Weekly Round Up: James Gunn, Anne Hathaway, Scooby-Doo

Anne Hathaway

There’s only one piece of news to report this week. Well, I mean, there isn’t. There’s several. But there’s only one that matters. That’s right, you guessed it! Disney have officially rehired James Gunn as the writer/director of Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3. Justice has been done. Isn’t it nice when sense prevails?

For those of you who don’t know – and I assume there are at least some of you – James Gunn was unfairly fired by Disney last year when decades old tweets surfaced that were deemed “controversial” and a faux outrage campaign was orchestrated against the director by alt-right morons in an effort to take him down due to his vocal anti-Trump stance.

Disney acted rashly and, failing to realise that the outrage was clearly fake, let Gunn go.

The news of Gunn’s firing was met with criticism by the film community and fans of Gunn’s work, and while rumours persisted that Thor: Ragnorak’s Taika Waititi would take the helm of the threequel, another director was never officially put in place.

Since then Gunn has signed on to writer and direct DC’s upcoming Suicide Squad sequel, which is titled… um, The Suicide Squad (because apparently adding the world “the” to the front of something makes it sound more impressive or something). Gunn will reportedly return to cap off his Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy after production has finished on The Suicide Squad, meaning the only thing those alt-right haters have achieved is securing the writer/director a second franchise to oversee.

Well done, alt-righters, well done.

For me, this is good news. I’ve enjoyed Gunn’s career so far and I’m a fan of his work on the Guardians of the Galaxy films. It’s sort of like having my cake and eating it too, since, as disappointed as I was by Disney’s decision to let him go, I’ve been cautiously optimistic about his involvement in The Suicide Squad. The fact that this new development means we get both movies with Gunn in the director’s chair is pretty fantastic, I think. So… yay!

In other Marvel news, we got some interesting developments regards new movies coming out post-Avengers: Endgame. While the studio has yet to officially announce release dates for anything beyond Spider-man: Far From Home (which will be coming out July of this year), we do know that their slate of upcoming movies is looking rather impressive.

With the long-rumoured Black Widow solo-outing taking its place alongside The Eternals, Doctor Strange 2 (which I sincerely hope will be called Doctor Strange 2: Doctor Stranger), Ms. Marvel and Shang Chi: Master of Kung Fu.

This week saw director Destin Daniel Cretton giving the job of directing Shang Chi, suggesting that Marvel are likely fast-tracking production of the movie for a 2021 release date.

It seems Marvel are taking a Black Panther-esque approach to this one, with Cretton being Hawaiian, while screenwriter Dave Callaham is of Chinese-America descent. Cretton joining the project also raises questions concerning Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel, and the likelihood that she will be appearing in Shang Chi, since the actress has appeared in all of Cretton’s movies to date. It would make sense since the Marvel Cinematic Universe head-honcho, Kevin Fiege, has said on several occasions that Larson’s Captain Marvel is being set-up as the new face of the MCU following the end of Downey Jr’s contract.

Meanwhile, away from comic book movies for a second, Warner Bros. seem to be taking the somewhat disappointing box-office takings of The LEGO Movie: The Second Part as a cue to move away from their plans to develop a Minecraft movie, as well as further big screen LEGO outings, in favour of big screen adaptations of classic cartoons.

Already on their slate for 2020/2021 is the likes of Scooby-Doo, Rugrats and DC Super Pets, but this week saw them add two more family friendly movies to their schedule.

First up is a live-action musical feature based on Sesame Street, which will reportedly star none other than Anne Hathaway, presumably alongside the iconic puppets from the show. The second is the rumoured live-action/animation hybrid Tom and Jerry, which was given an April 16, 2021 release date.

As a big fan of the Tom and Jerry cartoons, I’m excited and nervous to see what comes from this one. I hope they focus on the antics of the title characters and take care to keep them as close to their original appearance and personalities as possible (the last thing I want is a Tom and Jerry movie where they talk and hang out together). I’m going to make a decision now and say I’m excited for this one.

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Alex Secker is a writer/director/editor. His debut feature film, the micro-budget thriller Follow the Crows, won Best Independent Film at the Global Film Festival Awards, while his stage-play, The Door, won the People’s Choice Award at the 2017 Swinge Festival.