Published May 15, 2019It's been a whirlwind couple of years for James Gunn, who was fired from his Guardians of the Galaxy franchise after trolls dug up his old offensive tweets. After plenty of protest from both fans and stars of the film, Disney rehired Gunn earlier this year. Now, he's given his first proper interview about the whole situation.
Speaking with Deadline, Gunn made it very clear that he had no hard feelings towards Disney for what happened.
"I don't blame anyone. I feel and have felt bad for a while about some of the ways I spoke publicly; some of the jokes I made, some of the targets of my humour, just the unintentional consequences of not being more compassionate in what I'm putting out there," he said. "I know that people have been hurt by things that I've said, and that's still my responsibility, that I wasn't as compassionate as I should be in what I say. I feel bad for that and take full responsibility.
Gunn continued, "Disney totally had the right to fire me. This wasn't a free speech issue. I said something they didn't like and they completely had the right to fire me. There was never any argument of that."
The director added that he had come to terms with the Disney split, comparing it to his divorce from The Office star Jenna Fischer (the two were married from 2000 to 2008).
"It was like the breakup of my marriage," he said. "I got divorced, and then had those conversations with my ex-wife: 'Let's get along as well as we possibly can and be kind to each other because we're both a large part of each other's lives.'
"But I would hate to look back on the six years that my wife and I were together and think, Oh, what a waste of time. Instead, I think it was a time when I really grew a lot and we were really good to each other. There were some problems, and we just weren't supposed to be married, but it was well worth living that six years with my ex.
"I wanted to feel that way about Disney. I didn't want to look back and feel bitter, upset or angry. Of course all sorts of emotions are attached to it. But I just wanted to be comfortable saying goodbye and splitting up, and that's where my head was at, even in the very early meeting we had, a week or two weeks after it all happened."
Of course, Disney rehired Gunn and he's hard at work on the third instalment in this franchise. And he's most excited to work with his anthropomorphic raccoon.
"When you asked me what was saddest for me when I thought it was gone — and anybody at Marvel can tell you — it's this very strange and attached relationship to Rocket," he said. "Rocket is me, he really is, even if that sounds narcissistic. Groot is like my dog. I love Groot in a completely different way. I relate to Rocket and I feel compassion for Rocket, but I also feel like his story has not been completed."
Gunn will begin production on Guardians of the Galaxy 3 after he completes Suicide Squad 2.
Read his full interview with Deadline here.