The James Gunn firing saga continues as Deadline is reporting that Marvel Studios has been having “back channel conversations” with parent company Disney to keep the director on board for Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol 3.
Reportedly, the discussions have come about in the wake of a joint statement from the primary Guardians Of The Galaxy ensemble cast in support of Gunn with Marvel making the argument that Gunn’s continued involvement is what is best for the franchise. The previous two Guardians films have grossed over $1.64 billion for the studio. Deadline does note that the talks could be a “longshot” in getting Gunn reinstated.
Meanwhile, other studios are reportedly eager to get Gunn on board their own projects and are only waiting on a few remaining details over his firing to be ironed out.
Before Gunn became the target of political-motivated character assassins, he had been in pre-production on Guardians Vol 3, prepping for a fall production start. If Gunn remains off the film, Marvel will be forced to push back the start date pending the hiring of a new director and possibly the writing of a new screenplay.
Gunn was unceremoniously fired from the Guardians franchise, which he had built into a fan favorite for Marvel, after a muckracking, right-wing blogger resurrected some decade old tweets from Gunn wherein he made some crass and tasteless jokes. Gunn had apologized for those tweets previous and had stated that he had grown as a person, disavowing the jokes and the person he used to be. However, when the tweets were brought back to light as a retaliation against Gunn’s political outspokenness on the social network, Disney honcho Alan Horn summarily had him fired.
From what we have seen so far, this does not surprise me. Marvel, and especially studio head Kevin Feige, have been remarkably quiet about everything. Conversely, fans have been remarkably vocal about this, expressing their displeasure on various social media platforms. In additions to Gunn’s apology, various people who have worked with Gunn over recent years spoke out about how he has changed as a person for the better. Some film critics pointed out that the theme of Gunn’s two Guardians films is that people can improve their nature and redemption is something to work for towards, and Gunn’s firing by Disney was an ironic repudiation of what he was trying to say with those films.
In addition to the joint statement of support from the cast, actor David Baustina said he would ask Disney to be let out of his contractual responsibilities to appear in Volume 3 if at least Gunn’s screenplay for the film was not used.