Fans are getting aggressive in their demands for Disney and Marvel to rehire James Gunn back for the delayed sequel Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. They have now crowdfunded a billboard demanding the disgraced director be given his old job back, and it sits right next to Disneyland. Too bad for them, James Gunn has moved on to his next gig already, writing and most likely directing Suicide Squad 2. So this isn't necessarily money well spent.
Disney has made it quite well known that they have absolutely no intention of hiring James Gunn back in any capacity, though they may still use his Guardians 3 script. Marvel fully backs their decision. That hasn't stopped fans from crying for his return these past couple of months. And now a group of hardcore Gunnheads are showing off their appreciation for Gunn's work in the biggest way possible.
A digital billboard suddenly popped up in Garden Grove this past Monday, located just 4 miles away from the Happiest Place on Earth. This Disneyland adjacent billboard was paid in full by a GoFundMe campaign, and should strike anyone who's seen Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as familiar. The billboard screams this at everyone who passes by in big bold letters.
"Save the Galaxy: James Gunn for Vol. 3."
The GoFundMe campaign launched last month, and it raised over $5,000 in support of the director, who got in trouble for old Tweets that 'joked' about pedophilia, rape, the holocaust and 9/11. While some like to point out that these tweets were posted 'early in James Gunn's career', he was reaching middle age when he wrote most of them, and they are not the work of a young man just getting his sea legs on social media. He did write them before he was part of the Disney family, though, and he has since apologized for his rude behavior.
One of the masterminds behind this glowing billboard is 29-year-old Ohio Chef Giuseppe Cincinnato, who wanted to show that his campaign was not just about empty online outrage over the incident. He goes onto say this about the filmmaker and the situation James Gunn locked himself into.
"We really love Gunn as both a creator and the man we've seen him mature into. Even if this wasn't going to cause Disney to see their mistake, we could at least show James Gunn how much support he has in his corner of the galaxy."
The group behind RehireJamesGunn.com paid the billboard company $4,000 for the ad. It will burn bright into the night from now until November 25, giving Disneyland tourists some time to stare at as they sit in traffic waiting to get into the Haunted Mansion retrofitted with The Nightmare Before Christmas paraphernalia. The group is continuing to raise money with the hopes that they can rent out an even bigger billboard around Christmas time. The intention is to get the next one even closer to Disneyland. Hmm, did Dave Bautista help fund this all himself?
If you live in Los Angeles and the Orange County area and want to get a look at this billboard yourself, you can view it from the California 22 eastbound freeway before the Harbor Blvd. exit. The billboard is at 13541 Newhope St. You should probably take it in and enjoy it for what it's worth, the billboard was actually a lot harder to get going than Chef Cincinnato ever expected.
"I've probably sent hundreds of emails, hundreds of phone calls. Hundreds of text messages to so many companies and rep. We definitely hit a few hiccups."
Shortly after Gunn was fired by Disney from Guardians of the Galaxy 3, the entire cast gathered to sign a petition letter asking that the studio rehire the director. That all fell on deaf ears, much like this billboard is going to. There was also a change.org petition that garnered the signatures of 400,000 fans, which generated nothing more than a yawn from the higher-ups at Disney. Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger said this of the firing and refusal to rehire Gunn.
"The James Gunn decision was brought to me as a unanimous decision of a variety of executives at the studio and I supported it. I haven't second-guessed their decision."
James Gunn clearly isn't getting rehired at Disney to helm Guardians of the Galaxy 3. He's already accepted his fate with Marvel and has moved onto pen the Suicide Squad 2 script, which Michael Rooker recently confirmed Gunn was directing. Cincinnato knows the chances are slim to none that Gunn will be invited back, but he is still holding out hope that the studio takes a few moments to 'reevaluate' the situation before officially announcing a new director.
It's been rumored that Disney plans on saving their Guardians franchise by hiring a female director. But that hasn't been confirmed by anyone actually associated with the studio. The sequel is on indefinite hold, and likely won't shoot until 2021. Says the master chef.
"If nothing comes of this, at least we met some amazing people and we did what's right for James and showed how important he is for us."
As expected, Disney is turning a blind eye to the billboard for the time being. The Hollywood Reporter, who gathered the original quotes from the Chef, did reach out to Disney. The studio ignored them and did not bother responding.