James Gunn is back where he belongs. Disney and Marvel Studios have reportedly rehired Gunn as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The filmmaker was fired last summer from the project after a series of old, offensive tweets resurfaced online. This put Disney in a precarious place and they opted to remove Gunn from the project. However, after months of waiting to hear who might be tapped to helm the sequel instead, it's come back full circle and landed back in Gunn's hands.
According to a new report, after several meetings with Disney Studios president Alan Horn, James Gunn was rehired. The decision was not made lightly and was ultimately arrived at given how Gunn handled the aftermath of the situation, offering a sincere apology for his old comments and taking full responsibility for his comments. Another key factor is that Gunn never engaged in any of the behavior he discussed in those old tweets, which were attempted humor dealing with subjects such as pedophilia. The comments were made years ago and were dug up by conservative bloggers who disagreed with Gunn's outspoken political views on social media.
The reinstatement has reportedly been confirmed, though not publically, by both Marvel and James Gunn's representatives. This is surely welcome news for many fans, as well as the cast. Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and particularly Dave Bautista were all very critical of Disney for firing Gunn in the first place. The entire core cast penned an open letter petitioning to have him reinstated that, at the time, seemed to fall on deaf ears. Many others in Hollywood defended Gunn as well. A fan petition also circulated last year and gained thousands of signatures to have Gunn reinstated.
Interestingly, James Gunn was hired by Warner Bros. in the aftermath of the Disney situation to write and direct Suicide Squad 2, now going under the title The Suicide Squad, which is set to enter production later this year and will be released in 2021. Word is that Gunn will still direct his DC adaptation and then he will circle back to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 once his commitments there are over with. So, Gunn will firmly have his feet in both camps, which adds a pretty fascinating extra wrinkle to this whole thing.
Marvel has been quiet in regards to their plans with Guardians 3 as of late. It was confirmed by Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige that they were still going to use James Gunn's script, but a production timeline wasn't established. Originally, the movie was going to shoot in January of this year. Another interesting note in this new report is that the studio apparently never met with any other directors for the job, despite quite a few rumors floating around.
This means we're likely not going to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 for quite some time, but considering that James Gunn is the man that made this franchise what it is by writing and directing the first two installments, it certainly seems better to wait for him. And it's pretty amazing that Disney is giving him a second chance. We'll be sure to keep you posted as any further details are made available. This news was first reported by Deadline.