Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is perhaps one of the most anticipated movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and while we may not see the third installment in the Chris Pratt-led Marvel franchise for awhile — the film is due sometime in 2023 — there is still a lot of conversation around its director James Gunn.
Back in 2018, The Walt Disney Company fired Gunn as the director of the superhero movie, after old — some made over a decade ago — controversial tweets resurfaced. Since then, after much outpouring of support from the Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) cast, — who all co-signed a “We fully Support James Gunn” document — Marvel fans, and an apology from the director himself, Gunn was reinstated for the third installment in space hopping MCU movie franchise.
Guardians of the Galaxy debuted as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2014 to critical and commercial acclaim. The movie sees Pratt’s Peter Quill/Star-Lord team up with a ragtag bunch of alien characters from across the universe — the orphan and assassin, Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the mercenary raccoon, Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Vin Diesel’s humanoid tree, Groot, and the humorous warrior, Drax the Destroyer, played by the retired former WWE wrestler turned actor, Dave Bautista.
Bautista — who went on to star in the Denis Villeneuve’s science fiction film Blade Runner 2049 (2017), Stuber (2019) and My Spy (2020), as well as lending his Drax talents to the Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout! ride at Disney California Adventure Park at Disneyland Resort — has always been a fervent supporter of James Gunn after his firing by Disney. The Gunn drama seemed to be all said and done until Bautista reignited the conversation in a recent interview.
What did Bautista say?
Speaking to JoBlo on the set of Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead (2021), Dave Bautista brought up the incident again and acknowledged his feelings towards the Disney entertainment empire. In response to a question around James Gunn’s rehiring, the Marvel actor said:
“… I think it’s a big statement for Disney to go back on a decision like that. Like, I think that’s a huge statement, a very political statement. It’s not something they needed to do, not at that point, but they basically stepped back and did the right thing and I think that’s a huge statement.”
“So, not to sound condescending, but I’m very proud of Disney. I’m sure that wasn’t easy for them, because they’re basically admitting to the world they made a mistake, they’re wrong. But, also, what that statement says goes a long way.”
The wrestling star wrapped up his answer by saying:
“It was a political attack and it was a rash decision, it was a bad decision. It empowered really horrible people. So, I think for them to go back when they didn’t have to at that point was a huge step. I’m very proud of them.”
Disney’s firing of the popular director saw a public outcry from Marvel fans and people across the entertainment industry. James Gunn’s firing due to offensive sentiments made online is reminiscent of another, more recent, situation within Disney’s family of brands.
Just this year, Gina Carano — former star of the Disney+ smash-hit The Mandalorian — came under fire for her controversial Tweets, ultimately leading to her being fired from the Star Wars franchise. For months, Star Wars fans had been divided about Carano online, with #FireGinaCarano, #WeLoveCaraDune, and #IStandWithGinaCarano all trending at various points in time throughout The Mandalorian Season 2.
Despite the fact that Carano, too, has received public support from Star Wars fans, Disney has not yet announced any plans to bring her back to the franchise and has, in fact, been adamant that the Cara Dune character will not be recast moving forward. At this time, there are reports that Star Wars Rebels pilot, Hera Syndulla, will make her live-action debut in Rangers of the New Republic — the Mandalorian spinoff that Carano was expected to lead.
More on Guardians of the Galaxy
Along with a snappy soundtrack and a rousing adventure story, Guardians of the Galaxy injected a dose of freshness into Kevin Feige’s building MCU empire. The characters would go on to become fan-favorites, appearing in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) — which saw Kurt Russell make his MCU debut — and the conclusion to the Infinity Saga, Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019). The cast are set to reprise their roles in the third movie which will also see a team-up with the Asgardian Thunder God, Thor (Chris Hemsworth).
James Gunn’s most recent work took him to the DC Universe, where he directed the upcoming Suicide Squad reboot, The Suicide Squad (2021), which exists in the Justice League (2017) timeline. The Warner Bros. picture sees Margot Robbie reprising her role as Harley Quinn alongside John Cena, Idris Elba, Sylvester Stallone and Viola Davis. The movie will be released in cinemas and on HBO Max August 6, 2021.
However, if 2023 seems like a long way off to be reunited with the Guardians of the Galaxy, fans will get to see some new content from Gunn — as well as Dave Bautista’s Drax — in the near future as he has recently said some upcoming filming for Walt Disney World’s Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind — the new superhero ride in EPCOT — is on his agenda!
Do you think Disney made the right decision in bringing back James Gunn?