
"No. Different films have different vibes. I personally am looser than I used to be - I often change stuff on set, which was heretical to me around Vol 1 time. But preparation takes many forms - you can be loose but prepared. There’s a difference between that & not giving a fuck."
Gunn previously shared some perspective on his preparation for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
He included insight into the way he prepares "like there's no tomorrow," planning out every detail for the script and storyboard and even admitting to over-planning everything at times:
"I’ve met very few directors who prep as much as I do. The final movie is much like the original conception. Every single thing is prepped. I started writing the script for Guardians Vol. 2 in August 2014, and the treatment was written a couple months after that. The script was finished months before we started shooting, which is almost never the case for a big spectacle film. I draw all my own storyboards. I work stuff out so I know exactly what the movie is going to be. I plan every single thing out, I plan for things going wrong, I over-plan. I’m crazy about it."
He also included an excerpt about his belief that "improv is overrated," instead preferring to plan out the script and the action ahead of time more often than not. While improv moments sometimes come up "in the rehearsals" instead of on the set, he sees improvisation as something that he doesn't want to use as often as other directors:
"I’m a guy that believes in writing the script ahead of time. I rehearse a lot with the actors. If improv happens, it’s much more likely to happen in the rehearsals than on set. Occasionally you’ll find new moments, like a new camera move, or a funny line. But the role of improvisation is largely overrated."
During an Instagram story Q&A in late 2019, via Cinema Blend, Gunn spoke about how challenging his movies have been when he was asked what the most challenging one was for him to work on. While he noted something difficult about both Guardians movies and his eventual work on The Suicide Squad, he nailed down Guardians 2 as the biggest challenge for him overall:
"They’re all challenging. Super was physically brutal - so much movie and so little time to shoot it. [Guardians of the Galaxy] Vol. 1 was scary because I didn’t know if people would get the vibe. [Guardians of the Galaxy] Vol. 2 was the hardest because of my mental state. [The Suicide] Squad is the most complex and biggest but also the most fun so far. So I guess overall Vol. 2."
Gunn Giving Less of a F*** For Guardians 3
James Gunn is a Hollywood pro who's developed a set style over the years, one which he's pretty firmly stuck to since he first took on the Guardians of the Galaxy in their big-screen debut. From keeping a list of names that he won't work with to getting honest about what's happening with production on his movies, the director is never at a loss for words.
With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Gunn shared his journey toward not caring as much about the small things with his work, especially with fan criticism towards superhero projects becoming more visible with each passing year. It certainly helps that he puts so much preparation into every detail that goes into his movies, which should be even more the case with how long Guardians 3 has been in development before its release.
With the movie still eight months from its theatrical release, only time will tell exactly how Gunn's adjusted process will translate into the work done on Guardians 3, which should be the team's biggest adventure to date. Considering this movie introduces both Adam Warlock and the High Evolutionary alongside the iconic team, fans are already looking forward to seeing what Gunn has in store.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 premieres in theaters on May 5, 2023.