Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana are among the stars of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise who have said that they want James Gunn back for the third installment. That comes as Deadline reports that Disney and Marvel are considering offering a reprieve to Gunn. The Deadline article says that there is a Marvel contingent that is lobbying for Disney to reinstate Gunn, based on the cast announcing their loyalty to Gunn. Dave Bautista went so far as to say he wouldn’t return in his role as Drax if Gunn didn’t direct.
In July 2018, Gunn was fired after helming the first two movies in the series. Gunn’s Twitter page was targeted by right-wing personality Mike Cernovich. There were multiple reports that the targeting came because of Gunn’s constant criticism of U.S. President Donald Trump and a Twitter beef Gunn had with right-wing commentator Ben Shapiro.
Cernovich unearthed a trove of tasteless jokes about pedophilia, AIDS, rape, 9/11 and the Holocaust. Disney Chairman Alan Horn said in a statement announcing Gunn’s firing:
The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him.
Some of the controversial tweets read:
I like when little boys touch me in my silly place.
The best thing about being raped is when you’re done being raped and it’s like ‘whew this feels great, not being raped!’
The Expendables was so manly I f***ed the shit out of the little pussy boy next to me! The boys ARE back in town.
“Eagles Snatches Kid” is what I call it when I get lucky.
I’m doing a big Hollywood film adaptation of The Giving Tree with a happy ending – the tree grows back and gives the kid a blowjob.
In a statement after the tweets were unearthed, Gunn wrote on Twitter:
Many people who have followed my career know when I started, I viewed myself as a provocateur, making movies and telling jokes that were outrageous and taboo. As I have discussed publicly many times, as I’ve developed as a person, so has my work and my humor.
It’s not to say I’m better, but I am very, very different than I was a few years ago; today I try to root my work in love and connection and less in anger. My days saying something just because it’s shocking and trying to get a reaction are over.
For the record, when I made these shocking jokes, I wasn’t living them out. I know this is a weird statement to make, and seems obvious, but, still, here I am, saying it.
Anyway, that’s the completely honest truth: I used to make a lot of offensive jokes. I don’t anymore. I don’t blame my past self for this, but I like myself more and feel like a more full human being and creator today. Love you to you all.
According to Variety, Gunn’s two Guardians of the Galaxy movies grossed a total of $1.6 billion.
On July 30, Chris Pratt, the star of the Guardians franchise released a statement of support to Gunn on Instagram. The statement read in part, “We were all shocked by his abrupt firing last week and have intentionally waited these ten days to respond in order to think, pray, listen, and discuss. Being in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies has been a great honor in each of our lives. We cannot let this moment pass without expressing our love, support and gratitude for James. We are not here to defend his jokes of many years ago but rather to share our experience having spent many years together on set making Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2: