Why Disney Wouldn't Rehire Him
In an effort to control a situation that seemed to be quickly spinning out of control, Disney fired James Gunn, basically stamping all the accusations against him with an what appeared to be admission of guilt. Support for Gunn quickly swelled amongst fans, with the stars of Guardians of the Galaxy also coming out to vouch for his character. While it seemed at the time like another shoe was about to drop, that was virtually the extent of Gunn's offense. There were some photos of him dressed as a Catholic priest at a costume party, again as a pedophilia joke, but there have been no accusations levied against him or evidence that he did anything other than make bad jokes.
If Disney hadn't fired him and instead simply condemned the tweets and taken time to conduct an investigation into Gunn's past, they likely would have been able to announce a few weeks later that they had found no sign on wrongdoing, and clarify that Gunn had rejected his past behavior and was committed to greater sensitivity in the future, the whole thing would have likely blown over. But since he was instead fired unceremoniously, his guilt was left up to the court of public opinion, and the narrative lost track of the fact that Gunn never actually did anything wrong, instead he was "fired by Disney for being a pedophile."
There were rumors that Disney was considering bringing Gunn back, but they've since been denied, although it looks as if his script will still be used for Guardians of the Galaxy 3. The film was ultimately delayed, which could have cleared the way for him to eventually come back anyway, it had already been reported that he might be hired for future Marvel projects, so it's clear Disney's door wasn't completely shut, but after they publicly threw him under the bus, it's understandable that he would take an opportunity like Suicide Squad 2 for DC and Warner Bros..
Warner Bros. Doesn't Have the Same Family-Friendly Image to Maintain
Disney was understandably uncomfortable with the exposure of Gunn's tweets, so the firing, while reactionary, is understandable. Disney is a family-friendly brand, and protecting that brand is one of the things the company is best at. Simply not taking action was never an option.
Warner Bros. is in another position entirely. While they wouldn't want to take the situation lightly either, they don't have to worry about maintaining the same audience, so when it became evident that Gunn was guilty of nothing more than pushing the envelope, WB no longer had any need to be concerned about his behavior. If the tweets were made recently, especially while he was employed by Disney, it might be another matter. But he's proven he can keep it together professionally in a large studio system, there's no evidence of actual wrongdoing, and we already know Warner Bros. was attracted to what he did with Guardians of the Galaxy when they recut the first Suicide Squad to fit a similar tone.
Warners doesn't only not have to guard their image as strongly as Disney, but also has looser content restrictions. The studio has never had the same aversion to R-rated comic book content as Disney, so the idea of Gunn signing on for a project there would be far less controversial than it would have been at Disney.
Gunn should never have made the jokes to begin with, and will surely regret them for years to come. His time at Disney is likely over, but when it's all said and done, Warner Bros. could possibly be a better fit for his sensibilities as a filmmaker anyway.
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
- Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019
- Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) release date: Feb 07, 2020
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019