Marvel Studios Announces First-Ever Guardians of the Galaxy Project Without James Gunn

By Jennifer McDonough Updated:
James Gunn, Guardians of the Galaxy

James Gunn, who previously worked closely with Marvel to develop the MCU’s Guardians of the Galaxy, was reportedly not involved with an upcoming Guardians-focused project.

The Guardians of the Galaxy, those lovable spacefaring misfits, owe much of their mainstream popularity to one man: James Gunn.

Of course, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and the team at Marvel Studios had significant parts to play in making the group a household name, but the fact of the matter remains: when fans think of the Guardians, they think of Gunn.

But Gunn was fairly recently made co-CEO of DC Studios, making Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 his final project with Marvel. And so, it wouldn’t necessarily come as much of a shock that any future MCU Guardians stories would be made without his involvement.

MCU Guardians Moving Forward With No James Gunn

Groot, Marvel Studios

Season 2 of the quirky series of Marvel shorts, I Am Groot, has been announced to arrive on Disney+ on Wednesday, September 6. In the official production brief, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn’s name was nowhere to be found, indicating that I Am Groot’s sophomore run was made without his involvement. 

In contrast, Gunn was listed as an executive producer in the production brief for Season 1 of the streaming show, which arrived last year.

This makes I Am Groot the first Marvel Studios-created MCU project led by a Guardians of the Galaxy to not either produced or directed by James Gunn, who turned the galactic misfits into a household name with the Guardians trilogy he wrote and directed.

I Am Groot Season 2 also marks the first installment of the MCU to be released after James Gunn officially dove into his duties at DC Studios. On every other MCU project that featured the Guardians, he had some level of input. For example, Taika Waititi consulted him on the script for 2022’s Thor: Love and Thunder.

For reference’s sake, here’s the crew breakdown for I Am Groot Season 2

  • Writer/Director: Kirsten Lepore
  • Supervising Producer: Danielle Costa
  • Producers: Craig Rittenbaum, Alex Scharf
  • Executive Producers: Brad Winderbaum, Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Kirsten Lepore
  • Co-Executive Producer: Dana Vasquez-Eberhardt

How Gunn’s Absence Will Affect I Am Groot Season 2

As brief as I Am Groot Season 2 will be, one must wonder if James Gunn’s absence can be felt in the finished product.

Then again, it’s also something of a question of exactly how much say Gunn had in Season 1 of the series. Even as a producer on I Am Groot’s first season, Gunn implied that he didn’t entirely see the show as “part of the Guardians saga,” despite others’ claims to the contrary.  

So perhaps his lack of a sense of ownership over those episodes is a clue that he didn’t have much of a role behind the scenes?

Gunn stated on numerous occasions that he’s done with the MCU for the time being. Any new Guardians of the Galaxy story would be made by a different filmmaker and wouldn’t center on Peter Quill’s incarnation of the team.

It remains to be seen if the Guardians (likely the roster led by Rocket, as set up in Guardians 3’s mid-credits scene) will appear in something like Avengers: The Kang Dynasty. But given their enduring popularity, it certainly feels like Marvel will put them in another future project.

All five episodes of Marvel Studios’ I Am Groot Season 2 will drop on Disney+ on Wednesday, September 6

- In This Article: I Am Groot (Season 2)
Release Date
September 06, 2023
- About The Author: Jennifer McDonough
Jennifer McDonough has been a writer at The Direct since its 2020 launch. She is responsible for the creation of news articles and features. She also has a particular affinity for action figures and merchandise, which she revels in discussing in the articles she writes, when the situation calls for it.