Chris Pratt wouldn’t be the mega-movie star he is today without Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn. And on Monday, he took the lead in calling for Gunn to be reinstated on the third installment of the Marvel series after he was fired earlier this month for making “offensive” jokes on Twitter.
An open letter signed by Pratt and the entire main cast of the series—including Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, and Vin Diesel—begins with the words, “We fully support James Gunn.”
They write that they were “shocked” by his firing and intentionally waited 10 days to “think, pray, listen and discuss” before issuing a response. Their conclusion is that they wish to see Gunn “reinstated” on the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and are “discouraged by those so easily duped into believing the many outlandish conspiracy theories surrounding him.”
Those conspiracy theories took hold thanks to the work of professional right-wing troll Mike Cernovich, who sicced his followers on Gunn’s Twitter account. The uproar they caused led directly to Gunn’s firing, despite the fact that he had previously apologized for making bad jokes about the LGBTQ community years earlier.
While Pratt and the cast made clear that they were not intending to “defend” Gunn’s Twitter jokes, which included some disturbing content about pedophilia and rape, they did vouch for his “character,” pointing to his most recent apology as evidence of his “redemption.” They added, “Each of us looks forward to working with our friend James in the future. His story isn’t over—not by a long shot.”
Gunn wrote on Twitter amidst the uproar this month, “Many people who have followed my career know when I started, I viewed myself as a provocateur, making movies and telling jokes that were outrageous and taboo. As I have discussed publicly many times, as I’ve developed as a person, so has my work and my humor...It’s not to say I’m better, but I am very, very different than I was a few years ago; today I try to root my work in love and connection and less in anger. My days saying something just because it’s shocking and trying to get a reaction are over.”
“I used to make a lot of offensive jokes. I don’t anymore. I don’t blame my past self for this, but I like myself more and feel like a more full human being and creator today,” Gunn added. “Love you to you all.” He has not tweeted since.
The third Guardians film is scheduled to start production early next year. Disney has not yet announced a replacement for Gunn.