‘Guardians of the Galaxy 3’ Wouldn’t Have ‘Felt Right’ Without James Gunn, Says Karen Gillan

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The third “Guardians of the Galaxy” film would have been an entirely different movie without writer-director James Gunn, according to star Karen Gillan.

While promoting new film “Dual,” MCU actress Gillan told The Hollywood Reporter that the ensemble cast, including Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, and Vin Diesel, were “so excited to be back together.”

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“The feeling was giddy excitement,” Gillan said. “The whole family was back together and we truly do feel like a family. And just wouldn’t have felt right without James back with us. It just wouldn’t have been the same movie.”

Gunn was briefly let go from the franchise in 2018 after past tweets resurfaced involving jokes of pedophilia, homophobia, and other hot button subjects. “As I’ve developed as a person, so has my work and my humor,” Gunn said in a statement at the time. “I am very, very different than I was a few years ago; today I try to root my work in love and connection and less in anger. My days saying something just because it’s shocking and trying to get a reaction are over.”

Bautista threatened to quit the franchise and a petition calling for the writer-director to be reinstatement to helm the “Guardians” franchise was circulated. Gunn was brought back to Disney in March 2019 after teaming up with Warner Bros. and DC for “The Suicide Squad.”

“We were all extremely grateful that everything got straightened out, as it should have,” Gillan, who plays Nebula in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, said. “And now, we’re almost finished. So there’s a little bit of a bittersweet feeling in the air as we close out this chapter of the Guardians as we currently know it.”

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is set to be released May 23, 2023, with Will Poulter, Sylvester Stallone, and Chukwudi Iwuji joining the cast.

Gunn previously told Deadline that he “felt as if my career was over” after being fired.

“Disney totally had the right to fire me,” Gunn added. “This wasn’t a free speech issue. I said something they didn’t like and they completely had the right to fire me. There was never any argument of that.”

Star Saldana also spoke out about Gunn being reinstated with Marvel, saying to ET that she is “proud” of both Gunn and Disney of how the situation was handled. “All the leaders right now behind that big corporation decided to lead by example, and spreading the word and the message of redemption is important,” Saldana said in 2019.

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