James Gunn was an unlikely choice to helm a major blockbuster when he boarded GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. Gunn came up through the ranks at Troma and wasn’t shy about material that could be deemed offensive or upsetting. But GUARDIANS showed he could still make a movie with his edgy personality yet palatable enough to be a blockbuster hit. Unfortunately, after some conservative personalities dug up some of his old tweets that joked about rape and pedophilia, Gunn has been fired from the upcoming GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 3.
In a statement on Twitter before deleting his account [via THR], Gunn said, “Many people who have followed my career know when I started, I viewed myself as a provocateur, making movies and telling jokes that were outrageous and taboo. As I have discussed publicly many times, as I’ve developed as a person, so has my work and my humor.” Disney’s Alan Horn issued the statement, “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.”
It sounds like a raw deal for Gunn, who has now been pushed out by conservative trolls (who clearly don’t have a problem with pedophilia or sexual assault) but it does bring up an important talking point about owning up to one’s mistakes and being a brand associated with positivity and decency. Disney has a corporate image to maintain, so rather than makes things messy and let Gunn issue an apology or something, they’ve simply booted him off the franchise.
Which now leads to what will happen with GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 3 considering that Gunn had finished writing the script and was planning to start filming this fall for a 2020 release. Will the cast stick around? Will the studio scrap the franchise without its lead voice? If you were to ask me, I’d be ok with Taika Waititi taking the helm. In fact, it’d make me feel a lot better.