Chris Pratt is arguably one of the biggest names in the Marvel Cinematic Universe thanks to his portrayal of Peter Quill/Star-Lord in four MCU outings to date, most notably the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise from James Gunn. Although the veteran Hollywood star is prepping for his long-awaited return in July's Thor: Love and Thunder, he's also been the subject of some unfortunate controversy off-camera.
Over the past couple of years, Pratt has come under fire for reportedly being a member of a church that promotes anti-LGBTQ+ views. Pratt's also been called out for his political stances after not being a part of Democratic gatherings, leading to some fans wanting him canceled and replaced as Star-Lord within the MCU.
Numerous MCU personalities have come to his defense after these remarks, including veterans like Robert Downey Jr. and major players like Thanos actor Josh Brolin. Now, as those callouts against Pratt resurface online, his first Marvel director provided his own support for the actor.
James Gunn Stands Behind Chris Pratt
James Gunn took to Twitter to share his support for Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt, after fans called for Pratt to be recast in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
On Saturday, April 23, a fan tweeted for Marvel to replace Pratt with Aquaman star Patrick Wilson, after rumors resurfaced regarding Pratt's affiliation with a church that promoted homophobic views and conversion therapy. The post went viral on Twitter, gaining over 180 thousand likes and over 12 thousand retweets.
"Marvel. Hear me out. Just… replace him."
On Monday, April 25, Gunn called those beliefs "made-up" and "utterly-false" while saying that Pratt would "never be replaced as Star-Lord" in the MCU:
"For what? Because of your made-up, utterly-false beliefs about him? For something that someone else told you about him that’s not true? Chris Pratt would never be replaced as Star-Lord but, if he ever was, we would all be going with him."
Another fan asked if Gunn was cool with Pratt reportedly sharing those homophobic views, to which Gunn replied by saying he knows the church that Pratt goes to. The director accused the fan of hearsay, making it clear that this information is a false rumor meant to put Pratt in a bad light:
"He isn’t. I know the church he currently goes to. Do you? (The answer is you don’t, but you heard from someone who heard from someone who heard from someone where he goes to church, so decided, 'yeah, okay, I’ll believe this terrible thing I heard online about this celebrity!')"
Gunn Calls Out False Claims About Pratt
While zChris Pratt isn't the only celebrity attached to the church in question (Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez), the MCU star has faced more scrutiny than many others due to his centrist positions on certain political topics. However, reports have also denied him being a part of the controversial Hillsong Church, which is likely what Gunn is referencing in his message to fans.
It should be noted that another report suggested that Pratt's church, Zoe Church, had ties to Hillsong Church, though it is unclear whether this is still the case or how closely aligned the two organizations are to one another.
James Gunn and Pratt have worked together for the better part of a decade, fully teaming up on both Guardians of the Galaxy movies and collaborating with one another on Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. The two have built a close working relationship since 2013, meaning that Gunn has plenty of insight into who Pratt really is as a person.
The director made it clear that the claims against Pratt have no base to them, standing behind Pratt's character after a long relationship working within the MCU together. Gunn is never one to shy away from making sure fans know the truth about anything he's involved with, and considering his relationship with Pratt, his statement on the matter is one that he doesn't say lightly.
Gunn and Pratt will return to the MCU with this year's Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. Their next big-screen outing will come with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 on May 5, 2023.