James Gunn being fired by Disney from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy 3 — and then hired back — was quite the emotional roller coaster for fans and the internet.

Gunn was let go from writing and directing the threequel after offensive tweets the filmmaker made a decade ago (and previously repeatedly apologized for) resurfaced thanks to a campaign by right-wingers angry at Gunn’s criticism about the country’s current political situation. Free from Marvel, Gunn accepted a job writing and directing The Suicide Squad rebootquel for DC and Warner Bros. The filmmaker remained silent during all this turmoil until Wednesday in an interview with Deadline, where he provided insight into the timeline of his firing and rehiring — the latter of which seems to have happened much sooner than anyone predicted:

“I was about to sit down and talk about The Suicide Squad with DC, and I was excited about that. Alan Horn [Co-Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Studios] asked me to come talk to him. I think [Horn] hired me back because he thought that was the right thing to do. I’ve known him a little, going back to the Scooby-Doo movies [Gunn wrote the first two live-action Scooby-Doo films]. I’ve always liked and admired him. I was touched by his compassion … I got a little bit teary-eyed in his office.”

So talk to reinstate Gunn on Guardians 3 occurred after he signed on for Suicide Squad but before the Disney-Fox merger — and long before the announcement was made that Gunn would be back to the world of Star-Lord, Groot, and Rocket Raccoon. In fact, what made Gunn the saddest about the whole ordeal was the thought of not being able to further and complete Rocket’s arc.

(Credit: Marvel)

“Rocket is me, he really is, even if that sounds narcissistic,” Gunn remarked. “Groot is like my dog. I love Groot in a completely different way. I relate to Rocket and I feel compassion for Rocket, but I also feel like his story has not been completed. He has an arc that started in the first movie, continued into the second and goes through Infinity War and Endgame, and then I was set to really finish that arc in Guardians 3. That was a big loss to me — not being able to finish that story — though I was comforted by the fact that they were still planning to use my script.”

Reportedly, Gunn’s plan to complete Rocket’s arc involves a love interest — Lylla the Otter.

Now, we know what bummed Gunn out the most about leaving Guardians 3. But what made him the most anxious about the whole ordeal? It was telling Marvel he first had to make their rival’s movie.

“I had to go tell [Marvel Studios head] Kevin Feige I had just decided to do The Suicide Squad, so that made me very nervous.”

While no release date has been announced yet for the next Guardians movie, it will have to come out after the release of The Suicide Squad, which is slated to hit theaters on August 6, 2021.

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