Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is going to need a new director as Disney stands firm in its decision to fire James Gunn. The two parties have had meetings since Gunn was removed from the Marvel sequel. But he was unable to convince the studio that he should return.
Both Marvel and the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 cast pushed hard to have James Gunn reinstated. He was removed from the project after a series of tasteless tweets resurfaced that made jokes about child rape, pedophilia, racism, 9/11 and the holocaust. Some of the tweets date back ten years, but many were written by Gunn when he was 40 years old, and not a young man just starting out. He was already fully established in the film industry when he made a lot of these offensive statements, which many believe is part of the reason Disney won't budge on their final decision.
James Gunn and Disney studio chairman Alan Horn recently met to see if some kind of crossroads could be reached, putting Gunn back in the director's seat. This came after the entire cast had signed an open letter asking that Gunn be reinstated as director of Guardians 3. And a petition had made the rounds, signed by thousands of fans and supported by others in the entertainment industry. Bobcat Goldthwait even told Disney to remove his voice from an upcoming ride at Disney Parks in a stand of solidarity. But the outpouring of support did nothing to change Disney's mind about the situation.
When the controversy first erupted thanks to what are being called alt-right agitators, Disney was swift in bringing down the axe, and many cried that there was no due diligence. But Disney, who claim to be a family friendly studio first an foremost, found James Gunn's past behavior to be completely unacceptable in this era of the #MeToo and Times Up movements.
Variety exclusively reports that Gunn and his UTA reps really went at Disney hard, pushing for a second chance. It's stated that Horn only took the meeting with Gunn out of courtesy and to clear the air with the filmmaker about what went down and why. The meeting is being described as civil and professional. But Horn refused to give in to Gunn's wishes for gainful employment with his company.
Where was Marvel in all this? Apparently Marvel boss Kevin Feige was conveniently out of town tending to other duties and not able to attend this fateful meeting. Though Marvel was also pushing to get Gunn back in the family, Kevin Feige reportedly stands firmly by Disney's decision to not rehire James Gunn for the third installment of the Guardians franchise. There are rumors that Marvel and Gunn will work together again on a future project.
At this time, spokespeople for Disney and Marvel are staying quiet. Once Kevin Feige arrives back in town, Disney and Marvel will intensify their search for a new Guardians director. The third chapter in this sprawling sci-fi franchise, which is also connected to Infinity War and Avengers 4 is set to start shooting in early 2019. It isn'y yet known if James Gunn's firing has set everything off track, or if the sequel need to be slightly delayed. If so, it won't be by much as Marvel keeps their machine rolling forward into the future with Phase 4.
Inside sources have stressed that Marvel intends to use James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 script. That's not so certain now. Dave Bautista, who plays Drax the Destroyer, famously stated that he'd walk away from the movie and his Marvel contract if Gunn's script was trashed. It appears that whoever steps into fill the slot left by disgraced auteur James Gunn will be reworking the screenplay to fit their own sensibilities. But it's likely that huge portions of the story will remain intact.