Despite protests from fans and Guardians of the Galaxy cast members, Disney and Marvel are sticking by their decision to fire filmmaker James Gunn. According to Variety, the decision was made final after Gunn had a meeting with Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn.
The studio fired Gunn nearly a month ago after conservative social-media figures resurfaced several of Gunns old tweets, which contained jokes about rape and pedophilia. In a statement announcing the firing, Horn said that the jokes were “indefensible and inconsistent” with the studios values. Gunns supporters—including the entire core cast of the Guardians franchise, who wrote an urgent letter asking Disney to reverse the decision—came down hard on the studio, calling the anti-Gunn campaign a bad-faith attack. Still, Disney has refused to budge.
Per Variety, Horn reportedly took the meeting—which was described by insiders as “civil and professional”—simply as a courtesy to Gunn. Insiders say that Marvel head Kevin Feige, who was not at the meeting, was also pushing for Disney to reinstate the director, but he ultimately stood by the studios decision. Representatives for Disney have not yet responded to Vanity Fairs request for comment.
Gunn does appear to have other opportunities to pursue. There are rumblings that other studios are interested in bringing him on for high-profile projects, not least because he guided the Guardians series into a fresh, funny, billion-dollar franchise. “Id work with him in a heartbeat,” a senior executive at a rival studio told The Hollywood Reporter. However, he cant make any moves just yet until he fully extricates himself from Disney. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Gunn is still in exit negotiations and could stand to receive a payout of $7 million to $10 million, and the studio might use the script he wrote for the third Guardians movie, leaving his mark on the franchise after all.
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Yohana DestaYohana Desta is a Hollywood writer for VanityFair.com.