Well, this is an unexpected development. Last July, Disney fired James Gunn as director of Guardians of the Galaxy 3 over his resurfaced controversial tweets. These were objectively bad tweets, yes, but there was nearly as much backlash against Disney (Bobcat Goldthwait did a fair job of summarizing the apparent hypocrisy from the House of Mouse) and Marvel Studios over the decision as there initially was against Gunn. Not to mention that this happened as a result of a far-right campaign against the vocal Trump opponent. However, Gunn then got scooped up by Marvel Studios rivals DC Comics and Warner Bros. Pictures to write and helm a Suicide Squad relaunch, but now it seems that Disney has circled back to Gunn.
Redemption and second chances have long been superhero movie staples, and today it looks like life has imitated art. I’ve learned that Disney has reinstated James Gunn as the writer-director of Guardians of the Galaxy 3, and I’ve confirmed it with Marvel and Gunn’s camp.
Fleming continues to detail how the decision from Disney was actually made months ago (possibly around the time word spread that Gunn appeared for meetings to discuss the rehiring) and inspired by his low-key, seemingly genuine apology, but matters grew complicated with Gunn’s hiring by Warner Bros. and DC. Still, he received support from his Guardians cast, especially Dave Bautista, who threw down and threatened to quit. Not only that, but Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi — the only current Marvel director who could have pulled off a tone similar to Gunn’s — flat-out denied that he’d ever take on Guardians 3 while insisting, “Those are James (Gunn)’s films.”
Of course, there’s obviously a lingering question here: where will James Gunn will find the time anytime soon to direct his existing Guardians 3 script? He’s going to be tied up for the foreseeable future with The Suicide Squad, for which he’s doing a substantial retooling, and that movie’s coming out on August 6, 2021. Meanwhile, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige recently admitted that Guardians 3 fell off the priority list and would land nowhere close to its previously announced May 1, 2020 release date. In other words, don’t expect Star-Lord to ruin everything again anytime soon, although there’s a chance that he’ll still manage to do that in Avengers: Endgame.
Gunn has now issued a message of gratitude on Twitter — he’s thanking his supporters and “deeply appreciate[s] Disney’s decision.”
And the fan celebrations have officially begun…