Last month, James Gunn was fired by Disney. Gunn was the writer-director on Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, and he was blatantly targeted by Alt-Right/MRA-types. Those Nazis didn’t really have to do much to target him though – they merely found his old tweets, stuff from 2009-16, many of which were very uncomfortable and offensive. They didn’t doctor the tweets – Gunn really tweeted all of that stuff. Disney and Marvel knew about the tweets when they hired him, but when the Alt-Right people made it into a thing, that’s when Gunn was fired. The Guardians cast all protested, in writing, and it was said that Marvel was trying to figure out a way to get Gunn re-hired. Disney wasn’t interested though. And so now… Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is being put on hold while Marvel reorganizes.
The production of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is being put on hold for the time being as Marvel and Disney regroup on the project, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter. Sources say that crewmembers, which is, at this stage, a small group that was prepping for preproduction, are being dismissed and are free to look for new work.
The Marvel project was originally to have been directed by James Gunn and was to have begun principal photography in the winter, either in January or February. The project was crewing up and was to have gone into full preproduction mode in the fall. But Gunn was let go as the director in July when old tweets were resurfaced in response to his vocal political posts. While some held out hope that the director would be given a reprieve by Disney, a mid-August meeting with Disney chairman Alan Horn closed the door on that. One person characterized the production hold as temporary and more of a “regrouping” as Marvel and Disney look for a filmmaker to take on the third installment of a franchise that has grossed over $1.6 billion and made stars out of Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista and Zoe Saldana.
“The timeline has been pushed out,” says a source. Disney never set a release date for Guardians 3. Marvel and Disney are taking a measured approach in their search for a filmmaker — one source says that Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi recently had a meeting with Marvel, but it is unclear what project was discussed — and with good reason.
There are many people who believe that Disney shot itself in the foot because they were manipulated by neo-Nazis and now a billion-dollar franchise is on the line. But I’ve always maintained that Gunn should have been fired for those tweets. If the Alt-Right douchebags had waged a campaign against Gunn over nothing, then sure, I would say reinstate him and apologize to him. But those tweets were truly disturbing and frankly unforgivable. So I’m fine with Gunn being out of a job, and I find the whataboutism debate to be a giant shrug too – of course Disney is the same company that rebooted Roseanne Barr’s show. Of course Disney is the same company that hushed up the crimes of sexual predators in their midst. Disney is far from perfect, but isn’t it a step in the right direction that they’re just starting to flat-out fire problematic dudes?
I can believe all of that while as the same time believing that yes, they did shoot themselves in the foot by firing Gunn and now the Guardians franchise is in a bit of trouble. But…trust the fact that Marvel and Disney have access to literally the best options to replace Gunn. Would it really be so awful to have Taika Waititi take over the Guardians franchise?
Photos courtesy of WENN.