James Gunn’s looming exit from the MCU following the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is a momentous occasion. But in case anyone forgot, his depature from the franchise could have happened a lot sooner. Although short-lived, Disney’s 2018 decision to fire Gunn over old social media posts resulted in torrents of backlash from the director’s fanbase. Gunn’s ongoing press tour in support of Vol. 3 is prompting him to share new thoughts about the ordeal which, incidentally, was kind of a blessing in disguise, as getting scooped up by WB to direct The Suicide Squad afterwards paved the way for him to run DC Studios as co-CEO alongside Peter Safran. Regardless, Gunn understandably found it hard to see the silver lining at the time.
Gunn has spoken candidly about his firing before. However, in a new sit-down with Empire (via /Film), he continued to reminisce on the fallout from Disney’s actions. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that he looks back on the experience as a “traumatic” period in his life. But no matter how much time passed, fans and industry luminaries alike refused to stop talking about it. And this likely moved the needle back in his favor.
“What happened was I got fired and it didn’t just go away,” said Gunn. “Maybe if it just went away, it wouldn’t have been on people’s minds. But the fans didn’t let it go. The press didn’t let it go. The cast didn’t let it go. It made it hard to ignore.”
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As upsetting as it was, Gunn still managed to find support from his Guardians team, which didn’t just include the films’ cast members. Apparently, Marvel boss Kevin Feige was “on [Gunn’s] side the whole time.” The same goes for then-Disney chairman Alan Horn, whom Gunn says “was struggling with it, ethically. Alan Horn is a good man. And he couldn’t sleep at night.”
“It was hard,” continued Gunn. “But the things I think of from that time are the love that I got from my family and friends. I think of how Zoe Saldaña and her husband came over to fix me a meal the night after it happened. How Karen Gillan and Pom Klementieff came over to just hang out with me, to be my friend.”
Gunn was ultimately reinstated as Vol. 3’s director in early 2019. But not even he could predict that Disney would change its mind. In fact, it sounds like he had already made peace with the idea of leaving the MCU behind him. Still, he felt compelled to return to the franchise to do right by one particular character.
“I was not definitely going to come back,” noted Gunn. “I had to really ruminate over whether that was what I was going to do … At the end of the day. The reason I came back was because I needed to finish Rocket’s story.”
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 hits theaters on May 5.
Are you happy that Gunn came back to finish the Guardians’ story on his own terms? Let us know in the comment section below!
Recommended Reading: Guardians of the Galaxy by Brian Michael Bendis Omnibus Vol. 1
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