'It Was a Painful Experience': James Gunn Gets Candid on Marvel Firing

By Russ Milheim Updated:
James Gunn, Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel Studios logo

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 director James Gunn once again spoke about his "painful experience" after being temporarily fired.

Most fans remember the day on an unassuming Friday in July 2018 when Gunn was fired by Walt Disney Studios and Marvel Studios. It was a shocking move, one that put the future of the Guardians of the Galaxy into question.

As one would expect, it wasn't a fun time for Gunn either. The director claimed that it was his friends who "saved [him]" and "pulled [him] onto the life raft."

Gunn's Temporary Disney Firing

James Gunn at Guardians of the Galaxy 3 premiere event
James Gunn

In an interview with OneMan, translated from Greek, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 director James Gunn spoke on the turbulent timeframe when he was fired from Disney and Marvel Studios before being officially reinstated in March 2019.

Gunn described that era of his life as "a very painful period" but one he was "grateful" for it anyhow:

"On one hand, it was a very painful period and there are moments when I recall it and say to myself, 'God, why were you so stupid?' On the other hand, I am grateful for that period, because I think it came at a moment of my life when I really needed it. I had forgotten the reason I make movies. What was important to me. I also didn’t know how much my people loved me. I used to be the person who worked hard, who could depend on his status and fame to receive love."

Due to the support he received from his close friends and family, he learned "a great life lesson" despite the horrible situation he was in:

"Then suddenly I realized that I had the most wonderful people by my side. My partner, who is now my wife, my parents, Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Karen, Pom. They all supported me. Sometimes you think that people love you because you have a certain power, but at that point, none of that was true. They loved me for who I was. They were there whatever happened. Whatever the end result would be. They didn’t support me because I make movies. It was a great life lesson for me and I truly am grateful."

How James Gunn Is Thriving in the Comic Book World

In a previous interview, James Gunn revealed how even the former chairman of Walt Disney Studios, Alan Horn, had trouble with the choice the company had made. 

This is something the executive himself recently spoke about, noting how it became clear that reversing the decision was "the right thing to do."

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige was also "in shock" when the choice was made.

Thankfully, everything seems to be working out incredibly well for the filmmaker. Not only did his brief absence lead him to create both The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker, but Gunn is also now the co-lead of DC Studios' rebooted DCU.

So while it might still provoke painful memories for the director, it's clear that everything is playing out better than he ever could've imagined in those dark moments.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is now playing in theaters worldwide.

- In This Article: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Release Date
May 05, 2023
- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.