This James Gunn situation is becoming increasingly messier for Walt Disney.
Disney fired the Guardians of the Galaxy director/screenwriter after alt-right instigators brought up tweets Gunn wrote nearly a decade ago. Unlike a lot of recent firings for inappropriate behavior, Gunn’s firing has led to a stirring defense of the filmmaker from peers like actress Selma Blair and director Joe Carnahan and an online petition to bring Gunn back to the film. As of today, 342,125, have signed the petition.
But now the big guns are out. Ten days after Gunn’s firing the entire principal cast (Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementierff and Michael Rooker) sent out a joint statement saying they support him and want him back to helm the third installment of the series.
If you please, read the statement written and signed by The Guardians of the Galaxy cast in support of James Gunn’s reinstatement as director of GOTG Volume 3. pic.twitter.com/TjNA9RF6M8
— Zoe Saldana (@zoesaldana) July 30, 2018
This is new territory for Disney with its Marvel Studios’ wing. Nearly every move they’ve made in building one of the highest grossing franchises of all time has been applauded by fans. Before Gunn’s dismissal, the biggest controversy with Marvel Studios was parting ways with Edgar Wright on Ant-Man. But this one is becoming interesting.
It was one thing for Bautista to be the lone voice of the cast wanting Gunn back last week. Now with the entire cast on the same page, this becomes a bit harder to dust under the rug. Disney went into CYA mode when the news of the tweets resurfaced and took a scorched Earth approach.
I’m very curious to see how this continues to develop. Does Disney risk the potential PR problems of hiring Gunn back or will they throw another couple of million at the cast to placate them? What do you think they should do?