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Gunn rejoins Guardians of the Galaxy as director after Twitter controversy

Joel Bautista | The Ticker

Disney has taken a 180-degree turn on its previous decision last year to fire James Gunn, rehiring the writer-director for the third installation in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.

Gunn was fired in the summer of 2018, when his vocal criticism of the American presidency earned him the wrath of conservative activists who resurfaced old tweets of his in which he made inflammatory and crass remarks regarding topics such as 9/11, rape, the Holocaust and — most notably and repeatedly — pedophilia.

The Walt Disney Company, labeling the tweets as “indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values,” made the decision to fire him.

At the time the tweets resurfaced, Gunn apologized for his previous behavior in a Twitter thread, writing, “My days saying something just because it’s shocking and trying to get a reaction are over. I used to make a lot of offensive jokes. I don’t anymore. I don’t blame my past self for this, but I like myself more and feel like a more full human being and creator today.”

The original decision to fire Gunn was hit with backlash almost immediately from fans and co-workers of the writer-director alike. A petition to rehire Gunn reached over 400,000 signatures.

Meanwhile, an open letter from the movie’s cast hit Twitter 10 days after the firing in support of Gunn. It was signed by Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Sean Gunn, Pom Klementieff and Michael Rooker.

In the open letter, though the distastefulness of the jokes was not called into question, the entertainers called for an end to “character assassinations and … weaponizing mob mentality.”

Gunn co-wrote and directed the first two hits in the franchise and was working on the script for the third installment before he was initially fired. The reinstatement of Gunn to his previous position comes after news of Gunn being hired to direct the sequel to DC and Warner Brother’s Suicide Squad. As such, the production of the film will be stalled in favor of the Suicide Squad sequel’s completion, despite the script being complete.

The third installation was originally set to come out in 2020, but Marvel President Kevin Feige saidthat though there is no official release date for the movie, they do intend to complete the film.

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