Director James Gunn has been reinstated as the director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
On Friday, Deadline confirmed that Gunn — who was fired from the film in July 2018 after right-wing news personalities surfaced old tweets of his that joked, in poor taste, about rape and pedophilia — has been rehired by Disney to write and direct the franchise’s third installment. Gunn previously directed the first two Guardians of the Galaxy films.
The move comes several months after the initial controversy over his firing, which came in response to an engineered, Gamergate-like campaign to have him dismissed from the film. At the time, Gunn expressed remorse for the tweets, which were several years old, and said that he was trying to be humorous but crossed the line into bad taste.
“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,” he tweeted in July. “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. My days saying something just because it’s shocking and trying to get a reaction are over.”
Disney fired Gunn despite his apologies, his acceptance of blame, and even an open letter of support from the Guardians of the Galaxy cast saying that though they believed Gunn’s humor had crossed the line, he was a good man who’d fallen victim to a bad-faith internet mob.
Gunn’s reinstatement comes in the wake of him being hired to write and direct Warner Bros.’ upcoming Suicide Squad sequel. According to Deadline, Gunn will return to Marvel and commence production on Guardians 3 after he completes his work on Suicide Squad. A new release date for Guardians 3 — which was originally expected to come out sometime in 2020 — is yet to be determined.