Following news this week that several rival studios are eager to snatch up the recently fired "Guardians of the Galaxy" director James Gunn -- including archnemesis Warner Bros./DC -- Marvel is reportedly working overtime to persuade Disney to change its mind.
That's the word from Deadline, which shared a story on Thursday citing industry chatter that suggests that Marvel isn't going to let Disney dispatch Gunn without a fight. The mastermind of the "Guardians" films was dismissed by the Mouse House last month after alt-right activists dug up a series of old, offensive tweets in which Gunn made jokes about disturbing subjects like rape and pedophilia.
The commonality throughout the entire saga has not been to defend Gunn's tweets -- which the writer-director himself has owned up to and apologized for -- but rather, encourage Disney not to be swayed by an online smear campaign. The entire "Guardians" cast has already declared their loyalty to Gunn, and star Dave Bautista has even threatened to walk away from the series if Gunn's already-finished script for "Guardians 3" isn't kept. (Though The Hollywood Reporter said earlier this week that Disney is almost certainly going to use that screenplay.)
It was the cast's passionate display of support that apparently inspired Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige to "make one last try at rapprochement," Deadline reports, leading to "back channel conversations " in which Marvel is "trying to persuade Disney to explore a compromise that might bring Gunn back into the fold for 'Guardians 3.'"
Though Deadline admits that the tactic is "a long shot," the trade also reports that both Marvel and Disney are eager to get the next "Guardians" film off the ground as quickly as possible, perhaps paving the way for reconciliation.
"It seems clear what is best for a film franchise that will become damaged goods for the next director. Some have posited that the precocious 'Thor: Ragnarok''s Taika Waititi as a perfect fit, but what principled filmmaker will feel good about taking over in such circumstances?
Can even as mighty and as family friendly a corporation as Disney consider being changeable here?"
That's the million-dollar question (or $7-10 million, as the case may be). While the previous answer was almost assuredly no, we'll now have to wait and see if that remains true.