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James Gunn has already moved on from getting fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, now working on the screenplay for Suicide Squad 2. His fans, on the other hand, still hope that Disney will change its mind. After raising almost $5,000 on GoFundMe, a group of Guardians of the Galaxy fans have paid for a billboard asking Disney to rehire Gunn.
If you missed the first part of this controversy, here’s a recap. Gunn directed and co-wrote the first two Guardians movies, and was well on his way to making Vol. 3. Then some of his offensive old tweets resurfaced online, and Disney fired him for bad behavior. The twist is that these tweets were already public knowledge (and several years in the past), and Disney seemingly didn’t care until they returned to the public eye, publicized by a white nationalist campaign. Basically, Gunn got fired because internet trolls wanted him to get fired, punishing him for sharing anti-Trump views on social media. This made Gunn into something of a martyr among his fans—and prompted the entire Guardians of the Galaxy cast to publish an open letter asking the studio to bring him back.
Disney didn’t budge, and after dumping Gunn’s screenplay, Vol. 3 is now delayed indefinitely. It also hasn’t found a replacement director. Gunn jumped ship to the DC franchise, and the rest (most likely) is history. Unless you’re a die-hard Guardians fan determined to take on one of the biggest entertainment corporations in the world. The GoFundMe page is just one step in the campaign, including a Change.org petition signed by over 400,000 people, and #RehireJamesGunn merchandise.
The billboard is in Garden Grove, California, located at an intersection on the way to Disneyland in Anaheim. It advertises the website RehireJamesGunn.com, and will be up until Nov. 25. Since Disney CEO Bob Iger has already weighed in on Gunn’s firing (“I haven’t second-guessed [the] decision.”), it’s hard to imagine the studio changing its tune. This isn’t the same as a campaign to renew a TV show, and it’s now been four months since Gunn got fired. But hey, if fans want to spend thousands of dollars on a billboard, no one can actually stop them.
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a staff writer at the Daily Dot, covering geek culture and fandom. Specializing in sci-fi movies and superheroes, she also appears as a film and TV critic on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she co-hosts the pop culture podcast Overinvested. Follow her on Twitter: @Hello_Tailor