Pencil this in as officially the best news we’ve heard all week: JAMES GUNN IS OFFICIALLY BACK ON BOARD TO DIRECT GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 3!
Yes, I understand I just did the obnoxious ALL CAPS thing, but news this huge deserves it. According to Deadline, Gunn has officially been reinstated by Disney to direct the third installment of his wildly beloved Guardians franchise. What’s more, this was a decision that was apparently made months ago after multiple meetings between Disney leadership and the Marvel Studios team. Apparently, Walt Disney Studios president Alan Horn met multiple times with Gunn after his firing last July after past offensive “joke” tweets were brought to light by alt-right social media personalities. Because of those talks, and because of Gunn’s classy handling of the situation and the aftermath, Horn decided to reinstate Gunn.
At the time, Disney was in a tough position: Should Gunn have been fired? No. His tweets were indefensible, but to Gunn’s credit, in the years since he made them, he had owned up to them many times and explained how they were made by a younger, dumber guy who thought that shock and awe were the way to go in comedy. He never expressed anything other than deep regret and embarrassment over them and was nothing but gracious in the wake of his firing. “My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative,” Gunn said in an official statement after his firing. “I have regretted them for many years since — not just because they were stupid, not at all funny, wildly insensitive, and certainly not provocative like I had hoped, but also because they don’t reflect the person I am today or have been for some time.”
Yet others had been fired for saying less on social media, and it was tricky timing with Disney’s Fox deal about to go through. So the knee-jerk decision was made to fire Gunn.
Still, it quickly became apparent Disney had acted in haste, with the majority of fans and observers believing Disney made the wrong call. For months, a #RehireJamesGunn campaign waged on social media, and stars of the GotG franchise publicly spoke out against the firing, especially when it was revealed Disney still planned to use Gunn’s already-written script. It got worse when other Marvel directors, like Taika Waititi, publicly said they wouldn’t agree to direct the third film in solidarity with Gunn.
For those wondering about how it might affect Gunn writing and directing The Suicide Squad, no worries. Marvel Studios agreed that Guardians Vol. 3 won’t go into production until Gunn’s DC project is done and dusted. Gunn himself just released a statement of thanks:
There are those who will disagree with the decision to rehire Gunn, and for whom his past tweets will never be forgivable. That’s understandable and natural. I personally am in the camp that thinks this is great (not to mention shocking) news and an incredibly smart decision by Disney. I have to admit to bias here: Ya girl here had her critic’s quote featured on the first Guardians Blu-ray/DVD and marketing campaign, and it’s a Marvel movie near and dear to my heart. But beyond my personal connection with it, I firmly believe people deserve second chances – if they actually do the work to become better people, whether it’s your best friend or an A-list director of one of the world’s biggest franchises. Gunn has shown he has time and time again, and it’s nice to see him back in the helm of the Milano and leading his bunch of a-holes. Right where he belongs.
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