In what is surely a surprising, but welcome bit of news, Disney has decided to go back on its decision to fire writer/director James Gunn. According to Deadline.com, which confirmed the news with both Marvel and Gunn’s camp, Disney has rehired the director for the third installment of the Guardians of the Galaxy series.
James Gunn was fired by Walt Disney last July after reports brought to light several of his less tasteful tweets, dated a decade ago. The decision to reinstate the director had apparently been mulled over and decided on months ago before today’s announcement.
Disney’s change of heart came as a result of meetings between Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn and Gunn. Horn was reportedly impressed with how Gunn had handled the situation, showing remorse for his past actions, and the manner in which he issued his apology.
Gunn never shied away from taking responsibility for his past “jokes” on social media, but instead emphasized how he has changed since then.
The surfacing of his old tweets and missives was also revealed to be a form of payback against the director for his vocal criticism of President Donald Trump, with many of the initial outlets that had reported the tweets leaning towards the right.
Gunn’s return to Marvel and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was made a bit complicated by his being hired for Warner Bros./DC’s Suicide Squad 2, on which he is serving as both writer and director. However, Disney and Marvel have decided to move ahead with production for Guardians 3 after Gunn has completed work on Suicide Squad 2.
It is also being reported that the decision to rehire Gunn was made easier by virtue that Marvel hadn’t seriously looked into replacing him with another director, due to the fact that they were still using the script he had submitted prior to his firing.
Directors such as Taika Waititi and Edgar Wright had taken themselves out of the running and even reiterated their standing that Disney should rehire Gunn. Amongst the cast, none was more ardent a defender of the director than Dave Bautista, who must be the most elated after hearing this news.
With Marvel currently focused on the upcoming release of Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home, their upcoming road map is a bit more clear. With sequels to Black Panther and Captain Marvel being surefire projects, the only other films known to be actively in the works are Shang-Chi, which will see Marvel introduce its first Asian lead, as well as The Eternals, which will feature the first openly gay lead in the MCU. ~Paolo Maquiraya