Disney’s choice to fire James Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is starting to receive some blowback from the stars of the series. Gunn was fired after tweets of his including jokes about taboo subjects like rape and pedophilia resurfaced and were brought to mainstream attention. Gunn had long ago apologized for his earlier behavior and actions, leading many to believe that he had atoned for these comments and did not deserve to be fired. At the same time, Gunn’s tweets are incredibly offensive, and it is understandable why Disney would want to distance themselves from the types of statements he made.
James Gunn’s old tweets were given new life by several far-right provocateurs. They appear to have targeted the filmmaker due to his outspoken criticism of President Donald Trump. This adds yet another strange wrinkle into the fight over Gunn’s fate.
Many of the Guardians of the Galaxy stars have come to Gunn’s defense, some more strongly than others. Sean Gunn (James’ brother, who also plays Ravager Kraglin as well as doing the motion capture for Rocket Racoon), Michael Rooker (Yondu), Dave Bautista (Drax), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), and Chris Pratt (Star-Lord) have all spoken up in some degree of defense. Here’s what they’ve all had to say:
Sean Gunn spoke up on Instagram about his brother evolving through filmmaking:
It goes without saying that I love and support my brother James and I’m quite proud of how kind, generous, and compassionate he is with all the people in his life. 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. Since devoting his entire life to the Guardians movies and MCU six years ago, I’ve seen him channel that voice into his work and seen him transform from the guy who made up things to shock people. I saw firsthand as he went from worrying about “softening his edge” for a larger audience to realizing that this “edge” wasn’t as useful of a tool as he thought it was. That his gift for storytelling was something better. I saw that he was more open-hearted than the guy who thought he needed to get a rise out of people by making nasty or offensive jokes (or whatever you choose to call them—I don’t think his bluer material was ever his funniest and neither does Mom). And the best part is, 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. It’s part of what made working on the Guardians movies such a rewarding experience for the cast. We managed to find ourselves involved in a big-budget superhero movie that was, at its core, deeply personal. That’s a gift. And that’s why it’s good. 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 this story. So I guess my hope is that fans continue to watch and appreciate the Guardians movies, not despite the fact that the filmmaker used to be kind of a jackass, but because of it. They are, after all, movies about discovering your best self. Working on those movies made my brother a better person, and they made me one too. I’ll always be proud of that. Peace.
Michael Rooker quit Twitter:
This account will be inactive after today. We're very tired & upset over the ongoing BULLSHIT… neither I nor my rep will use Twitter again. Twitter sucks and I want nothing to do with it.
Thank you to all who gave kind words & support. See you on Instagram.
– MR pic.twitter.com/uAyIOPoAle
— MichaelRookerOnline (@RookerOnline) July 22, 2018
Dave Bautista is “NOT ok” with Gunn’s treatment:
I will have more to say but for right now all I will say is this..@JamesGunn is one of the most loving,caring,good natured people I have ever met. He’s gentle and kind and cares deeply for people and animals. He’s made mistakes. We all have. Im NOT ok with what’s happening to him
— Dave Bautista (@DaveBautista) July 21, 2018
Karen Gillan sent support, but also said she’d have more to say:
Love to every single member of my GOTG family.
— Karen Gillan (@karengillan) July 23, 2018
Just to clarify, I'll speak more on this later but just wanted to make sure that was out there. Love to you all.
— Karen Gillan (@karengillan) July 23, 2018
Zoe Saldana was cryptic with her response, and claims she will have more to say at a later date:
It’s been a challenging weekend I’m not gonna lie. I’m pausing myself to take everything in before I speak out of term. I just want everyone to know I love ALL members of my GOTG family. Always will.
— Zoe Saldana (@zoesaldana) July 22, 2018
Chris Pratt also issued a cryptic response, quoting a passage from the Bible:
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters. Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.”
— chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) July 22, 2018
Other stars, like Vin Diesel (Groot), Bradley Cooper (Rocket), and Pom Klementieff (Mantis) have yet to issue a response. Klementieff did cancel an appearance at San Diego Comic Con after Gunn’s firing was announced.
The social media war over James Gunn’s firing rages on, with one side pressuring Disney to bring him back onboard, and another arguing that his statements are unforgivable, and that Disney and Guardians of the Galaxy are better off without him. Stay tuned for more information on this developing story, and on the fate of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.