Two months after Disney ousted James Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after alt-right activists resurfaced old offensive tweets of the director joking about rape and pedophilia, diehard fans have launched a $2,000 GoFundMe campaign to pay for billboards demanding the Mouse House reverse course and rehire him.
Should they reach their goal – which seems likely given that so far they've raised $1,855 — the ads will run for one month, "preferably during the holidays," outside Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as well as its Disney World theme parks in Orlando.
But the message the fans are sending is loud and clear: The helmer deserves a second chance to complete his blockbuster Marvel trilogy.
Disney ousted Gunn over the decade-old social media posts following pressure from conservative media. Gunn had apologized for the posts even before his hiring by Disney, saying they were written in jest during a time in his past when he viewed himself as a "provocateur" and not the kid-friendly filmmaker he is today. But that had little impact on the Mouse House's zero-tolerance policy.
While Gunn's may be out of the director's chair, he's not gone from the Guardians galaxy entirely. His brother Sean Gunn told Tulsa World this week that Disney still "has every intention of using the script" James wrote for the third installment.
As of press time, work on the Marvel film remains on hold while Disney and Marvel Studios search for a new director to take Gunn's place, a move that will likely result in Guardians' 2020 release date being pushed back.
Then there's the issue of mollifying Gunn's cast, all of whom signed an open letter protesting his firing, with David Bautista, who plays Drax, even going so far as to threaten to quit the franchise for allowing Disney to be muscled around by what he called "fascist cybernazis."
Disney has stuck by its decision despite the fan and cast support, with the company's CEO, Alan Horn, saying he gave it his blessing after studio executives were in unanimous agreement.