James Gunn will get the chance to finish out his Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy.
Eight months after Disney fired the director from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 following the resurfacing of old, offensive tweets, the studio has reversed course. Deadline has confirmed that Marvel, Disney, and Gunn have come to an agreement to reinstate the filmmaker for the project.
The drama began when, in apparent retaliation for Gunn’s critiques of President Trump, conservative journalists like Jack Posobiec dug up highly objectionable tweets the filmmaker posted as far back as 2009. Included in the offending messages were jokes about pedophilia, rape, and transphobia. Deeming the remarks “inconsistent with our studio’s values,” Disney abruptly severed ties with Gunn.
That was back in July of 2018, and in August, it seemed clear there were no plans to rehire the GotG screenwriter/director. However, Deadline reports that discussions to bring Gunn back have been going on for months. Apparently, Walt Disney Studios president Alan Horn met with Gunn on numerous occasions. The studio head was impressed with the filmmaker’s humility and honesty in handling the situation; Gunn publicly apologized twice, taking full responsibility for what he called “stupid, not at all funny, wildly insensitive” jokes made during a time when he was trying to be “provocative.” He never took a defensive position, and never put Disney in the crosshairs, tactics which helped persuade Horn to give him a second chance.
For what it’s worth, many of the folks at Marvel were always in favor of keeping Gunn, including studio mastermind Kevin Feige. The GotG cast — Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, and others — issued an open letter of support of their leader in the days following Gunn’s initial firing. Dave Bautista, who plays Drax in the series, was especially vocal, even going so far as threatening to quit the film if Gunn wasn’t brought back.
A month after the firing, Disney and Marvel put GotGv3 on hold, though word was they still planned on using Gunn’s “off the chain” script. Though Horn had decided to rehire Gunn months ago, things became more difficult when the filmmaker signed on to write and direct The Suicide Squad for Warner Bros./DC Films. However, despite rumors that Taika Waititi and Adam McKay were considered among replacements for Gunn, it seems no one was ever approached about taking over the job. So that all parties involved are satisfied, Marvel has agreed to hold production on GotGv3 until after The Suicide Squad wraps.
The DC sequel is set for a August 2021 release, so it will be some time before we get a follow-up to 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Even so, seeing Gunn finish out his wildly enjoyable and successful trilogy will surely be worth the wait for fans and cast alike. After all, the films center around a group of misfits looking for redemption, so what better conclusion to the behind-the-scenes story could there possibly be than the series’ driving creative force getting a second chance after owning up to a terrible mistake?
In his first tweet since the scandal broke last summer, Gunn has issued a statement regarding his reinstatement:
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) March 15, 2019