Despite rumors that James Gunn would be returning to direct "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," Disney has reaffirmed its firing of the director as a result of old tweets in which he joked about pedophilia.
Last month, James Gunn lost his job as director of the Marvel franchise when conservative pundits unveiled several old tweets in which he referred to raping little boys and other offensive references. "I like when little boys touch me in my silly place" was just one of many shocking examples. As backlash quickly mounted against the firing, the "Guardians of the Galaxy" cast signed an open letter asking that Gunn be reinstated, arguing that age-old tweets for which he apologized should not define his career.
"As I have discussed publicly many times, as I’ve developed as a person, so has my work and my humor," Gunn wrote after the news broke. "It’s not to say I’m better, but 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."
The "Guardians" cast concurred with James' apology in an open letter addressed to fans.
"The character he has shown in the wake of his firing is consistent with the man he was every day on set, and his apology, now and from years ago when first addressing these remarks, we believe is from the heart, a heart we all know, trust, and love,” read an open letter from the cast. "In casting each of us to help him tell the story of misfits who find redemption, he changed our lives forever. We believe the theme of redemption has never been more relevant than now."
A circulating Change.org petition in defense of Gunn now has over 381,000 signatures.
According to Variety, Walt Disney studio chairman Alan Horn met with Gunn hoping to "clear the air" over the firing; despite that, the studio stands by its decision to fire him. However, the third installment of the "Guardians" franchise will be using Gunn's script going forward.