UPDATE: A complimentary video version of this post – expanded with thoughts relating the Disney/Fox merger – is now available on YouTube. For the record: Portions of this piece were adapted from previous posts to my social media feeds, and is here published direct to The MovieBob Central Blog with no additional editorial oversight, corporate backing or direct sponsorship-input. If you would like to see more longform written pieces of this type published here, please consider supporting The MovieBob Patreon.
As the entire world knows by now, Disney fired James Gunn – writer/director (with original screenplay co-credit to Nicole Pearlman, whose original draft of the material Gunn largely rewrote but was responsible for elements such as the revised composition of the team itself) of the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY films and (until now) said to be the key driving force of the future of the “cosmic” Marvel Cinematic Universe – after a renewed wave of outrage was amassed on Twitter over many years-old Tweets (some from almost a decade ago and all prior to his employment with Disney) and forum posts where the filmmaker made “edgy” joking references to pedophilia, rape and other offensive subject matter. While he made a public apology immediately, soon after Disney bowed to what had seemed like a groundswell of genuine widespread anger and removed him from both the already-scheduled third GUARDIANS film and the company overall.
However, the situation “on the ground” was significantly more complicated – and even faster-moving: The bulk of the material (which were indeed gross and unfunny in the familiar manner of early-2000s SOUTH PARK-inspired shock-value internet troll humor) had in fact already been the subject of concern and “called out” before in 2012, shortly after Gunn (at the time better known for dark horror-comedy fare featuring a similar “edgy teenager” sense of humor like TROMEOI & JULIET, SUPER and SLITHER) was initially hired by Disney in what many considered a surprise move for the first GUARDIANS. After issuing a heartfelt apology at the time, he’d go on in the intervening years to express further regret, compare his own transition away from the “need” to express himself/seek attention through such humor to the redemption-arcs of the broken/misunderstood/criminal GUARDIANS characters; and indeed his public profile (at least in terms of social media) flipped entirely to one of boosting his friends and colleagues, supporting political-activist causes like the #MeToo movement and heavily criticizing White Nationalism and the policies of the Trump Administration Continue reading