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One of the biggest pieces of news to come out during San Diego Comic-Con wasn't even planned for the convention. After jokes that director James Gunn made about rape and pedophilia on Twitter nearly a decade ago resurfaced, Disney fired Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. This decision drew polarizing reactions, but Gunn's supporters are numerous, from the Guardians of the Galaxy cast members issuing a joint statement expressing solidarity for the filmmaker to the petition requesting Disney re-hire Gunn for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 reaching over 360,000 "signatures." However, as far as the latter is concerned, a new report claims that it's unlikely Disney will bring Gunn back aboard for the threequel.
According to multiple sources who spoke with Variety, Disney and Marvel's stance is that the jokes that James Gunn made years ago are unacceptable in the #MeToo era and contrast with the Mouse House's family friendly image. Disney also took note of the Guardians of the Galaxy cast's joint statement, but the general belief is that the actors will still return for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 despite their beliefs, particularly because they would be subject to legal action if they broke their contracts and didn't appear in the movie. Gunn's firing was approved by Disney Studios chief Alan Horn, and CEO Bob Iger weighed in on the final decision.
The report goes on to say that Disney and Marvel weren't aware of James Gunn's offensive tweets and were "taken aback" upon learning about them. Given that Twitter wasn't as big of a deal back when Gunn was hired for the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, presumably the companies didn't bother to check out his social media presence. In any case, since it doesn't look like Gunn will be brought back, the search continues for another director to take the reins on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The studio reportedly feels no pressure to find someone immediately. Familiar MCU names like Taika Waititi and Jon Favreau have been rumored as potential candidates, but those folks are already committed to other projects, so Marvel will probably end up looking outside of the company for someone to fill Gunn's shoes. Considering how much of Gunn's sensibilities were imprinted on the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, it will certainly be difficult for whoever replaces him to follow in his footsteps, even if they have their own offbeat ideas.
As things stand right now, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is still expected to come out sometime in 2020, but it's possible that could change down the line, which would require pushing back the original February 2019 start date. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates on what's happening with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, including who's hired as James Gunn's replacement. In the meantime, check out our Marvel movies guide to learn what the MCU has on the way.