A petition asking that Disney rehire James Gunn for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is catching on. The petition was started by someone going by the name of Chandler Edwards on Change.org in the wake of Disney's decision to fire the filmmaker following a series of tweets from as far back as ten years ago that made light of offensive topics such as rape and 9/11. These are jokes that Gunn apologized for back in 2012, but the recent backlash was too much for Disney to ignore.
As of this writing, 6,543 people have signed the petition. It's also been shared by The Grey director Joe Carnahan and Ant-Man and the Wasp star David Dastmalchian. His tweet was liked by Mark Hamill, who was possibly going to discuss a role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 with James Gunn. Chandler Edwards states in his petition, "I'm smart enough to know this most likely won't change anything but hopefully, this could get Disney to realize the mistake they made and not do it again in the future."
Since James Gunn was fired, he's has seen a lot of support outside of this petition. Sean Gunn, who starred in both of the previous Guardians of the Galaxy movies, wrote a lengthy post on Twitter in defense of his brother. Dave Bautista, who plays Drax in the MCU, also Tweeted out his support for Gunn and his disagreement with Disney's decision. Here's some more of what Edwards had to say in his petition.
"I agree on the point that if people say a bunch of stupid s*** while working for a studio, the studio has full right to fire him over the possible controversy. This situation is very different though as he made these jokes years before he was working for Disney and also the fact that they were jokes. I agree with most, including Gunn himself that the jokes were shitty and un-funny but they were still jokes, it wasn't an opinion or a statement, it was just a bad attempt at being funny."
Part of the issue in the eyes of those defending James Gunn is that the tweets are not only old, but that he has acknowledged and apologized for them previously and hasn't said anything, at least not publically, along those same lines in years. Not only that, but the tweets only resurfaced after they were dug up by conservative bloggers who disagree with Gunn's political beliefs, which he's often outspoken about on Twitter.
Chandler Edwards concedes that the petition likely won't change much. "If Marvel would come to their senses and re-hire Gunn that would be great but if all we can do is have proof by your signatures that Disney made a mistake i would still count that as a win," he says. Disney chairman Alan Horn referred to James Gunn's statements as "indefensible." It's unlikely this petition will actually change things, but it does add another interesting layer to this situation. You can check out the petition for yourself over at Change.org