There's new talk of "redemption" in Hollywood— specifically for James Gunn, the 52-year-old director cut loose by Disney last year from the third installation of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise after "offensive" old tweets of his resurfaced. Mike Fleming of Deadline says he was told Disney had a change of heart and has reinstated Gunn as the writer and director of the film, news he also confirmed with Gunn's team and Marvel Comics. Walt Disney Studios Chair Alan Horn had apparently met multiple times with Gunn in recent months and been persuaded that Gunn was sorry for his actions—he had issued a public apology for the "wildly insensitive," decade-old tweets on rape, 9/11, and pedophilia, among other topics—and handled the situation well after the tweets bubbled back due to digging by right-wing journalists.
Fleming notes it probably helped Gunn that he "fell on his sword early and often and never lashed out at Disney." The AP has also confirmed (with Gunn's people and Disney) the reinstatement news, while Vox reports on Gunn's own Friday tweet on the matter, in which he said "I deeply appreciate Disney's decision" and "will continue to work at being the best human being I can be." The Hollywood Reporter notes insiders are saying that Marvel and Disney had never even sought out another director, instead working "in secret" to get Gunn back on the movie. It's not yet clear when Guardians will go into production, as Gunn signed on to write and direct DC Comics' next Suicide Squad movie, which starts shooting in the fall and has an August 2021 release date. (Read more James Gunn stories.)