Fans petition Disney bosses to rehire James Gunn with California billboard

Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige has confirmed the next sequel is currently "on hold".

Guardians of the Galaxy fans have taken out a billboard near Disneyland, California to call on movie bosses to reinstate James Gunn as director of the franchise's third film.

The moviemaker behind the first two Marvel blockbusters was let go by Disney executives in July (18) after controversial mean tweets he sent years ago resurfaced online.

His cast, including Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana, voiced their support for Gunn by signing an open letter urging studio officials to reconsider his firing, but Disney chiefs have yet to budge, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 remains without a director.

Now fans of Gunn have pooled their cash via a crowdfunding campaign to pay for the huge digital advertisement, which went live on Monday (29Oct18) in Anaheim. The billboard directs people to visit a specially-created website arguing the case for the filmmaker's return.

The ad is one of several organisers hope to erect near both Disneyland and Florida's Walt Disney World, and they are seeking to raise a total of $12,000 (£9,400) to cover the cost of the campaign. In the lead up to the billboard's unveiling, their efforts had attracted just under $5,000 (£3,900) in donations.

One fan involved in the project, Giuseppe Cincinnato, acknowledges the posts are unlikely to sway Disney bosses, but they hope it will help to lift Gunn's spirits.

"We really love Gunn as both a creator and the man we've seen him mature into," he told The Hollywood Reporter.

"Even if this wasn't going to cause Disney to see their mistake, we could at least show James Gunn how much support he has in his corner of the galaxy."

Gunn, who has since been tapped to write and possibly direct the Suicide Squad sequel for Marvel's rival, DC Comics, has yet to comment on the public show of support.

The news emerges days after Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige confirmed development on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 had stalled in the wake of Gunn's exit.

At a special screening of Black Panther last week (ends26Oct18), he reportedly told attendees the film was currently "on hold", according to Critics Choice Association journalist Erick Weber, who was in the audience.

The movie had been due to premiere in 2020.

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