The Mouse has spoken: all of the fans and franchise actors will say “Save James Gunn!” and Disney will look down and whisper “No.” More or less, anyway. The road has been long with this saga, which started merely a month ago, but time is a flat circle in 2018. The Guardians of the Galaxy director was fired for a series of old, offensive Tweets that were surfaced by alt-right interests, and since then the director (who had candidly and openly spoken about those Tweets in the past) has seen a deluge of support both from fans and those in the industry. One of Gunn’s most ardent supports is Guardians‘ star Dave Bautista, who has asked to be released from his contract if the studio doesn’t use Gunn’s script for the third movie, which it seems that they are in fact doing. Although since the search for a new director is on, it remains to be seen how much of the script remains as part of someone else’s vision.
Despite all of the protests, though — even reportedly from Marvel — Variety is reporting that a meeting between Gunn and studio chairman Alan Horn ended definitively, with Disney standing by its initial decision. As the piece notes, Kevin Feige was evidently out of town and unable to attend the meeting. Make of all this what you will!
As Vinnie Mancuso wrote in his fantastic piece on why, with James Gunn’s firing, Disney destroyed the message of Guardians, “To deny someone the capacity to change is a dangerous precedent to set, not just in Hollywood where a person’s public life is on display 24/7 but to anyone engaging in the social media age. It sets the bar at, “What’s the point?” It gives the message that concepts like betterment and learning are futile because the sins of your past are an immovable weight that only gets heavier the harder you climb. Strange, from a monolith like Disney, which has worked tirelessly to paint over a past filled with scars like Song of the South and Dumbo‘s horribly stereotypical black crows, to name just a few. But through a sheer effort of PR and Marvel-aided goodwill, that Disney feels like a ghost of the studio now. Which is exactly what makes Gunn’s firing so frustrating; Disney didn’t fire a director, they fired his ghost.”