James Gunn re-hired to direct ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’

March 15, 2019

by Colleen McGregor

James Gunn
James Gunn (Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios)

Nearly a year after Disney (the parent company of Marvel Studios) fired writer/director James Gunn from “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” for past jokes he made about rape and pedophilia, Disney has re-hired him to direct the film. According to Deadline, which broke the news, production for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” will begin¬†after Gunn finishes “Suicide Squad 2” for Warner Bros. Pictures.

Gunn had already written the “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” screenplay at the time he was fired in July 2018, for jokes he made on Twitter nearly 10 years before. He issued an apology and said he wasn’t the same person that he was when he made those jokes. The timing of Gunn’s firing was particularly awkward because it came one day before he was scheduled to be on a Comic-Con panel in San Diego promote a then-untitled horror movie that he was producing for Sony Pictures. His Comic-Con appearance was cancelled, and the news of his firing had divisive reactions from the movie industry and the general public.

Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker, Pom Klementieff, James Gunn, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Elizabeth Debicki, Kurt Russell and Karen Gillan from “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” at Comic-Con International in San Diego on July 23, 2016. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

While some people praised Disney for firing Gunn, others said the firing was unjust and demanded that Disney reinstate Gunn. Thousands of people signed a petition to have Gunn rehired, and the stars of “Guardians of the Galaxy” also signed an open letter saying that Gunn should be reinstated. After the firing, Gunn was hired to write and direct “Suicide Squad 2,” which is due out in 2021.

Gunn wrote and directed the first two “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies. The first “Guardians of the Galaxy” film, released in 2014, grossed more than $773 million in ticket sales worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo. The 2017 sequel “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” was an even bigger hit, grossing $863 million in ticket sales worldwide.

After Deadline revealed that Gunn had been rehired, he posted this statement on Twitter:¬† “I am tremendously grateful to every person out there who has supported me over the past few months. I am always learning and will continue to work at being the best human being I can be. I deeply appreciate Disney’s decision and I am excited about making films that investigate the ties of love that bind us all. I have been and continue to be incredibly humbled by your love and support. From the bottom of heart, thank you. Love to you all.”

Gunn’s first movie to be released since his firing scandal is “Brightburn,” the horror flick that he was scheduled to promote at Comic-Con before his appearance was canceled. “Brightburn,” starring Elizabeth Banks and directed by David Yarovevsky, is set for release by Sony’s Screen Gems on May 24, 2019.

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