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James Gunn Discusses “Guardians” Firing, “Squad” Gig

By Kelvin Owens

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In a lengthy sit down interview, filmmaker James Gunn has spoken with  Deadline about the past year – breaking his silence about his firing and eventual re-hiring onto the third installment of Marvel’s blockbuster film franchise “Guardians of the Galaxy” along with his current gig helming “The Suicide Squad” film.

The formerly outspoken filmmaker helped himself by not blaming anyone but himself for the vile joke tweets he wrote years ago and that he had previously apologized for. Even now he doesn’t hold it against those who targeted him in their takedown campaign:

“I don’t blame anyone. I feel and have felt bad for a while about some of the ways I spoke publicly; some of the jokes I made, some of the targets of my humor, just the unintentional consequences of not being more compassionate in what I’m putting out there. I know that people have been hurt by things that I’ve said, and that’s still my responsibility, that I wasn’t as compassionate as I should be in what I say. I feel bad for that and take full responsibility. Disney totally had the right to fire me. 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.”

Gunn also discussed his hiring on “The Suicide Squad,” saying it creatively revitalised him somewhat: “The Suicide Squad, it just instantly started flowing. I don’t think I’ve had as much fun writing a script since maybe Dawn of the Dead. That’s what this whole movie has been like.”

With Gunn now back on the third ‘Guardians,’ he was asked what characters or themes he’s most excited to see through in the third film. He says:

“When you asked me what was saddest for me when I thought it was gone – and anybody at Marvel can tell you – it’s this very strange and attached relationship to Rocket. Rocket is me, he really is, even if that sounds narcissistic. Groot is like my dog. I love Groot in a completely different way. I relate to Rocket and I feel compassion for Rocket, but I also feel like his story has not been completed. He has an arc that started in the first movie, continued into the second and goes through Infinity War and Endgame, and then I was set to really finish that arc in Guardians 3. That was a big loss to me – not being able to finish that story – though I was comforted by the fact that they were still planning to use my script.”

“The Suicide Squad” will be out in theaters on August 6th 2021. Gunn’s script for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is already done and he will begin filming that after ‘Squad’ is completed – it has no release date at this point. Gunn also produced the superhero horror film “Brightburn” which opens in cinemas next week.