Alongside their acquisition of 20th Century Fox in recent weeks, Disney has been in the news recently with regard to a completely different matter – and it relates to their handling of the director of one of their most popular Marvel franchises, Guardians of the Galaxy. James Gunn, who has been involved with the franchise from the beginning and who was anticipating to be on board to helm the third instalment of the series, has recently been fired by Disney as a result of growing backlash over controversial jokes and comments the director made via Twitter a decade ago. Gunn’s topics – hardly savory for a family audience, and hardly defended – did not sit well with the firm, who made the decision to drop the director amid growing outcry.
Gunn has since taken full responsibility for his previous tweets, though any chance of him being re-hired despite growing backlash from fans seems to be fairly slim if insider whispers are to be believed. Variety reportedly spoke with an anonymous source who suggested that Disney’s standards may not allow for a reversal of the decision. It’s thought that the concept of Gunn’s historic tweets not being in line with Disney’s ‘family-friendly image’ is the clincher – despite action having been taken by Guardians cast members in recent days to suggest that Gunn has more than a few important personnel behind him.
The main cast of Guardians of the Galaxy penned an open letter to offer their support for Gunn in the aftermath of his dismissal. “We were all shocked by (James Gunn’s) 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 have been encouraged by the outpouring of support from fans and members of the media who wish to see James reinstated as director of Volume 3 as well as discouraged by those so easily duped into believing the many outlandish conspiracy theories surrounding him.”
Sources suggest that it’s unlikely cast members will walk out on the next instalment of the franchise as a result of contractual commitments – though it’s unclear quite what ramifications Gunn’s firing may have for the Guardians franchise as a whole. How will fans react long-term? Will the tone of the third movie change? This is still a very current issue indeed – so stay tuned!