The cast of Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” has released an open letter addressed to The Walt Disney Company, which owns Marvel, asking them to rehire the director of the Guardians series – James Gunn. There is a growing chorus of support for Gunn from people who feel he was unfairly targeted for this firing.
The general outline of James Gunn’s firing is there for all to see: a handful of old tweets and videos of his with very raw and troubling content resurfaced (he had addressed their existence before he directed the first Guardians film apologizing then for the extreme humor used to promote the raw, edge films he was producing at the time), a few weeks ago a group of people known for targeting those whose politics they disagree with saw an opening and started a campaign to get James Gunn fired by Disney. We don’t know exactly why Disney ultimately decided fire Gunn from his work as Director on the 3rd “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie, but they did. Gunn, for his part, apologized and now there’s a campaign to have Disney rehire him. There’s a lot more subtlety than that, but this blog is not the place to get into those sorts of details.
We do want to share a new letter signed by nine major members of the Guardian’s series cast. Some of them have expressed their support for Gunn online previously, but all of them coming together like this might be Gunn’s best chance to be rehired yet.
Here’s a transcript of the letter:
To our fans and friends:
We fully support James Gunn. We were all shocked by his abrupt firing last week and have intentionally waited these ten days to respond in order to think, pray, listen, and discuss. In that time, we’ve been encouraged by the outpouring of support from fans and members of the media who who wish to see James reinstated as director of Volume 3 as well as discouraged by those so easily duped into believing the many outlandish conspiracy theories surrounding him.
Being in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies has been a great honor in each of our lives. We cannot let this moment pass without expressing our love support, and gratitude for James. We are not here to defend his jokes of many years ago but rather to share our experience having spent many years together on the set making Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and . The character he has shown in the wake of his firing is consistent with the man he was every day on set, and his apology, now and from years ago when first addressing these remarks, we believe is from the heart, a heart we all know, trust, and love. In casting each of us to help him tell the story of misfits who find redemption, he changed our lives forever. We believe the theme of redemption has never been more relevant than now.
Each of us looks forward to working with our friend James again in the future. His story isn’t over – not by a long shot.
There is little due process in the court of public opinion. James is likely not the last good person to be put on trial. Given the growing political divide in this country, it’s safe to say instances like this will continue, although we hope Americans from across the political spectrum can easy up on the character assassinations and stop weaponizing mob mentality.
It is our hope that what has transpired can serve as an example for all of us to realize the enormous responsibility we have to ourselves and to each other regarding the use of our written words when we etch them in digital stone; that we as a society may learn from this experience and in the future will think twice before we decide what we want to express; and in so learning perhaps can harness this capability to help and heal instead of hurting each other. Thank you for taking the time to read our words.
The Guardians of the Galaxy,
Signed by Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Sean Gunn, Dave Bautista, Pom Klementieff, Michael Rooker, and Karen Gillan.
These are strong words of support from the people who have known James Gunn best over the last 10 years. We wonder if Disney will choose to respond publicly to this open letter from the cast. So far they have said nothing more than their initial release announcing James Gunn’s firing.