March 15, 2019
Following months of controversy, Disney has officially reinstated James Gunn as director for "Guardians of the Galaxy 3," Deadline reports.
Gunn was fired last July after a slew of decade-old offensive tweets on pedophilia and rape resurfaced. But it seems Walt Disney Studios president Alan Horn was rather forgiving of Gunn, most notably for the way the director handled the firing publicly by not calling out Disney and for taking ownership of his words. Horn also met with Gunn multiple times following his public apology.
Following his controversial firing, the "Guardians of the Galaxy" cast penned an open letter asking for his return to the film. Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, and Dave Bautista signed their names to the letter, which stated, “We fully support James Gunn.” Fans also asked Disney to revisit their decision by signing a petition.
Though the more interesting news to come out of this is that Disney allegedly never stopped considering Gunn. There were rumors once Gunn was fired that Marvel and Disney began looking for a new director for “Guardians of the Galaxy.” However, according to the Hollywood Reporter, Disney never started that process. Instead, Marvel and Disney went back to Gunn rather quickly, making a deal in secret.
The third installment of "Guardians of the Galaxy" was originally expected for release in 2020, but since his firing, Gunn committed to writing and directing the DC and Warner Bros. sequel for "The Suicide Squad," which is expected to begin production in August. Once Gunn is finished with the DC film, he will begin production for "Guardians of the Galaxy."
Friday afternoon the director took to Twitter to thank the fans and those that supported him. He tweeted, "I am tremendously grateful to every person out there who has supported me over the past few months. I am always learning and will continue to work at being the best human being I can be. I deeply appreciate Disney’s decision and I am excited to continue making films that investigate the ties of love that bind us all."