Disney has reinstated James Gunn as the director of Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, reversing a decision to drop the filmmaker. Deadline was first to report the news, and Polygon has since confirmed the director’s return to the movie with Gunn’s representatives.
Gunn was fired by Disney in July 2018 after a series of offensive and controversial tweets were resurfaced and publicized by far-right internet trolls as part of a campaign to discredit the director. Gunn’s tweets, some of them a decade old, included jokes about rape and pedophilia.
At the time, Walt Disney chairman Alan Horn called Gunn’s tweets “offensive” and “indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values” in a statement announcing Gunn’s termination. But Gunn received widespread support from comedians and actors, including the cast of the Guardians of the Galaxy films, after he was fired, believing that Gunn was unfairly targeted by far-right activists with a political ax to grind. Actors Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Sean Gunn, Pom Klementieff, and Michael Rooker signed a joint statement saying they “fully support” Gunn, but did not specifically call for him to be reinstated by Disney.
In the intervening months, Gunn was hired to write and direct Suicide Squad 2 for Warner Bros. Gunn’s reps say Marvel will commence production on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after the director wraps up production of the next Suicide Squad film, which is set to hit movie theaters on Aug. 6, 2021.
Update (3:12 p.m.): On Twitter, Gunn expressed gratitude for the support he’s received from fans and colleagues. “I deeply appreciate Disney’s decision and I am excited to continue making films that investigate the ties of love that bind us all,” Gunn wrote. “I have been and continue to be incredibly humbled by your love and support.”
Gunn’s full statement is below.
❤️ pic.twitter.com/gdMQjlqIjs— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) March 15, 2019