It’s been the news that Marvel fans have been praying for for months: James Gunn, the brains behind Disney’s massively successful Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, has been reinstated as the third instalment’s director.
The director took to Twitter and Instagram to thank his followers. He wrote “I’m tremendously grateful to every person out there who has supported me over the past few months.” He then went on to add that he deeply appreciated Disney’s decision to allow him to return to the franchise. He signed off simply saying “from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Love to you all.”
Disney removed Gunn from the project when news stories surfaced last July about tweets he had posted to the social media platform between 2009 and 2012. The posts in questions contained racist and homophobic jokes which have since been deleted.
Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn then issued a statement saying: “The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’s Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him.”
At the time, the cast were up in arms at the loss of their director. Gunn has steered the last two films to both critical and financial success.
Last year over 150,000 people signed a petition asking Disney to return Gunn to his role of director on the sci-fi series of films. Marvel fan Chandler Edwards was behind the wave of signatures. When he launched the petition, he said “I’m smart enough to know this most likely won’t change anything but hopefully, this could get Disney to realise the mistake they made and not do it again in the future.”
The director has been silent on twitter since July 20 2018, when he issued a statement back about the offensive tweets that caused the controversy that saw Disney remove him in the first place.
What this means for The Suicide Squad, the DC comic book sequel which Gunn recently signed on to pen a script for, remains to be seen.
Marvel have made the news repeatedly this week. First they released Captain Marvel, the first of their films to have a female superhero lead, on International Women’s Day.
Then came the Avengers: Endgame trailer that has prompted a flurry of fan theories about how the superheroes will save the world and what all those different hairstyles really mean.
The only blip in a week of good news was the release of the new Avengers: Endgame posters. Fans took to social media to decry the absence of Black Panther star Danai Gurira’s name in credits on the artwork. The studio then released a new version with her added back in.
With Gunn now back on board, the hope is that the actors who were undecided on returning will commit once more to the project.