Despite “Guardians of the Galaxy” cast members Zoe Saldana, Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, and more insisting on James Gunn being rehired to direct “Vol 3,” it doesn’t appear likely Disney will approve the wish. In a new report from Variety, Gunn’s firing from Disney on July 20 over controversial jokes he made on Twitter years ago is said to be the final decision on the matter. Multiple sources close to Disney told Variety that Gunn’s jokes, which riffed on topics such as pedophilia and rape, are “not in line with Disney’s family-friendly image,” which means his rehiring is not going to happen.
“I don’t see Disney re-hiring him,” an anonymous source told Variety. “Those tweets were so horrible and Disney has a different standard then other studios.”
The “Guardians of the Galaxy” cast published an open letter on July 30 voicing support for Gunn and the thousands of fans calling for his rehiring. Pratt posted the letter to his Instagram with an accompanying caption that read he would “personally love to see [Gunn] reinstated as director of ‘Vol. 3.’
Despite the cast urging Disney to reconsider Gunn’s firing, sources told Variety it’s unlikely the cast would boycott the next “Guardians” film should Gunn not be reinstated. The letter did not find any of the cast threatening to quit the series, and most of the actors are under contract and would face legal actions if they quit the franchise before making the next sequel.
“We were all shocked by [Gunn’s] abrupt firing last week and have intentionally waited these ten days to respond in order to think, pray, listen, and discuss,” the cast letter read. “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.”
Disney insiders told Variety the company was not aware of Gunn’s offensive tweets prior to hiring him in 2012 and “were taken aback when they were recirculated.” The “Vol. 3” production start date is tentatively scheduled for February 2019, but that could easily be pushed back as Disney takes its time to find a new director. The rumors that Marvel directors like Taika Waititi or the Russo Brothers could take over “Vol. 3” are unlikely as well, as they all have prior commitments.
IndieWire has reached out to Disney for further comment. Head over to Variety for more behind-the-scenes information.