Since Disney's decision to fire "Guardians of the Galaxy" director, James Gunn, production of Volume 3 of the sci-fi action film series has been halted, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
On Friday, the outlet reported a small group of crew members that had been prepping for the pre-production of the film had been dismissed and are said to be free to explore new work options while Disney and Marvel work on regrouping the project.
The Marvel film was originally slated to be directed by Gunn and was to begin pre-production in the fall.
Disney made the decision to fire the director of the box office hit after old tweets in which he made light of issues like rape and pedophilia came back into the spotlight. Although the director had previously addressed the tweets, he released a second statement apologizing for his remarks and explaining that he tried to be provocative in his early career but does not stand by any of the remarks that he made in the resurfaced tweets.
“I have regretted them for many years since — not just because they were stupid, not at all funny, wildly insensitive, and certainly not provocative like I had hoped, but also because they don't reflect the person I am today or have been for some time,” Gunn said in a statement. "Regardless of how much time has passed, I understand and accept the business decisions taken today. Even these many years later, I take full responsibility for the way I conducted myself then."
Following Gunn's controversial firing, the full cast of the "Guardians" series released a joint statement in support of their director.
Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Bradley Cooper, Sean Gunn, Vin Diesel, Pom Klementieff and Michael Rooker all signed an open letter addressing the issue and calling for Gunn to be reinstated as the film’s director.
“We fully support James Gunn,” it begins. “We were all shocked by his abrupt firing last week and have intentionally waited these ten days to respond in order to think, pray, listen and discuss.
“We are not here to defend his jokes of many years ago but rather to share our experience having spent many years together on set making ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ 1 and 2,” the cast members stated. “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.”
The statement went on to highlight the lack of due process Gunn received before his firing, noting that the political atmosphere in America has brought the world down a unique rabbit hole of sensitivity to past remarks.
“James is likely not the last good person to be put on trial," the letter continued. "Given the growing political divide in this country, it’s safe to say instances like this will continue, although we hope Americans from across the political spectrum can ease up on the character assassinations and stop weaponizing mob mentality."
Fox News' Tyler McCarthy contributed to this article.