James Gunn has been reinstated as the director for Guardians of the Galaxy 3, according to a new report by Deadline that has been confirmed with both Marvel and Gunn’s representatives.
Gunn was terminated from the project in July 2018 by Disney, after old social media posts that had made light of sexual assault and other topics were found by journalists. Apparently Walt Disney Studios President Alan Horn met with Gunn on multiple occasions following the firing, and Horn decided to reverse the initial decision after being persuaded by Gunn’s public apology and overall handling of the situation.
The director’s return to Guardians was made more complicated after he signed on to write and direct Suicide Squad 2 for DC and Warner Bros; apparently Marvel has agreed to hold off on beginning production on Guardians of the Galaxy 3 until the Suicide Squad sequel wraps production. Marvel never met with any other director to take over Guardians despite much public speculation that Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi was in consideration for it.
Following the initial decision to fire Gunn, cast members from the film, such as Dave Bautista, spoke out against Disney doing so. Fans also petitioned the studio to bring him back, even going so far as to crowdfund a billboard in Anaheim, California, advocating for Disney and Marvel to bring him back.
The first two Guardians of the Galaxy films have combined to gross more than $1.6 billion worldwide. There’s no production schedule set for the third installment, though many of the films’ characters will be appearing in next month’s Avengers: Endgame.