Report: Disney Unlikely to Rehire James Gunn for Guardians Vol. 3

According to a new report in VarietyWalt Disney Studios is unlikely to rehire James Gunn to write and direct Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 despite a massive outpouring of support from fans and the franchise’s cast. No one from Disney officially went on record, but according to insiders the studio was not aware of Gunn’s specific controversial Tweets from 2009-2012 that were recently unearthed, and considers them unacceptable in the current socio-political environment. The decision to fire Gunn apparently came from the highest branches of the company, with Disney Studios chief Alan Horn and company CEO Bob Iger both weighing in. The article does not say whether or not Marvel’s Kevin Feige was consulted, and the MCU mastermind has not yet spoken out about the situation.

Despite the fact that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was expected to begin filming in Fall 2019 in Atlanta for a 2020 release, Disney apparently never gave the film an official release date. The studio is now on the hunt for an A-list director to step into the franchise, and is willing to wait for the right talent to come along. Marvel stalwarts like Jon Favreau, Taika Waititi and the Russo Brothers are fan favorites to take over, but the studio is just as likely to reach outside their circle.

It should be noted that Gunn was far from an A-list director when he was hired in 2012, having only helmed cult films like Slither and Super, yet managed to bring the first two Guardians movies to $1.6 billion in worldwide box office. Meanwhile, Disney is unconcerned about any of the disgruntled cast walking off the picture, as their contracts are apparently ironclad.

RELATED: Entire Guardians Cast Wants James Gunn Reinstated for Vol. 3

Here is the first paragraph of the statement of support to rehire James Gunn put out by the Guardians cast (Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Karen Gillan, Sean Gunn, Pom Klementieff and Michael Rooker):

“We fully support James Gunn. We were all shocked by his abrupt firing last week and have intentionally waited these ten days to respond in order to think, pray, listen, and discuss. In that time, we’ve been encouraged by the outpouring of support from fans and members of the media who wish to see James reinstated as as director of Volume 3 as well as discouraged by those so easily duped into believing the many outlandish conspiracy theories surrounding him.”

This was James Gunn’s statement at the time of his firing from the upcoming Guardians sequel, saying:

“My 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. Regardless of how much time has passed, I understand and accept the business decisions taken today. Even these many years later, I take full responsibility for the way I conducted myself then. All I can do now, beyond offering my sincere and heartfelt regret, is to be the best human being I can be: accepting, understanding, committed to equality, and far more thoughtful about my public statements and my obligations to our public discourse. To everyone inside my industry and beyond, I again offer my deepest apologies. Love to all.”

Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn justified the firing in a brief statement: “The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him.”

The third Guardians film was meant to be the final outing for the original team lineup, and set up future films in the cosmic arena of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Keep checking back to for more developments in the fate of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.