As has been widely reported this week, James Gunn has been removed by Disney from the production of the upcoming final film of the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy.
It was supposed to be the ultimate film cameo. Few have ever felt so perfect than the meeting of a 70s music idol and a film that so unashamedly celebrates the decade.
In many ways, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 feels like the superhero film that its director, James Gunn, always wanted to make. Back in 2014, the first in this soon-to-be-trilogy was widely regarded as a bit of a risk for Marvel, its titular protagonists being a lesser known team of heroes than the Avengers. It did, however – aiming squarely for a joie-de-vive tone and a whole galaxy of mainstream fun – prove to be a rip roaring success. Such features are largely carried over into Vol. 2 (does this mean Guardians of the Galaxy is retrospectively Vol.1 now?), yet, with a soundtrack drawn more deeply from the nostalgia catalogue than the recognisable hits that peppered the former and a focus on character development over heightened stakes, Gunn’s is a more prominent and untethered directorial hand this time around.