Disney has announced today that James Gunn was reinstated to helm Guardians of the Galaxy 3 after the director was dropped from the franchise last July following a set of controversial tweets.
Last July, Disney chose to drop Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn after decade-old tweets resurfaced as part of an attack spearheaded by alt-right conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich. The tweets in question saw Gunn using rape and pedophilia as the punchline for numerous jokes. Unsurprisingly, Gunn faced immediate public backlash, with Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn calling Gunn’s comments “indefensible”. Disney quickly cut all ties with the director.
However, it seems like the studio has had a change of heart because according to Disney and Marvel, James Gunn has been reinstated as the official director for Guardians of the Galaxy 3. According to sources, after Gunn’s very public firing, Horn met with Gunn on multiple occasions, eventually deciding to reinstate the director. Apparently, Gunn’s public apology and general handling of the situation was what persuaded Horn to rehire him.
After the incident, Gunn released a statement, saying this his “words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative.”
“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.”
After his removal, the entire cast of the series showed their support for the director. Zoe Saldana, Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, and Bradley Cooper were all incredibly outspoken about the situation, defending Gunn and chastising Disney’s decision to remove him from future projects. Bautista was especially supportive:
“To be honest with you I don’t know if I want to work for Disney,” he told Jonathan Ross at the time.
Following his reinstatement, Gunn took to Twitter to thank his fans, writing that he is “tremendously grateful to every person who has supported me over the past few months.”
Gunn is now on track to direct the third installment in his Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, as well as the follow-up to 2016’s Suicide Squad.