Petitions have become a common way for fans to voice their displeasure with decisions in the world of entertainment. It was only a matter of time before we saw one regarding Marvel's decision to fire James Gunn. However, what's potentially more shocking that the petition asking Marvel Studios to reverse their decision and re-hire James Gunn, is the speed with which the petition has grown, having already amassed over 210,000 signatures in three days.
On Friday it was announced that Disney and Marvel had parted ways with James Gunn, who directed both Guardians of the Galaxy movies, as well as wrote or co-wrote the screenplays of each, following the coming to light of several tweets from nearly 10 years ago when the writer/director had a tendency to make jokes with the intent to shock, and thus used some fairly terrible subjects for the topics of said jokes. However, a lot of people would like to see Marvel reconsider this decision.
We see petitions frequently when movie fans take issue with a particularly beloved property. We've seen petitions for the "Snyder Cut" of Justice League to be released as well as a petition to have Star Wars: The Last Jedi stricken from canon. However, both of those petitions have fewer signatures today than the Re-hire James Gunn petition has right now, showing that this issue is one that fans feel particularly strongly about. The petition continues to grow slowly but steadily so it will be interesting to see where it ends up before it loses steam.
The question, of course, is "could this petition result in any significant change?" The answer is "probably not." We rarely see movie studios change course based on fan reaction like this but if nothing else it will allow those who feel the strongest to say something publicly, and one can be sure that Marvel will be aware of a petition this size, even if it doesn't end up resulting in anything.
Nobody is arguing that the jokes from James Gunn were appropriate, but the petition itself argues that the jokes were made a long time ago, that the man himself had apologized for them previously, and that Gunn should be allowed to become a better person, as he, and others, have claimed he has since those comments were originally made.
At this point, there's a lot of question about what happens next. James Gunn had already completed a draft of the screenplay for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, but with Marvel looking to distance itself from the man, it's far from guaranteed that script will be used. Certainly, the movie will need to go looking for a director, assuming that the film happens at all, which is far from guaranteed at this point, as the simplest solution might be to scrap the entire project.