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‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ Put on Hold After Director James Gunn Firing: Report

guardians of the galaxy on hold
Marvel Studios' AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR..L to R: Drax (Dave Bautista) and Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt)Courtesy of Chuck Zlotnick..©Marvel Studios 2018

The third installment in the blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy has been put on hold after the firing of director James Gunn, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

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The publication reports that Marvel and Disney are “regrouping” on the film, which was originally scheduled to begin principal photography in January or February, with crew members who were in preproduction being dismissed to look for new work.

The film’s star, Chris Pratt, who plays Star-Lord in the series, told the AP in mid-August that the cast was struggling with the July 20 decision made by Walt Disney Studios to fire director and writer Gunn after controversial jokes about rape and pedophilia that he tweeted a decade ago were resurfaced by conservative website The Daily Caller.

guardians of the galaxy
Marvel Studios’ AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR..L to R: Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Mantis (Pom Klementieff), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Drax (Dave Bautista) Courtesy of Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2018

“It’s not an easy time,” Pratt, 39, said. “We all love James and he’s a good friend of ours, but we also really love playing the Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s a complicated situation for everybody. And you know, we just want to move forward and do what’s right and be the best people we can be.”

Other cast members have also spoken out after the 52-year-old’s dismissal from the project, with Kurt Russell, who played Ego the Living Planet in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, telling Variety in early August that society was “getting a little too sensitive on some of the wrong people” and Dave Bautista, a.k.a. Dax the Destroyer, threatening to quit the project if Gunn’s original script for Vol. 3 wasn’t used.

james gunn
ames Gunn attends the “Guardians of the Galacy” photocall on July 25, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images) Getty Images

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Pratt and Bautista, 49, and the rest of the Guardians cast including Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Sean Gunn, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff and Michael Rooker also signed an open letter of support on July 30 calling for Gunn’s reinstatement.

Disney chairman Alan Horn gave a statement to Us Weekly in July following Gunn’s firing. “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,” he said at the time.

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A day prior to being let go, Gunn released a public apology to Twitter. “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,” he wrote at the time. “My days saying something just because it’s shocking and trying to get a reaction are over. In the past, I have apologized for humor of mine that hurt people. I truly felt sorry and meant every word of my apologies. … 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.”

The Guardians franchise has grossed more than $1.6 billion to date.

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