Despite a groundswell of support, including a signed letter from the franchise’s main cast members, it’s unlikely that Disney will rehire James Gunn to direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
Variety reports that Disney is standing behind its decision to fire Gunn after a series of old offensive tweets from the filmmaker recently surfaced. According to multiple sources familiar with the studio’s line of thinking on this, both Disney and Marvel higher-ups feel that Gunn’s so-called jokes about pedophilia and rape are unacceptable in the #MeToo era and don’t align with Disney’s family-friendly image.
Many who had disagreed with Gunn’s firing were given hope earlier this week that the decision might be reversed when Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, and the rest of the GotG cast publicly endorsed the ousted filmmaker, but it looks like that is unlikely to sway either Disney Studios chief Alan Horn, who approved the firing, or his boss, company CEO Bob Iger, who weighed in on the final decision. “I don’t see Disney re-hiring him,” one person close to the matter told Variety. “Those tweets were so horrible and Disney has a different standard than other studios.”
Gunn’s nearly decade-old comments were resurfaced nearly two weeks ago by alt-right aggressors, including Mike Cernovich, the blogger behind the infamous Pizzagate scandal. Gunn’s supporters, while acknowledging that the filmmaker’s tweets were reprehensible, have pointed out the dangerous precedent that Disney’s decision may set if Cernovich and his ilk continue to run aggressive social media campaigns against other filmmakers in the hopes of damaging their careers (if you’re looking for a good write-up on the whole situation, Andrew Todd has written a great piece over on Birth.Movies.Death).
In the meantime, Disney reportedly feels no pressure to rush out and find a new director for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, but it’s looking like the film’s original February 2019 shooting start date will have to be pushed back.
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