It looks like this is truly the end of the road for Disney and James Gunn: A new report says that the studio met with the fired director as a professional courtesy, but is holding firm in its decision not to rehire him for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3."
According to Variety, the recent meeting between Gunn and Disney chief Alan Horn was "civil and professional," but Horn declined to change his mind on the writer-director's firing. Gunn was let go last month after alt-right activists dug up some of his years-old tweets in which he made offensive jokes about inflammatory subjects such as rape and pedophilia. Disney swiftly distanced itself from the director, saying in a statement that his views were "indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values."
Gunn owned up to and apologized for his past actions, and insisted he had grown and changed as a person, an opinion shared by his "Guardians of the Galaxy" cast. The entire principal ensemble signed a statement in support of his rehiring, and star Dave Bautista even declared that he would leave the franchise if Gunn's script wasn't used for the threequel.
It looks like Disney will indeed be using the writer-director's already-finished "Guardians 3" screenplay, but it appears that that's where their relationship with Gunn will end. There had been dueling reports in recent weeks suggesting Disney was unwavering in its decision to fire Gunn, but that Marvel wanted the studio to reconsider. It looks like the former scenario is what won out.
Variety's report says that Gunn and his agents had "pushed hard for him to be given a second chance, and Horn decided to take the meeting but only as a courtesy to clear the air with Gunn." The trade also notes that Marvel Studios chair Kevin Feige -- who had been rumored to be championing Gunn behind the scenes and personally appealing to Disney to rehire him -- was out of town and not present at the meeting, but that he "stands by the studio’s decision."
So it looks like that's that. Gunn will move on -- likely to another studio -- and so will Disney. Variety's report says that once Feige gets back into town, the search for a replacement director will kick into overdrive. Whether or not that affects the film's planned 2019 production start remains to be seen. As Chris Pratt said, it's complicated.