James Gunn has been a very important figure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since 2014, launching one of the most unexpected and incredible series within the franchise with Guardians of the Galaxy. He followed it up in 2017 with the equally successful Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but now it appears that his time working with Marvel Studios has come to an end. According to reports, James Gunn will no longer be writing and directing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the move has been made due to James Gunn's history on social media. The trade report says that old Tweets that included jokes about pedophelia and rape from the director have surfaced, and it has resulted in the Walt Disney Company cutting ties with the filmmaker. In an official statement, Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn said:
The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James' Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio's values, and we have severed our business relationship with him.
The Tweets in question were posted back in 2008 and 2009, and were dug up by a conservative website The Daily Caller (James Gunn has been a very active critic of Donald Trump). In the wake of this breaking news, James Gunn has deleted his Twitter account, but before he did, he posted one last message:
Many people who have followed my career know when I started, I viewed myself as a provocateur, making movies and telling jokes that were outrageous and taboo. As I have discussed publicly many times, as I've developed as a person, so has my work and my humor.
As we learned last year, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was going to be the last movie in the series directed by James Gunn, though it wasn't going to be the end of his relationship with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Instead, he was set up to be a very important figure in the future of the cosmic side of things, developing the future of the movies set to take place in outerspace. Obviously that will no longer happen, and it's unclear at this point if Marvel Studios will specifically find a filmmaker to replace him in that role. It is also unknown if the production of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will continue to use the script written by Gunn, as the writer/director just recently completed a draft.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is still targeting a release date at some point in 2020, and production is still expected to start up at the beginning of 2019. We will continue to follow this development, so stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for the latest updates regarding the project.