The Guardians of the Galaxy cast have released an open letter in support of James Gunn. Disney recently fired Gunn as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. This came after some old tweets James Gunn posted years ago resurfaced that made light of topics such as 9/11 and pedophilia. The filmmaker had previously addressed the tweets in 2012 and apologized for them at the time and once again apologized after they resurfaced. However, Disney quickly let him go. In the time since, many have come out ins support of Gunn. Now, the core cast of the Guardians movies has made a full statement regarding the situation.
Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Karen Gillan, Sean Gunn, Vin Diesel, Pom Klementieff and Michael Rooker all signed and shared the recently released open letter. "If you please, read the statement written and signed by The Guardians of the Galaxy cast in support of James Gunn's reinstatement as director of GOTG Volume 3," said Zoe Saldana on Twitter. Here's what they collectively had to say.
"We fully support James Gunn. We were all shocked by his abrupt firing last week and have intentionally waited these ten days to respond in order to think, pray, listen, and discuss. In that time, we've been encouraged by the outpouring of support from fans and members of the media who wish to see James reinstated as director of Volume 3 as well as discouraged by those so easily duped into believing the many outlandish conspiracy theories surrounding him. Being in the 'Guardians of the Galaxy' movies has been a great honor in each of our lives. We cannot let this moment pass without expressing our love, support, and gratitude for James. We are not here to defend his jokes of many years ago but rather to share our experience having spent many years together on set making Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2. The character he has shown in the wake of his firing is consistent with the man he was every day on set, and his apology, now and from years ago when first addressing these remarks, we believe is from the heart, a heart we all know, trust, and love. In casting each of us to help him tell the story of misfits who find redemption, he changed our lives forever. We believe the theme of redemption has never been more relevant than now."
Dave Bautista was the first of the cast members to speak out on James Gunn's behalf in the wake of his firing, but Chris Pratt and others followed suit. It was clear they had more to say on the matter, as evidenced by this letter. They all have a great deal of love for Gunn. None of them are defending the jokes he made, however, they acknowledge that he is clearly not the same man these days and has changed for the better.
In addition to the Guardians cast members, a Change.org petition gained more than 335,000 signatures calling for Disney to reinstate James Gunn as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Filmmaker Joe Carnahan, actress Selma Blair and Ant-Man and the Wasp star David Dastmalchian all signed the petition. The open letter released by the cast concludes as follows.
"Each of us looks forward to working with our friend James again in the future. His story isn't over not by a long shot. There is little due process in the court of public opinion. James is likely not the last good person to be put on trial. Given the growing political divide in this country, it's safe to say instances like this will continue, although we hope Americans from across the political spectrum can ease up on the character assassinations and stop weaponizing mob mentality. It is our hope that what has transpired can serve as an example for all of us to realize the enormous responsibility we have to ourselves and to each other regarding the use of our written words when we etch them in digital stone; that we as a society may learn from this experience and in the future will think twice before we decide what we want to express; and in so learning perhaps can harness this capability to help and heal instead of hurting each other. Thank you for taking the time to read our words."
This puts Disney in a precarious situation. Clearly, the cast members set to appear in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 aren't going to be content to just saddle up with a new director. The movie was set to begin production in January, with James Gunn having recently completed work on the script. At this point even if Disney doesn't bring Gunn back, they're at the very least going to have to address the situation further. You can check out the full letter from Zoe Saldana's Twitter account for yourself below.