Disney has reinstated James Gunn to direct the third Guardians of the Galaxy movie after firing him from the film last July. Since then, Walt Disney Studios president Alan Horn met with Gunn multiple times and based on Gunn’s public apology and his response to the situation, Horn was convinced to reverse the decision and bring Gunn back to the project. Both Marvel and Gunn’s team have confirmed his return to the MCU, reports Deadline.
Gunn tweeted to confirm the news writing, “I am tremendously grateful to every person out there who has supported me over the past few months. I am always learning and will continue to work at being the best human being I can be. I deeply appreciate Disney’s decision and I am excited to continue making films that investigate the ties of love that bind us all. I have been, and continue to be incredibly humbled by your love and support. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Love to you all.”
Why Was James Gunn Fired in the First Place?
Gunn was originally fired by Disney after alt-right journalists dug up and re-shared a series of old social media posts in which he made distasteful jokes about pedophilia, homophobia, and rape. Rather than taking a defensive stand on the decision, Gunn blamed himself and his poor judgment for the firing, not once lashing out at the corporate giant for cutting ties with him.
“My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative,” Gunn said in an official statement. “I have regretted them for many years since — not just because they were stupid, not at all funny, wildly insensitive, and certainly not provocative like I had hoped, but also because they don’t reflect the person I am today or have been for some time.
“Regardless of how much time has passed, I understand and accept the business decisions taken today,” said Gunn. “Even these many years later, I take full responsibility for the way I conducted myself then.”
Prior to the actual firing, Gunn shared his thoughts about the resurfaced posts via this Twitter thread.
Disney and Marvel Had No One Else In Mind to Replace Gunn on the Project
In the months following Gunn’s absence, neither Marvel nor Disney considered any other director for Guardians of the Galaxy 3 despite rumors that Thor: Ragnarok‘s Taika Waititi might replace him. Waititi was quick to squash those rumors saying, “For me, those are James [Gunn]’s films. Going into something like that with his stamp all over his films would be like going into someone’s house and saying ‘Hey, I’m your new dad, and this is how we make peanut butter sandwiches now.’ It feels kind of awkward.”
Gunn’s Guardians cast will surely be pleased with the news. After his exit from the threequel, Chris Pratt, the leader of the Guardians squad, and the rest of the cast (including Zoey Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Sean Gunn, Michael Rooker, and Pom Klementieff) released a joint statement of support to Gunn on Instagram. Part of the statement read, “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.”
Guardians 3 Will Have to Wait Until Gunn Finishes His Other Superhero Sequel
Prior to his firing, Gunn had completed work on a script that Marvel confirmed would be used for the third Guardians installment. While fans can only assume Marvel will move forward with that same script, it’s going to be a while for its story to leap from page to screen. Gunn’s latest gig as writer-director of the upcoming Suicide Squad sequel for Warner Bros. and DC will likely delay Guardians 3; however, Marvel Studios has agreed to wait to begin production until after Gunn completes Suicide Squad 2.