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Disney Stands Firm on James Gunn Not Returning to ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ (EXCLUSIVE)

After a strong push to get James Gunn back as director of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” following his firing from the project, Disney and Marvel are standing by their decision to not reinstate him as helmer for the next installment. The decision came following a meeting between Gunn and studio chairman Alan Horn.

Gunn was let go from the project nearly a month ago when dozens of Gunn’s tweets from nearly a decade ago came to light. The so-called joke tweets, about pedophilia and rape, were recently resurfaced by alt-right agitators. The studio acted quickly to remove Gunn from directing the third installment, believing the comments were unacceptable in the Me Too era and were not in line with Disney’s family-friendly image.

Since then, support for Gunn has been widespread, especially from the “Guardians” cast. Cast members including Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana asked for Gunn to be reinstated in an open letter.

Gunn and his UTA reps pushed hard for him to be given a second chance, and Horn decided to take the meeting but only as a courtesy to clear the air with Gunn. Though the meeting was described as civil and professional, sources say that Horn stood by his decision to not reinstate Gunn as director.

Insiders say Marvel president Kevin Feige was out of town and unable to attend. Sources added that while it was rumored that Feige was pushing to bring Gunn back, Feige stands by the studio’s decision to not bring back the “Guardians” director for the third installment.

Spokespeople for Disney and Marvel declined to comment.

Once Feige is back in town, Disney and Marvel will continue the search for a new director. It is still unknown if the production schedule will be affected by the change in the director’s seat. The film was expected to go into production at the start of 2019, and while sources have stressed that Gunn’s original script will be used for the next film, it is still very likely that whoever is brought in will still need to put a polish on it in order to add their stamp to the project.

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