The Guardians of the Galaxy director may have been fired over controversial tweets from a decade ago, but his cast members and many Marvel fans have been standing by him.
Following a number of individual tweets showing their support for Gunn, the stars have signed an open letter calling for him to be reinstated as director on the third movie, due in 2020.
The letter is signed by Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Sean Gunn, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff and Michael Rooker.
Pratt posted the full statement on his Instagram, saying: “Although I don’t support James Gunn’s inappropriate jokes from years ago, he is a good man. I’d personally love to see him reinstated as director of Volume 3. If you please, read the following statement – signed by our entire cast.”
The letter reads: “To our fans and friends: We fully support James Gunn. We were all shocked by his abrupt firing last week and have intentionally waited these ten days to respond in order to think, pray, listen and discuss.
“In that time, we’ve been encouraged but the outpouring of support from fans and members of the media who wish to see James reinstated as director of Volume 3 as well as discouraged by those so easily duped into believing the many outlandish conspiracy theories surrounding him.
“Being in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies has been a great honour in each of our lives. We cannot let this moment pass without expressing our love, support, and gratitude for James.
“We are not here to defend his jokes of many years ago but rather to share our experience having spent many years together on set making Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2.”
The statement continued: “The character he has shown in the wake of his firing is consistent with the man he was every day on set, and his apology, now and from years ago when first addressing these remarks, we believe is from the heart, a heart we all know, trust, and love.
“In casting each of us to help him tell the story of misfits who find redemption, he changed our lives forever. We believe the theme of redemption has never been more relevant than now.
“Each of us looks forward to working with our friend James again in the future. His story isn’t over – not by a long shot.
“There is little due process in the court of public opinion. James is likely not he last good person to be put on trial. Given the growing political divide in this country, it’s safe to say instances like this will continue, although we hope Americans from across the political spectrum can ease up on the character assassinations and stop weaponising mob mentality.”
The letter concluded: “It is out hope that what has transpired can serve as an example for all of us tor realise the enormous responsibility we have to ourselves and to each other regarding the use of our written words when we etch them in digital stone; that we as a society may learn from this experience and in the future will think twice before we decide what we want to express; and in so learning perhaps can harness this capability to help and heal instead of hurting each other.
“Thank you for taking the time to read our words.”
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is set for release in 2020.