It’s been about a month since Disney fired former Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn after several alt-right figures resurfaced some of his old, offensive shock-humor tweets about pedophilia. During that time, fans, colleagues, and the Guardians cast have vocally tried to get Gunn reinstated. In spite of the campaign to paint Gunn as an actual pedophile, many people believed the implicating jokes, some a full decade old, no longer reflect Gunn as a person — and the director had already apologized for them years ago to boot. Supporters on social media clearly hoped Disney might change its mind under pressure and petitioning. Today, it seems that dream is dead.
According to Variety, Walt Disney studio chairman Alan Horn recently met with Gunn, and while the get-together helped “clear the air” over the decision to let Gunn go, Horn stood firm on his original verdict. The third Guardians movie is still expected to go into production in 2019, reportedly using Gunn’s existing script, though any new director brought in might put their own spin on it.
Gunn’s original tweets were widely publicized by alt-right figures in an active attempt to punish him for progressive views. The tactic had worked before on other left-leaning public figures. Gunn was swiftly fired, though overwhelmingly, people on social media were aghast that Disney did not seem to care that Gunn had already learned from his mistakes. “As I have discussed publicly many times, as I’ve developed as a person, so has my work and my humor,” Gunn wrote after the news broke. “It’s not to say I’m better, but I am very, very different than I was a few years ago; today I try to root my work in love and connection and less in anger.”
While some internet commenters believed that Disney’s decision was just, given the extreme nature of the original tweets and Disney’s public face as a kid-friendly company, support for Gunn has been widespread. “The character he has shown in the wake of his firing is consistent with the man he was every day on set, and his apology, now and from years ago when first addressing these remarks, we believe is from the heart, a heart we all know, trust, and love,” read an open letter from the cast, uploaded by Guardians star Chris Pratt. “In casting each of us to help him tell the story of misfits who find redemption, he changed our lives forever. We believe the theme of redemption has never been more relevant than now.”