Ousted Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn is being targeted by other major studios for upcoming projects, according to the latest report. For a number of years, the director was one of the central figures of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, spearheading two highly-successful Guardians films that combined to gross $1.6 billion at the worldwide box office. However, Gunn's time with Marvel came to an abrupt end last month, when old, offensive tweets of his (making light of pedophilia and rape, among other topics) resurfaced. Disney opted to fire Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
Despite a very vocal outcry against the move from Gunn's industry colleagues and Guardians cast, the Mouse House is not expected to reverse their controversial decision, meaning Gunn is a free agent once his situation with Disney is squared away. He's made a name for himself as a unique voice in film, and is someone who could be a valuable asset for a studio. Disney's rivals have surely taken notice, and are looking to recruit Gunn down the line.
According to THR, multiple executives have already approached Gunn with high-profile movies he could potentially direct. The catch is that Gunn can't accept a new job until his exit from Disney is formally completed (he's currently negotiating the terms of his release now). Interestingly enough, Warner Bros. is among his many suitors. Some have made the case Gunn should call the shots on a DC Comics movie now that his time with Marvel is (seemingly) over.
It shouldn't be surprising this is the case. Gunn has emerged as a fan-favorite director, injecting traditional genre films with a large amount of heart and humor. His style is largely attributed to helping the Guardians of the Galaxy go from obscure comic book title to international film stars, which is why so many were upset by Disney's call. It would be interesting to see what a creative mind such as his could do outside of the realm of Marvel. After working within the confines of Hollywood's biggest property, Gunn's proven he's cut out for just about anything that comes his way. He'd be more than capable of helming another blockbuster, or he could return to his roots and make a smaller picture.
Of course, there is a PR element here that studios need to be conscious of. Though Marvel has obviously drawn the most attention, they weren't the only ones to cut ties with Gunn following the tweets resurfacing. Amazon pulled the plug on his Starsky and Hutch reboot, while Sony removed Gunn's mystery film from their Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con. At least in the immediate aftermath, some companies are trying to distance themselves from the filmmaker, but odds are things won't stay that way for long. From the sound of things, Gunn's career is far from over, and it's only a matter of time before he's back at it.