James Gunn Gets Candid About Being Fired From Disney And How Zoë Saldaña And The GOTG Vol. 3 Cast ‘Saved’ Him In The Nights After

 James Gunn with Zoe Saldana and Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
James Gunn with Zoe Saldana and Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

It’s no secret that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a wildly popular franchise that spans both TV and film. But a few properties stand out as fan favorites, chief among them being Guardians of the Galaxy. The upcoming threequel is one of the most highly anticipated upcoming Marvel movies, but there was a time when the property seemed in jeopardy. James Gunn recently got candid about being fired from Disney, and how Zoë Saldaña and the rest of the Guardians cast “saved” him in the nights after.

It’s impossible to imagine the Guardians of the Galaxy movies without James Gunn, but it seemed like that might be a possibility when he was (temporarily) fired over offensive tweets from a decade ago that resurfaced. Both fans and the cast rallied around him at that time, with the actors signing a letter in solidarity with their leader. Gunn recently spoke to Empire about that time in his life and career, saying:

We went through this journey where we went into the belly of the beast, and I was thrown out – and the people that I gave life to by hiring, saved me and brought me back into the fold. They pulled me onto the life raft. And now we’re able to finish all of this together. So when they see this footage [at Comic-Con], they’re reminded of this whole emotional journey we’ve all been on.

Can you blame him? James Gunn did the impossible with the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, telling an ambitious cosmic story that made the unknown group of heroes into household names. And when debuting footage from the upcoming threequel, he can’t help but get emotional over the journey he had with the cast, who came to his defense when the House of Mouse attempted to distance itself from the accomplished filmmaker.

James Gunn’s comments to Empire come as he’s preparing for Guardians 3 to hit theaters this summer. The movie’s marketing campaign is currently underway, and there are countless fan theories about that blockbuster, and which characters might not make it out alive. And given the cast and crew’s connection IRL, smart money says it’s going to be an emotional moviegoing experience.

Later in the same interview, Gunn shared how Guardians cast members like Zoë Saldaña went out of their way to offer emotional support when he was watching his career possibly spiral. In his words:

It was hard. But the things I think of from that time are the love that I got from my family and friends. I think of how Zoë Saldaña and her husband came over to fix me a meal the night after it happened. How Karen Gillan and Pom Klementieff came over to just hang out with me, to be my friend.

How sweet is that? While Gunn no doubt appreciated how the cast united in hopes of getting him reinstated, they also provided real emotional care after he was fired from Guardians of the Galaxy. There’s clearly a ton of love shared between the cast and crew of the Marvel franchise.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Star-Lord and the Guardians in Vol. 3

Director: James Gunn

Writer: James Gunn

Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Will Poulter

Release Date/Platform: May 5th in theaters

Of course, James Gunn being temporarily fired from Marvel allowed him to negotiate a deal with DC for The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker. And this has opened the doors for the next stage of his career, as he’s the new co-CEO of the DC Universe. None of that would presumably have happened if Guardians 3 was filmed and released as originally planned. Now we just have to wait and see if he manages to make a DC/Marvel crossover happen.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will arrive in theaters on May 5th. In the meantime, check out the 2023 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience.