Ex-Disney Boss Who Fired James Gunn Breaks Silence on Ordeal

By Nathan Johnson Posted:
James Gunn Guardians of the Galaxy Disney Marvel

Alan Horn, the former chairman of Walt Disney Studios, gave insight into his decision to fire and then rehire Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn.

In July 2018, James Gunn was fired by Disney executive Alan Horn after a few of Gunn's tweets from many years prior resurfaced due to politicians targeting the filmmaker.

Even though Gunn made a public apology for the tweets in the past, Horn still made the difficult decision to let Gunn go, meaning that the MCU director would no longer work for the House of Mouse.

However, Gunn was hired back by Horn in 2019 to be the writer-director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, a movie that is set to be released on May 5.

Alan Horn Speaks On Rehiring James Gunn

James Gunn, Guardians, Disney

While speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, former chairman of Walt Disney Studios Alan Horn explained his thought process after firing James Gunn in 2018 due to decade-old tweets, and how he felt leading up to rehiring the filmmaker.

Apparently, Horn had a gut feeling that he had made the wrong decision when he fired Gunn.

Gunn himself stated that Horn felt as though "it was the right thing to do," and that the former chairman even "felt sick" about letting Gunn go in the first place:

"It’s a hundred percent because Alan Horn felt sick. He did it because he thought it was the right thing to do."

For the first time in public, Horn commented that the way Gunn presented himself after he was fired proved just how much of a "gentleman" he was. The former chairman echoed Gunn and said that rehiring him "just felt like the right thing to do:"

"Everything he did subsequently was first class. He was such a gentleman about it in the ensuing months that we just brought him back. It felt like the right thing to do. I hold him in absolute high regard."

It was even revealed that Horn, who is now a consultant for Warner Bros. Discovery, agreed with and supported the company's decision to name Gunn the Co-CEO of DC Studios, where Gunn will oversee that universe of superhero films.

However, Gunn's involvement with Warner Bros. Discovery won't be the first time the Guardians 3 director is attached to the world of DC.

When he was rehired by Horn, Gunn apparently paid Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige a visit. The Marvel Studios boss was overjoyed that the filmmaker was back for Guardians 3, but Gunn revealed to him that he had already committed to directing The Suicide Squad, a DC film.

However, that meeting was not the first time Gunn and Feige were in contact since Horn fired him, as Feige revealed that the two kept in close touch with one another throughout the whole process.

The Marvel Studios president went as far as to say that he and the other executives never even met with anyone else to take Gunn's place for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3:

"We didn’t even put a preliminary list together just because we couldn’t do it. We couldn't stomach it."

Bringing Back James Gunn was the Right Decision

Most of the time firing someone is obviously a hard choice, especially when that person has put so much effort into the company and their work has brought nothing but success.

However, it also has to be an equally difficult decision to rehire the same person. The person who holds that kind of power has to wonder if whoever they are rehiring has burnt any bridges or if there is any lost trust.

From the surface, it seems as though Gunn handled the situation with as much class as humanly possible.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 writer-director is obviously passionate about his work, and he has apparently grown very close to the group of actors that he has spent so much time with throughout this trilogy.

The success of the first two Guardians films proves that there is a special connection between Gunn, the films, and the actors. 

It would have been extremely easy for Gunn to be publicly furious after he was fired, and even refuse to come back to the MCU, especially since he was already set to work on The Suicide Squad.

However, that is not who James Gunn is.

If executives such as Alan Horn and Kevin Feige said that he was a "gentleman" throughout the entire process, then fans would be wise to trust them.

He obviously impressed Horn with his actions after he was fired, and for Feige to still stay in contact with the filmmaker proves that he was truly irreplaceable.

It is impossible to predict just how successful Guardians 3 will be, as well as how it will be received by fans, but it is fairly clear that Disney and Marvel Studios at least got the film made by the person that they wanted to make it.

- About The Author: Nathan Johnson
Nathan is a writer at The Direct where he covers Star Wars, the MCU, and DC news. He joined The Direct in April 2021 and currently writes news and feature articles about all three brands mentioned above, but his main specialty is his knowledge about anything and everything Star Wars.