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Contrary to recent reports, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige stands by The Walt Disney Studios' decision to not rehire James Gunn as the director on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Last month, the Mouse House made the quick decision to fire Gunn from the third Guardians film after old tweets of his resurfaced, bringing to light numerous jokes about rape and pedophilia. Considering that Disney is a family company and the current climate surrounding the entertainment industry, it was understandable why they would let go of the acclaimed filmmaker.
Still, the decision came as a surprise to practically the entire industry, including the Guardians of the Galaxy cast, who penned an open letter supporting Gunn in the wake of his dismissal. After backlash from fans and an active campaign to have Gunn rehired, it was rumored that Disney was planning on meeting with the director to discuss his potential reinstatement, something that was possibly being championed by Feige. While the two apparently did meet, it's now being reported that Disney is maintaining their decision not to rehire Gunn despite everything that has happened. What's more, it looks like Feige stands by that judgment.
Variety reports that Kevin Feige stands by Disney's decision to not rehire James Gunn as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3's director, notwithstanding rumors that he's been actively lobbying on his behalf for the past few weeks. In fact, it has also been reported, that since he's been out of town, Feige wasn't in the meeting studio chief Alan Horn had with Gunn. While it's possible that Feige did campaign for Gunn's reinstatement on some level, he's now chosen to side with Disney's upper echelon on the decision.
This news is the nail in the coffin the campaign to get James Gunn rehired at Marvel Studios. While it certainly seems like his days with the Guardians are over, that doesn't mean his story won't live on in one way or another. Disney reportedly wants to use Gunn's script for Guardians 3, which he completed earlier this summer. If that's the case, then it's certainly possible that the film can still make its planned early 2019 production start date, thus meaning it can still release in 2020, as previously stated.
Aside from Gunn being fired, what's unfortunate about this decision and backlash is that the film will always be tainted from now on, and whoever is hired to replace Gunn will have to deal with a flurry of criticisms from fans. But the fact that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will still use Gunn's story, albeit tweaked and polished by a new writer, means that Dave Bautista and the rest of the cast can still see their stories concluded properly. But we'll just have to wait and see what happens.