Despite a flood of support from fans, his cast members, and even Marvel Studios itself, Variety is reporting that Disney is standing firm on its decision to fire James Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and will not be reinstating him on the superhero sequel.
Gunn was removed from the Marvel blockbuster last month due to historic tweets joking about rape and paedophilia. Since then a petition calling for his reinstatement has attracted close to 300,000 signatures, but it seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
The site reports that Gunn and his reps attended a meeting with Disney studio chairman Alan Horn this week, where they pushed hard for him to be given a second chance. However, despite a “civil and professional” meeting, Horn stood by Disney’s position. Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige – who had reportedly been lobbying for Gunn’s return – was unable to attend the meeting himself due to being out of town, but he is said to stand by the studio’s decision not to reinstate the filmmaker.
Disney and Marvel are now said to be continuing their search for a new director, who will likely want to polish Gunn’s script for the third Guardians movie before moving ahead. At this point, it’s unclear if and how this will impact the planned production start date in early 2019, or the rumoured 2020 release date.