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Decision to fire James Gunn was 'unanimous,' according to Disney CEO

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Sep 20, 2018, 12:25 PM EDT

Disney CEO Bob Iger wields perhaps more power in the film world than anyone else, as his company owns the most successful franchises in history and isn’t looking to let up any time soon. Star Wars, all the Disney princesses, and of course, the MCU — Iger’s got a lot going on. Which means his team is ultra-protective of it, cracking down when, say, offensive and ill-conceived old tweets from one of their directors suddenly resurface.

That’s what happened with Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, and Iger shed some light on the much-speculated and much-protested process behind Gunn’s firing. According to The Hollywood Reporter, which interviewed Iger about Star Wars and Marvel, it wasn’t solely a decision by Disney Studios head Alan Horn.

“The James Gunn decision was brought to me as a unanimous decision of a variety of executives at the studio and I supported it,” the Disney CEO said. “I haven’t second-guessed their decision.” 

This makes clear that Gunn isn’t returning despite cast and fan support, and that the decision came to Iger from multiple executives — not just Horn, as some assumed. While this seems to contradict speculative narrative of a Disney-led ouster from the top, Gunn now seems to have faced an unwavering contingent of higher-ups who were firm in their decision — and Iger, for one, isn’t reconsidering.

That’s tough for Gunn, who likely already knew that regardless of support from peers and fans, he wouldn’t be returning, and also for the MCU. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has already been put on hold following Gunn’s departure, likely bumping its release date further into the future.