James Gunn was set to announce a sinister-sounding new project Friday night during Sony’s San Diego Comic-Con presentation, but hours after losing directing duties on “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” he was a no-show. This afternoon, Marvel-owner Walt Disney Studios announced Gunn would no longer helm his third consecutive film for the Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise. In an official statement, the studio announced that it had “severed its business relationship” with Gunn after new attention was placed on his past Twitter jokes about pedophilia, terrorism, and more.
Sony never confirmed Gunn’s once-expected attendance, and made no mention of his undertaking during its Hall H presentation. Instead, the studio focused on 2018 releases “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (December 14) and “Venom” (October 5.) The moderator clearly tried to stretch her stage time, extending the conversation with director Ruben Fleischer and stars Tom Hardy and Riz Ahmed.
Based on the teasers Gunn tweeted in days prior — including news that “something dark, sweet, and special” is coming, and a black poster with what appears to be a number 8 — social media users extrapolated he has been readying something spider-centric.
Screencapped from Twitter
In response to the firing, Gunn released a statement today that said, in part, “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.”
IndieWire has reached out to Sony for comment.