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Disney unlikely to rehire James Gunn despite cast's message of support

Almost two weeks ago James Gunn was fired by Disney from directing GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3 after inappropriate jokes of his were unearthed on Twitter by alt-right trolls. Since then there has been a wave of support for him from fans and filmmakers on social media, and even the cast put out a lengthy statement throwing their full support behind Gunn. And yet, despite all this, a new report from Variety indicates Disney apparently still has no intention of rehiring the writer/director, as sources close to the studio say his jokes from a decade ago don’t mesh with “Disney’s family-friendly image.”

The report details that the firing of Gunn came from the very top of Disney, with Disney Studios chief Alan Horn approving the move and his boss, CEO Bob Iger, having a voice in the final decision. Because the act came from the top of the very massive mountain called Disney, it’s unlikely anyone will challenge the decision. “I don’t see Disney re-hiring him,” says one source. “Those tweets were so horrible and Disney has a different standard than other studios.”

Though plenty of fellow filmmakers and fans came to the aid of Gunn the biggest showing of support came from the primary cast of the movie, including Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, and more.

We fully support James Gunn. We were all shocked by his abrupt firing and have intentionally waited these ten days to respond in order to think, pray, listen, and discuss,” the statement begins. “In that time, we’ve 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.”

Many probably thought that with the full cast in support of Gunn that Disney would be willing to bend on their previous call, but that also seems unlikely as the cast will still answer the call for the upcoming flick. The cast is still contractually obligated to appear in the future movie(s), and should they not they could face serious legal action from the House of Mouse.

As for finding a new director, it seems Disney is taking their sweet time. The movie was not set to begin shooting until the beginning of 2019, and though script rewrites and prep work need to be done Disney is confident it will find an “A-list director” in time. Word is they are even open to pushing back the release date and start time considering that no official release date has been solidified. Apparently, directors like Taika Waititi (THOR: RAGNAROK) and Joe and Anthony Russo (AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR) are in consideration but are currently all working on other projects. 

Anyone in support of Gunn was probably hoping for the best, that the plea of the cast would be enough to sway Disney to rethink their rushed call. Sure, we can still hope they’ll wise up and reconsider their decision, and we can believe they’re just waiting for the right time to bring him back. But this is clearly an example of a brand trying to protect itself over its talent, and they know they hold all the cards.

Source: Variety

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