Director James Gunn, who previously helmed the two installments of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, will not be returning for the third film of the franchise. In July, Disney Studios, who officially took over the project with Marvel Studios, fired Gunn after old tweets, wherein he joked about pedophilia and rape, surfaced on the internet yet again.
Variety magazine stated that both the studios are, "Standing by their decision to not reinstate him as helmer for the next installment." This decision came after a “courtesy” meeting was held between the Gunn and Disney Studio’s chairman Alan Horn. Reportedly, Gunn and his team tried their best to convince them to alter their decision.
Kevin Feige, Marvel Studios president, was previously rumoured to have been lobbying for the director's reinstatement. However, official word has it that he stands by the studio’s decision. In spite of Gunn's offensive tweets and its attitude, he received support from the cast and crew of Guardians of the Galaxy.
In fact, an online petition was launched by the fans urging the studios to reinstate him as the director for the third film. Actors like Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Sean Gunn, Pom Klementieff and other stars signed an open letter in support of their director. In less than a couple of weeks, nearly 350,000 people had signed the petition for his reinstatement on Change.org.
The cast wrote in the letter, “We fully support James Gunn” but also acknowledged his mistake. They further added, “We were all shocked by his abrupt firing last week and have intentionally waited these ten days to respond in order to think, pray, listen, and discuss.” However, veteran actor Kurt Russell, who is seen as Ego in Vol. 2 said, “We're getting a little too sensitive on maybe some of the wrong people.”