Guardians of the Galaxy cast declare their support for fired director James Gunn

James Gunn 'Guardians' spinoff

Update: James Gunn is currently in negotiations to helm the upcoming film Suicide Squad 2, scheduled to hit theaters August 6, 2021.

Marvel Studios will need to find a new director for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after Disney terminated its involvement with director James Gunn in July due to offensive tweets the filmmaker posted years ago (and for which he had previously apologized). However, the cast of the film has made no secret of its support for Gunn and its belief that the studio made a mistake in firing him.

An open letter posted on Instagram by Guardians of the Galaxy actor Chris Pratt begins with the statement “We fully support James Gunn,” and ends with the signatures of every member of the franchise’s recurring cast. In the letter, the actors express their belief that — as Gunn stated himself — he is a very different person from the man he was when he made the comments more than a decade earlier.

The statement also alludes to the alt-right campaign to paint Gunn as a pedophile due to the content of several jokes he made, with the cast expressing disappointment with “those so easily duped into believing the many outlandish conspiracy theories surrounding him.”

Dave Bautista, the actor who plays Drax in the franchise, spoke out against Disney’s decision to fire Gunn. On Twitter, Bautista said that Gunn made some mistakes, but remains “one of the most loving, caring, good-natured people I have ever met.”

Gunn’s controversial tweets were unearthed by alt-right pundits critical of the director’s political beliefs and his opposition to President Donald Trump, according to Fox News. A campaign to oust Gunn from the franchise was initiated by several alt-right personalities — including a prominent blogger who was classified as an extremist by hate-group watchdog agency Southern Poverty Law Center — who encouraged their followers to contact Disney to complain about the tweets.

In the tweets, which were posted between 2008 and 2012, Gunn joked about pedophilia and rape. The filmmaker had previously acknowledged the jokes and apologized for them.

The collection of tweets were picked up by progressively larger right-wing media outlets before hitting the mainstream news cycle, leading Disney to issue a statement Friday, July 20, announcing the termination of the studio’s relationship with Gunn. The announcement was made on the same day Gunn was expected to appear at Comic-Con International in San Diego to promote an upcoming film for Sony Pictures.

“The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him,” Alan Horn, Walt Disney Studios chairman, said in a statement.

Prior to Disney issuing its statement, Gunn responded to the uproar on Twitter in a series of tweets that acknowledged his provocateur past and the evolution of both his humor and his relationship with himself.

“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,” wrote Gunn.

It’s unknown at this point how Disney and Marvel plan to proceed with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which was scheduled to be written and directed by Gunn and released in 2020.

Gunn directed the first two films in the series, co-writing the original film before flying solo on the sequel’s script. The two-film series — which stood out from previous Marvel movies due to Gunn’s humor and vision influenced by quirky indie cinema — is one of the most successful franchises in Marvel’s cinematic universe, earning $722.9 million collectively in U.S. theaters and $1.63 billion worldwide.

Disney’s decision follows the studio’s highly publicized separation from comedian and actress Roseanne Barr in May after the Roseanne star targeted former government official Valerie Jarrett in a series of offensive tweets.  The studio severed its relationship with Barr and canceled the Roseanne revival series, eventually recasting the show without her.

Updated July 30 with an open letter from the Guardians of the Galaxy cast supporting James Gunn.

Movies & TV

In Avengers: Endgame, Marvel saved its best (and biggest) for last

Marvel Studios concludes its 22-film saga with Avengers: Endgame, the sequel to Avengers: Infinity War and the culmination of more than a decade of movies. It gives fans one of the franchise's most epic and emotional installments so far.
Movies & TV

First reactions say that Avengers: Endgame will make you laugh and cry

The events of Avengers: Infinity War changed the Marvel Cinematic Universe in some big ways and left fans wondering how its heroes can possibly recover. Here's everything we know about Avengers: Endgame, the sequel to Infinity War.
Movies & TV

Watch the Captain Marvel, other MCU post-credits scenes before Avengers: Endgame

Catch up on the Marvel Cinematic Universe's ongoing storyline before Avengers: Endgame's big finale by watching the post-credits scenes for every Marvel film, including Captain Marvel, via Twitter.
Gaming

25 awesome indie games you should definitely be playing right now

These days, some of the best video games are made by independent studios. Here are 25 of the best indie games, whether you prefer grueling dungeon crawlers or otherworldly, meditative adventures.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: Mid90s, BlacKkKlansman, and more

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: Jonah Hill's Mid90s, vampire action movie Blade, and more.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Business

Weekend box office: Curse of La Llorona tops Shazam! over slow Easter weekend

Warner Bros. Pictures' horror film The Curse of La Llorona beat pundits' predictions and middling reviews to end the two-week reign of superhero adventure Shazam! at the top of the U.S. box office.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now (April 2019)

Amazon Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be a major undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Movies & TV

Best new podcasts of the week of April 13, 2019: Spacebridge and more

Feel like you’re drowning in podcasts? In this weekly series, we’ll help you pick out the best of the new and returning shows. This week’s picks include a spacebridge, love advice, Topher Grace, and bite-sized history.
Movies & TV

HBO’s Game of Thrones episode 3 preview looks ahead to the Battle of Winterfell

HBO released a brief video that teases the upcoming third episode of Game of Thrones' eighth and final season. It will feature the long-awaited Battle of Winterfell that pits the show's key characters against The Night King's undead army.
Movies & TV

Want to make Netflix browsing even easier? Try this useful trick

If you know exactly what category of film you're looking for on Netflix, you'll find this hack for the streaming service useful. It allows you to manually browse genres and subgenres of interest.
Home Theater

Here’s what’s new on HBO and what’s leaving in May 2019

Whether you're a cable lifer or a staunch cord cutter, there's never been a better time to get down with premium TV. May 2019 brings the Deadwood movie, the final episode of Game of Thrones, and the PG-13 version of Deadpool 2 on HBO.
Gaming

Swing Thor’s Stormbreaker during the Fortnite-Avengers: Endgame crossover

Epic Games revealed a new crossover with Marvel and Disney's Avengers: Endgame film, showing off Captain America's shield. Players will also get to summon the powers of a god as well when they wield Thor's Stormbreaker.
Movies & TV

Disney Plus will have less than 20% of the content available on Netflix

Disney is bringing the full weight of its massive content library to its own streaming service in 2019. How will Disney Plus compare to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime? Here's what we know so far.