Eight months after Disney fired James Gunn, writer and director of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and its sequel, over a series of old and tasteless social media posts resurfaced, the company has had a change of heart. Gunn has been reinstated and will direct Guardians of the Galaxy 3 as originally planned, Deadline reports.
Gunn lost his Marvel Cinematic Universe gig in July 2018, after an alt-right trolls dug up tweets that Gunn made nearly a decade ago that poked fun at serious topics like pedophilia and rape. Gunn, who broke into the film industry via Troma Entertainment, a studio that’s notorious for it’s low-budget, off-color fare, had previously apologized for the jokes. However, renewed attention on Gunn’s “indefensible” statements forced Disney to remove the director from Guardians of the Galaxy‘s third installment. A replacement was never announced.
Walt Disney Studios president Alan Horn decided to rehire Gunn after a series of meetings, Deadline says, and was impressed by both Gunn’s further apologies and his conduct following his termination. Gunn will direct Guardians of the Galaxy 3 from the screenplay that he wrote before his initial dismissal.
Almost immediately after Gunn lost the Guardians of the Galaxy 3 gig, his Guardians cast members issued a statement in support of the director and asked Disney to reconsider its decision. MCU fans flocked to Gunn’s aid, too, and went so far as to crowdfund a billboard in Anaheim, California, that encouraged Disney to rehire the filmmaker.
In the meantime, Warner Bros. hired Gunn to write and direct its Suicide Squad sequel, which will see Margot Robbie reprise her role as Harley Quinn in addition to a mostly new cast. According to Deadline, Gunn’s Suicide Squad is still on the table: Marvel has agreed to postpone Guardians of the Galaxy 3 production until after Suicide Squad 2 is finished.
The Guardians of the Galaxy characters — the few who survived the end of Avengers: Infinity War, anyway — will next appear in Avengers: Endgame, which debuts at the end of April. Gunn’s next project will be Brightburn, a twisted take on a Superman-style origin story starring Elizabeth Banks. Gunn produced the film, which hits theaters on May 24.