The recent, controversial severing of ties between Disney and Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn – as a result of historic tweets made by the moviemaker which reportedly went against the family-friendly image the brand thrives on – has been claiming entertainment headlines left, right and center. Gunn, it appears, is immensely popular with his crew members – especially with the main cast of Guardians, many of whom took to write an open letter to stand by the director following his axing from future Marvel projects. In an interview with ShortList magazine, Dave Bautista (better known as Drax to Marvel fans) advised that he would consider requesting to be released from his contract if a Gunn-written script for Guardians Vol 3 wasn’t to be used. Certainly, it’s a fairly unique situation – Gunn’s firing came at the height of a number of conspiracy theories probing into his historic social media use – and it seems there are plenty of fans, and professionals, willing to stand by him.
Regardless, reports seem to be popping up that Gunn won’t be short of work in the near future. While it remains official that Gunn’s exit from Disney and Marvel Studios is still pending at the time of writing, various rival studio executives are reportedly standing by to offer the director opportunities once he is fully released. It’s thought that, among these, stands Warner Bros – perhaps Disney and Marvel’s biggest rival as far as comic book movies are concerned, as they have been responsible for bringing DC comic characters to the big screen in recent years via Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, Justice League and the forthcoming Aquaman. If Gunn is poached by WB – it could be a huge balance shift in the battle for comic book movie supremacy – which, at present, is heavily weighted in Marvel’s direction, at least critically.
Gunn’s exit may have been controversial, but the director has been praised for his honest and professional handling of the storm – though some are keen to point out that Disney are yet to fully finalize his exit from the firm, meaning that there may still be a chance that he is retained for future Marvel projects. With a huge backlash from fans and many professionals having been levelled at Disney as a result of the decision, it wouldn’t be an unpopular move to keep Gunn on board for a while longer.