Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 and 2 actors Michael Rooker and Sean Gunn have publicly responded to Disney firing James Gunn as director of the franchise's third instalment.
On Friday, the corporation decided to remove filmmaker from the upcoming Marvel project after offensive Tweets were unearthed by a conservative US news website.
Dave Bautista – who played the character Drax in the Guardians films – responded soon after the initial news broke, defending Gunn and saying: "He’s made mistakes. We all have."
Regular Gunn collaborator Rooker later reacted online with a cryptic Tweet that has since been deleted. A fan asked the Yondu actor about his thoughts on the firing, to which Rooker wrote: "James Gunn knows. That’s all that matters."
Sean Gunn, also James Gunn's brother, posted a lengthy message on social media, explaining how the director had changed and developed as a person alongside the movies.
"I hope it goes without saying that I love and support my brother James," he wrote. "And I'm quite proud of how kind, generous, and compassionate he is with the people in his life, whether they are friends, family, colleagues, fans, or strangers."
2. Since he was a kid, it was clear he had a desire (maybe destiny) to be an artist, tell stories, find his voice through comics, films, his band. The struggle to find that voice was sometimes clunky, misguided, or downright stupid, and sometimes wonderful, moving, and hilarious.— Sean Gunn (@seangunn) 21 July 2018
4. I saw firsthand as he went from worrying about "softening his edge" for a larger audience to realizing that his "edge" wasn't as useful of a tool as he thought it was. That his gift for storytelling was something better.— Sean Gunn (@seangunn) 21 July 2018
6. In many respects this change in my brother was reflected in the change that the Guardians go through. I've heard my brother say many times that when Quill rallies the team with "this is our chance to give a shit"--to care--that it's the pep talk he himself needed to hear.— Sean Gunn (@seangunn) 21 July 2018
8. This isn't new information, by the way. It's all stuff that James has explained many times in interviews, in more detail and more eloquently. It's not some new spin. It's always been part of the story.— Sean Gunn (@seangunn) 21 July 2018
10. Working on those movies made my brother a better person, and they made me one too. I'm proud of that. Peace.— Sean Gunn (@seangunn) 21 July 2018
Fellow Guardians actor Chris Pratt has not yet responded, deciding not to comment during an appearance at Comic-Con supporting The LEGO Movie 2.
Between 2008 and 2012, James Gunn posted multiple messages on social media containing jokes about subjects such as paedophilia and rape. The posts were recently unearthed by a conservative news website leading to Disney ”severing” their business relationship with Gunn.
The 51-year-old previously directed two Guardians of the Galaxy movies for the studio and was set to helm the third instalment, writing a treatment for the movie earlier this year.
The director has released an official statement taking “full responsibility” for his actions: “My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative. I have regretted them for many years since – not just because they were stupid, not at all funny, wildly insensitive, and certainly not provocative like I had hoped, but also because they don’t reflect the person I am today or have been for some time.”
Gunn began his Hollywood career as screenwriter on Scooby-Doo and the remake of Dawn of the Dead in the early 2000s. He also acted as an executive producer on Avengers: Infinity War, which has grossed $2bn worldwide at the box office. A replacement director on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has not been announced.