It's been two months since James Gunn was fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3—and despite the cast's pleas to reinstate him, Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger is standing his ground.
In a wide-ranging interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Iger spoke for the first time in detail about what was going on behind the scenes when Gunn was let go. "The James Gunn decision was brought to me as a unanimous decision of a variety of executives at the studio," he said, "and I supported it" Despite the backlash, he added, "I haven't second-guessed their decision."
Iger did not discuss his level of involvement in detail, saying only, "I would say there is a blend of my helping to make the decision to my supporting the decisions that have been made."
Gunn was fired after conservative personalities resurfaced old tweets in which he joked about controversial topics, including pedophilia and rape. After much contemplation, cast members including Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Chris Pratt, Michal Rooker and Zoe Saldana published an open letter voicing their support for Gunn. Recently, multiple reports have suggested an early draft of Gunn's script may still be used.
At the time of his firing, Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn told E! News in a statement, "The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James' Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio's values, and we have severed our business relationship with him." Gunn said he accepted the decision, telling E! News, "I take full responsibility for the way I conducted myself then. All I can do now, beyond offering my sincere and heartfelt regret, is to be the best human being I can be: accepting, understanding, committed to equality, and far more thoughtful about my public statements and my obligations to our public discourse. To everyone inside my industry and beyond, I again offer my deepest apologies. Love to all."
With Gunn gone, Iger is looking toward the future.
In relation to other properties, Iger also spoke about how Marvel Studios may absorb the X-Men franchise after the recent acquisition of 20th Century Fox. According to Iger, "it only makes sense" to have Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige oversee it all. "I want to be careful here because of what's been communicated to the Fox folks, but I think they know," he said. "It only makes sense for Marvel to be supervised by one entity. There shouldn't be two Marvels."
So, in theory, could Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool could become an Avenger?
"Kevin's got a lot of ideas. I'm not suggesting that's one of them," Iger said. "But who knows?"