Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn has experienced a harsh fall from grace this weekend after incendiary Tweets made by the filmmaker back in 2008 and 2009 were publicized by an alt-right media personality. In response to this controversy, Disney had no choice but to fire him from the planned Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, a decision that’s been met with a wave of backlash via social media, with many fans calling the move an excessive and hasty concession to a right-wing smear campaign.
Now, things have been taken one step further, with a petition having been launched for Disney to rehire Gunn and reinstate him as the director of Vol. 3. At the time of writing, it’s gathered nearly 50,000 signatures and has almost hit its goal. Of course, that’s not to say the studio will reverse their decision, but it’s clear that there’s an overwhelming amount of support for James Gunn right now, with an excerpt from the petition reading as so:
I agree on the point that if people say a bunch of stupid shit while working for a studio, the studio has full right to fire him over the possible controversy. This situation is very different though as he made these jokes years before he was working for Disney and also the fact that they were jokes. I agree with most, including Gunn himself that the jokes were shitty and un-funny but they were still jokes, it wasn’t an opinion or a statement, it was just a bad attempt at being funny.
The other thing is if you do this to Gunn you have to do it for all the other directors who have said some crappy joke sometime in their life, which is all of them, cause I doubt there’s one human on this planet who hasn’t made a shitty joke once or twice in there life.
Again, just because there’s a very strong movement to have Gunn rehired, that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll ever see him back in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That being said, you have to imagine that Disney knows how crucial he is to the franchise and it’d be extremely difficult to make Vol. 3 without him. Not to mention that if they do decide to move forward with another director, there’s also the question of how much of Gunn’s script and ideas should be used.
After all, he’s been gradually developing character arcs and plotlines over the previous two movies that he intended to pay off in the threequel. If they do decide to use his draft, his name will have to appear on the film, and if Disney is really serious about not working with him again, that might be a step too far for them. If that’s the case and they need to start from the ground up, they’d better get working real fast on a new script in order to meet that January 2019 shooting date.
Given the studio’s record on projects like Solo: A Star Wars Story, it’s likely that they’ll still hit the May 2020 release slot, but I do worry about how the quality of the movie will be impacted by Gunn’s departure. Let’s just hope they get things on track very quickly – can anyone say Taiki Waititi?