James Gunn, director of Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2, was fired on the 20th of July 2018 by Walt Disney Studios following the resurfacing of some of his old tweets in which he joked about sensitive subject matter such as rape and paedophilia.
However, cast members of the Guardians of the Galaxy have spoken out in support of Gunn, issuing a statement signed by Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel Sean Gunn, Pom Klementieff and other major influencers in the franchise. The statement expressed their support for Gunn and the spirit he showed both on the set of the first two movies and in the days leading up to his firing.
Gunn was fired from directing the third movie of the franchise but the cast members submitted the statement 10 days afterwards saying that they used the time to "think, pray, listen and discuss." Since the joint statement was released, various cast members, including Gunn's brother Sean Gunn, have issued individual statements. Fan petitions were also started online to rehire Gunn. Cats members say they were shocked at Gunn's firing saying "Each of us looks forward to working with our friend James again in the future." Pratt added in an Instagram post, showcasing the joint statement that he would, "Personally love to see him reinstated as director of Volume 3. Although I don't support James Gunn's inappropriate jokes from years ago, he is a good man."
Gunn's tweets show that he openly discussed left-leaning politics, and some on the right with whom he'd disagreed found and promoted the tweets from 2008 to 2011 that led to his firing. The joint statement tackled this political disagreement stating, "James is likely not the last good person to be put on trial. Given the growing political divide in this country, it's safe to say instances like this will continue, although we hope Americans from across the political spectrum can ease up on the character assassination and stop weaponizing mob mentality."
Gunn has been the writer and director of the Guardians of the Galaxy from the start of the franchise, racking up more than $1.5 billion in the global box office, and a lot has been staked on the third film that would drive another 10 years, or more, of Marvel films. The third movie was set to start filming later this year as Gunn was finishing up the scriptwriting process. Just before he was fired, Gunn took to Twitter to explain his old tweets saying that he has since matured as a person and in his work since posting the offensive comments. The director said that it used to be part of his act to put up a front, tweeting things that would provoke people.
“Many people who have followed my career know when I started, I viewed myself as a provocateur, making movies and telling jokes that were outrageous and taboo,” he said in the first of five tweets. “As I have discussed publicly many times, as I’ve developed as a person, so has my work and my humour. It’s not to say I’m better, but I am very, very different than I was a few years ago; today I try to root my work in love and connection and less in anger. My days saying something just because it’s shocking and trying to get a reaction are over.”