Disney might have fired James Gunn from the third “Guardians of the Galaxy” film, but the “Guardians” writer-director still appears on a featurette included in the newly-released home video edition of “Avengers: Infinity War.”
Gunn takes part in a director round table with several other big brains from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to talk about the trajectory of the Marvel franchise over the last 10 years. The discussion also includes “Infinity War” directors Joe and Anthony Russo, “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler, “Iron Man” director Jon Favreau, “The Avengers” director Joss Whedon and “Ant-Man” director Peyton Reed.
Disney fired Gunn in July after social media users, led by PizzaGate and GamerGate figure Mike Cernovich, unearthed old tweets and jokes Gunn had made about pedophilia and rape.
“The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him,” Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn said in a statement.
Gunn had previously apologized for the jokes in 2012, and talked about his personal growth since making them, but said he accepted Disney’s decision. Others haven’t been so deferential. The main cast of “Guardians of the Galaxy” released a joint statement this week calling for Gunn’s reinstatement on the franchise, and fans have petitioned for Gunn to get the job back as well. According to a report from Variety, however, Disney isn’t likely to bring him back aboard.
The “Infinity War” director roundtable feature obviously doesn’t delve into any of the controversy surrounding Gunn, since it was recorded some time ago. The directors do talk about the risks they’ve been allowed to take in working with Marvel in order to make films they personally were proud of, and how each was grateful for the fact their movies were able to build on the work done by the others.
In the featurette, the directors praise Gunn for helping to make comedy a larger, more accepted part of the MCU with the “Guardians” movies. They also note that the groundwork laid by Gunn allowed for the much wackier comedy of “Thor: Ragnarok,” directed by Taika Waititi (who also takes part in the panel, appearing on an iPad attached to a clothes hangar made sporting a Hawaiian shirt and hat). The majority of the discussion focuses on the way that all the directors, including Gunn, have created a mosaic in the MCU that told their personal stories, as well as elevated the other movies in the franchise.
It’s not clear how much influence Gunn might have over “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” although he shared on social media before he was fired that he had finished writing the third “Guardians” movie.
In his own statement on the situation in July, “Guardians” actor Sean Gunn, James Gunn’s brother, said working on the “Guardians” movies “made my brother a better person.”