Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, and the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 cast posted a group message on social media in regards to director James Gunn. Pratt shared the statement from the Guardians cast to Instagram on July 30, calling for Gunn to be brought back to helm Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
Earlier this month, Deadline reported that Gunn had been fired from working on the franchise following the discovery of some inappropriate jokes he allegedly made on social media in the past. The jokes, allegedly written by Gunn prior to his work on the Guardians franchise, touched on pedophilia and rape. After they surfaced and began to go viral, Disney and Marvel immediately severed ties with the writer-director, announcing he would not return to direct the third installment.
Now, however, it seems as if the entirety of the A-list cast of The Guardians of the Galaxy are coming to Gunn's defense. In addition to Pratt and Saldana, the cast members who signed the statement include Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker, Pom Klementieff, and Sean Gunn, Gunn's brother who plays Kraglin in the films.
Many members of the cast have since reposted the statement to their own social media pages, often in addition to an individual personal statement. Both Pratt and Klementieff wrote, "Although I don’t support James Gunn’s inappropriate jokes from years ago, he is a good man. I’d personally love to see him reinstated as director of Volume 3 [of The Guardians of the Galaxy]. If you please, read the following statement- signed by our entire cast."
The cast's statement (which you can read in full above) begins with a definitive declaration: "We fully support James Gunn," the actors wrote. "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."
The letter goes on to clarify that by no means are they defending the jokes Gunn allegedly made several years back. What they do defend, however, is the kind of person they believe Gunn to be today.
"The character [Gunn] 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 that now."
Gunn's alleged tweets were first reported by Fox News. According to Deadline, they were initially discovered by several conservative media outlets, after Gunn — an outspoken liberal — openly criticized right wing pundit Ben Shapiro. Because of the supposed retaliatory nature behind their discovery, in addition to the tweets appearing in screenshot form, it's not yet been confirmed that all of the jokes in question were, in fact, actually written by Gunn.
Gunn, for his part, responded to the accusations in a series of tweets the day after they surfaced. He admitted to having made inappropriate jokes on Twitter in the past, but did not reveal whether or not all of the alleged jokes captured came from him.
"For the record, when I made these shocking jokes, I wasn’t living them out," Gunn wrote on July 20. "I know this is a weird statement to make, and seems obvious, but, still, here I am, saying it." Another tweet in the series read, "I used to make a lot of offensive jokes. I don’t anymore. I don’t blame my past self for this, but I like myself more and feel like a more full human being and creator today. Love you to you all."
At the time of publication, neither Disney nor Marvel have commented on the letter, or whether they plan on re-instating Gunn to his previous role.