Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is back in production after an unofficial hiatus, according to reports from Deadline and Hollywood Reporter. If you’re for any reason fatigued by Marvel Studios sequelitis, you may be more intrigued by why it’s back on: because its original director, James Gunn, has been rehired.
Gunn’s departure from Marvel Studios and Disney became an airing of dirty laundry in July of last year, after tweets and blog posts from as far back as 2009 were resurfaced by an alt-right proponent of Pizzagate conspiracy theories. The “joking” tweets in question were, on their face, well on the side of bad taste, although because they appeared in an earlier version of Twitter, they lacked the site’s newer, reply-linked metadata that might have offered more context.
Gunn’s last comment on the matter was an apology posted on Twitter that same month:
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. In the past, I have apologized for humor of mine that hurt people. I truly felt sorry and meant every word of my apologies.
After that statement, Gunn went completely silent on Twitter, which also meant that he stopped frequently critiquing President Donald Trump on the site (a possible reason alt-right critics targeted Gunn’s older tweets in the first place). In fact, he didn’t even use Twitter to announce the wild career about-face that soon followed: that he’d been hired to direct and write a new “reboot” film for the DC Comics series Suicide Squad.
Today’s THR report clarifies that Disney’s search for a new Guardians director may have never happened after all. Instead, while the film industry guessed who might take the helm and agents made bids for their clients, Disney waited a few weeks, then went back to Gunn in secret to strike a deal. This deal included letting Gunn go ahead with work on Suicide Squad, which is currently pegged for a 2021 release. This, then, would mark the second major friendly shift of a Marvel Studios film director to a DC franchise, following Joss Whedon’s work completing the 2017 Justice League film.
Deadline’s report included suggestions that Disney chairman Alan Horn was the one to reverse course on the firing, specifically because of the above quoted apology and follow-up meetings with Gunn himself.
This article has been updated with further context from Deadline’s report.
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