James Gunn Failed to Get One Song In Guardians of the Galaxy 3

By Aeron Mer Eclarinal Updated:
James Gunn, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 logo

One of the many reasons why the Guardians of the Galaxy movies took off was due to the film's impressive playlist. James Gunn's two MCU blockbusters introduced the Awesome Mix playlists, collections of iconic songs from the '60s and '70s. Throughout the first two Guardians films, Gunn displayed his expertise in strategically placing songs at certain memorable moments, thus evoking deeper emotions. 

As the Guardians move into their next chapter, Vol. 3 is also expected to include more iconic songs, with Chris Pratt's Peter Quill inheriting a Zune at the end of the sequel. While it is still unknown how many and which songs are included in the new playlist, Gunn has previously confirmed that it will not include any modern songs since Quill left Earth as soon as he could after the events of Avengers: Endgame

Now, the Marvel and DC director has shared more details about the highly-anticipated Awesome Mix playlist of Vol. 3

Guardians of the Galaxy 3 Will Be Without a Chosen Song

Guardians of the Galaxy 3

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 director James Gunn revealed that he was unable to acquire the rights to one song in the Awesome Mix playlist from the upcoming threequel. 

When asked if he has ever been denied the use of a certain song in any of his films, Gunn shared that there have only been two times, one for DC's Peacemaker and another for Vol. 3. The Marvel filmmaker continued by pointing out that the song that he wanted for Vol. 3 was "in a legal battle over who owned it:" 

"I was denied use of 1 song for #Peacemaker (the band’s new lineup were bitter toward the previous lineup so wouldn’t okay an older tune) & 1 song I wanted for Vol 3 was in a legal battle over who owned it, so we didn’t even know who to negotiate with. Those are the only 2 times."

Another fan asked how much it usually costs to buy the rights to a song. Gunn responded by admitting that "it depends" on the situation:

"I’ve paid nothing, I’ve paid 75 bucks, and I’ve paid a million dollars. It depends."

James Gunn's Impressive Song Choices 

James Gunn has masterfully displayed his skill at picking the right choices of songs for his films, and it's safe to assume that he will continue to do so in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Even though Gunn has the talent for that, it's clear that there are still limitations on which song will be used for his films, considering legal issues and owner rights. 

In a previous interview, Gunn revealed that the hardest song to get rights for in his Guardians movies was Electric Light Orchestra's Mr. Blue Sky, mainly due to the fact the band was hesitant in giving approval after their song Livin' Thing for the first movie ended up on the cutting room floor.

Still, Gunn and Marvel Studios were able to use the song once the dust settled, meaning that negotiations finished smoothly behind the scenes. 

However, the same can't be said for this unnamed song that Gunn didn't get the rights to for Vol. 3. It is unknown if Gunn will reveal the title of the song, but there's a chance that he will do so in the future if he can tie up loose ends. 

This untitled track now joins David Bowie's Heroes as songs that will not be featured in Vol. 3. For now, fans can still listen to the 64-song lineup of "Meredith Quill's Complete Awesome Mix" while they wait for the threequel.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is set to premiere in theaters on May 5, 2023. 

- In This Article: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Release Date
May 05, 2023
- About The Author: Aeron Mer Eclarinal
Aeron is a news/features writer and Content Lead for The Direct who has been working for the site since March 2020. From writing about the inter-connectivity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to having an extended knowledge about DC TV's Arrowverse, Aeron's expertise has since expanded into the realm of reality TV, K-drama, animated, and live-action shows from Netflix,  Disney+, Prime Video, MGM+, Peacock, Paramount+, and Max. When he isn't writing and watching all things MCU, Aeron is heavily invested with the NBA (go Celtics!) and occasionally watches thrilling matches in the WWE.