James Gunn didn't know Thor was joining the Guardians of the Galaxy, so he's glad Taiki Waititi solved the problem for him.
James Gunn has been hitting the press rounds recently promoting his final installation into the Marvel cinematic universe, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. According to a write-up by Insider, James Gunn has Taika Waititi to thank for alleviating his biggest headache going into the film: what to do with Chris Hemsworth’s Thor. Thor departed with the Guardians team at the end of 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, with many fans believing he would stay on as a member of the ensemble cast for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, much to the chagrin of James Gunn.
According to comments made in a recent Rolling Stone interview, Gunn never knew Thor would be joining the Guardians after the events of Endgame, and had never planned for him to be involved in the story of his third volume in the franchise. James Gunn then went on to explain that Taika Waititi’s return to the Marvel franchise with the critically panned Thor: Love and Thunder was his saving grace for removing the titular hero from the equation, freeing Gunn to make his film how he had initially planned. This news comes as a surprise to many fans, who had been looking forward to seeing future interactions between Star-Lord and the God of Thunder after their hilarious back-and-forth during Avengers: Endgame.
Infinity War and Endgame took place after James Gunn’s first two Guardians of the Galaxy films and Taika Waititi’s first foray into the comic book genre, Thor: Ragnarok, with each director’s work widely regarded as franchise highlights within the cinematic universe. By pairing Thor with Chris Pratt‘s Peter Quill and company, the creative minds behind Marvel likely expected to offload the third installment of Guardians of the Galaxy to another director, as James Gunn had been fired from Disney at the time of Endgame‘s release.
Gunn’s firing came after a series of tasteless jokes emerged from decades past on the internet, causing Disney to cut ties with the filmmaker in a media frenzy spurring many fans and Marvel actors to threaten not to return to future installments of the MCU. Drax actor Dave Bautista was amongst the most vocal of the pro-James Gunn crowd, plainly stating to the public that he would refuse to return if Gunn was not reinstated and allowed to conclude his Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy. As we now know, James Gunn was eventually permitted to continue working with Marvel studios.
With James Gunn taking his final Marvel bow next month, it seems clear that Taika Waititi helped to alleviate his frustrations by removing Thor from the guardianship of the Guardian’s ship, allowing Gunn’s final film in the franchise to move forward as intended.