Marvel Studios

Fans and friends have rallied around "Guardians of the  Galaxy" writer-director James Gunn after his abrupt firing from the franchise last week. But Disney is unlikely to forgive and forget -- or give him his job back.

That's the word from Variety, which reports that the studio has been unswayed by the mounting support Gunn has received since his dismissal late last month. The director was relieved of his duties after a series of old, offensive tweets resurfaced.

Some thought that the open letter signed by the entire principal "Galaxy" ensemble -- which said that cast members "fully support" Gunn, and agree that he should be reinstated --  might help sway the Mouse House's opinion. But no dice, apparently.

"The feeling within both Disney and Marvel is that the dozens of so-called jokes that Gunn made about pedophilia and rape are unacceptable in the #MeToo era and are not in line with Disney’s family-friendly image," Variety reports.

The trade also noted that while the cast vehemently disagreed with Disney's decision, and urged the studio to give Gunn a shot at redemption, none of them threatened to quit the series, either. (Likely because they're still under contract.) Now, Variety reports, Disney is hoping to find an A-list director to take Gunn's place, though the studio isn't in any hurry -- and may even push back the "Guardians 3" February 2019 start date. (Leaving room for "Doctor Strange 2," perhaps?)

Whoever winds up replacing Gunn will certainly have his or her work cut out for them, since the writer-director's signature irreverent style was stamped all over that series. While Variety reports that fellow MCU helmers Taika Waititi ("Thor: Ragnarok") and Jon Favreau ("Iron Man") have been popular suggestions to take the reins, they're pretty busy with their own projects.

"That means that there is a higher likelihood that Disney will reach outside the Marvel family to find a director with the kind of offbeat sensibility to handle the comic-book franchise," the trade notes.

Stay tuned.

[via: Variety]