As if the Marvel Cinematic Universe didn’t have enough going on, James Gunn has been rehired to direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Deadline reported. Eight months after the writer-director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 was fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, following resurfaced offensive tweets in July 2018, Gunn was invited back to the franchise, his reps confirmed to Bustle. (Bustle also reached out to Marvel and Disney for comment, but has not yet heard back.)
Gunn took to Twitter on Friday to thank fans and Disney/Marvel for their support following his reinstatement. He wrote:
Walt Disney Studios originally parted ways with Gunn after a series of offensive, old tweets dating back to 2009 resurfaced in July 2018. Alt-right media figures began sharing screenshots of Gunn’s alleged tweets — which contained homophobic and crude content — and calling for Marvel to take action. Shortly after, on July 20, Walt Disney Studios fired Gunn and released the following statement from Walt Disney Studios’ Chairman Alan Horn: "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."
Gunn responded to the firing in a statement obtained by Bustle, in which he apologized for the content of the tweets:
Gunn’s firing divided fans at the time, particularly after actors from the Guardians cast — Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, and Dave Bautista — signed an open letter of support for Gunn, which they shared on social media a few days later on July 23. the letter urged Disney and Marvel to rehire Gunn, but did not appear to result in any immediate action. Development on the third film in the Guardians trilogy stalled, and, according to Deadline, filmmakers Adam McKay Taika Waititi were once speculated to direct the third film, but no official talks ever happened.
By January, 2019, Gunn was hired by DC Studios to helm Suicide Squad 2, which has an August 6, 2021 release date. Upon Gunn’s rehiring on Friday, March 15, Deadline reported that Marvel will hold off Guardians 3 production until after Gunn has completed his duties in the DC universe.
Twitter’s reaction to Gunn’s reinstatement has come strong and swift, with Gunn’s name, as well as "Guardians of the Galaxy 3," trending on the social media platform. Some fans are excited about the news, celebrating Gunn’s ability to finish out the Guardians franchise he began in 2014.
But other fans are upset about his return to Marvel and expressed this via social media.
One Twitter user even calling out the disparity in fan reaction between comments made by Gunn and Captain Marvel star Brie Larson, who requested to have a more inclusive press tour for her film.
While other Twitter users seem to want to steer clear of the conversation all together.
With James Gunn back on board the Guardians franchise, and the influence Marvel wields on the entertainment landscape, this news could set a precedent for what kind of tweets are accepted and tolerated by major studios. In the meantime, Gunn will be hard at work on two new superhero flicks.
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