New reports from Tinsel Town say the studio has stopped production and the crew have been told to look for other work.
Guardians 3 was already in pre-production with full production planned for the autumn and filming expected to start in the New Year.
Although there was no formal release date, the movie was widely expected to take one of the three Marvel slots reveserved on 2020, most likely the August one.
Now fans are facing the prospect the conclusion of Gunn’s trilogy may be years away.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the bad news today.
It said: “The production of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is being put on hold for the time being as Marvel and Disney regroup on the project, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.
“Sources say that crew members, which is, at this stage, a small group that was prepping for preproduction, are being dismissed and are free to look for new work.”
The knock on effect will also potentially have major ramifications for the returning stars of the franchise.
It certainly implies Disney is not confident it will be able to meet the current production schedules and find a new director who will either work with Gunn’s existing script or craft one of their own.
The Hollywood Reporters quoted their source who said: “The timeline has been pushed out.”
The film is an ensemble piece featuring a tight-knit team, which means it needs all its main stars to be available for filming at the same time. Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana have become major stars while Dave Bautista and Karen Gillan are increasingly in demand in Hollywood.
The full cast has alrady called for Gun’s reinstatement and Bautista has relentlessly and publicly attacked Disney’s position
Disney must find a new director, decide on the plot and script and then lock in a cast with busy schedules.
The other main cast members, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper, are arguably the highest profile but they have voice roles which can be more flexibly fitted aroud other commitments.
If Disney are using Gunn’s script they may have already started approaching potential new cast members. If a new script comes into play the whole process will start from scratch.
Although the Hollywood Reporter says one source categorises the hold as “temporary” and a “regrouping”, the logistics of the situation mean fans should not look to a 2020 release date any more with any confidence.