James Gunn Reflects on Getting Fired From Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Next week will mark three years since James Gunn was fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after some of his controversial social media posts resurfaced in mid-2018. News of Gunn’s termination sent shockwaves throughout Hollywood, and prompted scores of industry luminaries to pledge their support. Gunn’s firing has since been reversed. But in a new interview with The New York Times (via The Hollywood Reporter), Gunn shared new insight into how it affected him on a more personal level.
Gunn was initially let go from the film after several far-right personalities unearthed old tweets that he posted between 2008 and 2012. The tweets included off-color jokes about sensitive topics like rape and pedophilia. In a subsequent statement, Gunn acknowledged that these jokes were in extremely poor taste. Regardless, this wasn’t enough to sway Disney’s top brass at the time. But according to Gunn, that didn’t include Marvel boss Kevin Feige. As Gunn tells it, Feige was just as blindsided by the studio’s decision as he was.
“I called Kevin [Feige] the morning it was going on, and I said, ‘Is this a big deal?’” recalled Gunn. “And he goes, ‘I don’t know.’ That was a moment. I was like, ‘You don’t know?’ I was surprised. Later he called me — he himself was in shock — and told me what the powers that be had decided.”
“It was unbelievable,” continued Gunn. “And for a day, it seemed like everything was gone. Everything was gone. I was going to have to sell my house. I was never going to be able to work again. That’s what it felt like.”
Regardless, Gunn was able to find work again. Just three months after Disney cut ties with him, WB hired Gunn to write and direct The Suicide Squad. And by May of 2019, he was re-hired as the director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Gunn’s reinstatement was met with a great deal of enthusiasm from Marvel fans. But despite his rollercoaster of a year, Gunn doesn’t necessarily think he was a victim of “cancel culture.”
“It’s such a bigger issue than that,” added Gunn. “Because cancel culture also is people like Harvey Weinstein, who should be canceled. People who have gotten canceled and then remain canceled — most of those people deserved that. The paparazzi are not just the people on the streets — they’re the people combing Twitter for any past sins. All of that sucks. It’s painful. But some of it is accountability. And that part of it is good. It’s just about finding that balance.”
After The Suicide Squad hits theaters and HBO Max on August 6, Gunn will have a few months off before he segues over to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which is currently scheduled to open on May 23, 2023.
Are you happy that Gunn is back onboard the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel? Let us know in the comments down below!
Recommended Reading: Guardians of the Galaxy by Donny Cates Vol. 1: The Final Gauntlet