Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, and five other key Guardians of the Galaxy cast members have penned an open letter in support of James Gunn, the writer/director who brought the franchise to the screen and returned for the sequel.
"We fully support James Gunn. We were all shocked by his abrupt firing last week and have intentionally waited these ten days to respond in order to think, prey, listen, and discuss," the letter begins, also hand-signed by Vin Diesel, Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker, Pom Klementieff, and Sean Gunn (James' brother as well as a GoTG actor). "In that time we've been encouraged by the outpouring of support from fans and members of the media who wish to see James reinstated as director of Volume 3 as well as discouraged by those so easily duped into believing the many outlandish conspiracy theories surrounding him."
The cast uses the letter to express why they continue to trust Gunn, despite the backlash over his troubling past comments, and would want to work with him in the future. “The character he has shown in the wake of his firing is consistent with the man he was every day on set, and his apology, now and from years ago when first addressing these remarks, we believe is from the heart, a heart we all know, trust, and love.”
While the actors don't make any demands, they do share their frustration with the “court of public opinion" and call for an openness to redemption. "In casting each of us to help him tell the story of misfits who find redemption, he changed our lives forever. We believe the theme of redemption has never been more relevant than now." There's also a commitment to standing with James' work in the years ahead: "Each of us looks forward to working with our friend James again in the future. His story isn't over—not by a long shot."
Pratt captioned the letter on Instagram, "Although I don’t support James Gunn’s inappropriate jokes from years ago, he is a good man. I’d personally love to see him reinstated as director of Volume 3."
Klementieff shared the same sentiments as Pratt.
The cast ends the letter by sharing their hope this incident will serve as a teaching moment. "It is our hope that what has transpired can serve as an example for all of us to realize the enormous responsibility we have to ourselves and to each other regarding the use of our written words when we etch them in digital stone."
Last week, actress Selma Blair also defended Gunn, sharing a Change.org petition asking for Gunn to be reinstated, which has now been signed by more than 341,000 people. Bautista also commented on July 20, saying he was "NOT ok" with Disney's decision.