Deadline reports that, after a series of meetings with Walt Disney Pictures head Alan Horn, Disney and Marvel reinstated Gunn Friday; the studio booted Gunn from the in-production blockbuster in July 2018 after conservative personalities on social media dug up tweets by Gunn – a vocal critic of Donald Trump – from 2009 to 2012 that joked about pedophilia, transgender people and more.
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) March 15, 2019
Soon after, the stars of Guardians of the Galaxy – including Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista, the latter especially vocal in his support of Gunn on social media – banded together to pen an open letter asking for the reinstatement; Disney did not acquiesce and production on the third installment was “temporarily” put on hold in August 2018.
“My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative,” Gunn said in a statement after his firing.
“I have regretted them for many years since — not just because they were stupid, not at all funny, wildly insensitive, and certainly not provocative like I had hoped, but also because they don’t reflect the person I am today or have been for some time. Regardless of how much time has passed, I understand and accept the business decisions taken today.”
Since the firing, Gunn assumed the reins of the upcoming Suicide Squad sequel. While Marvel still planned on using Gunn’s completed script for the third Guardians film, no director was hired to take over the production, leaving the future of the franchise in question when factoring in Avengers: End Game, the reported culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s decade-long storybuilding.