'Guardians of the Galaxy 3' to finish Rocket's story arc, says director James Gunn

US director James Gunn (R) and a racoon attend the European premiere of the film, Guardians of the Galaxy in central London on July 24, 2014. AFP PHOTO / CARL COURT        (Photo credit should read CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)
James Gunn (Credit: CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

The thing that upset James Gunn the most when he was fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is perhaps not what you'd expect.

The director was booted from the Marvel Cinematic Universe after bad taste tweets he posted almost a decade ago were found and republished by a far-right activist.

Disney fired him pretty much immediately, but in a surprising turn, the studio re-hired him in March to continue his work on the third Guardians movie.

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“When you asked me what was saddest for me when I thought it was gone - and anybody at Marvel can tell you - it’s this very strange and attached relationship to Rocket,” he told Deadline.

“Rocket is me, he really is, even if that sounds narcissistic. 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 went on to say that the story arc of Rocket, voiced by Bradley Cooper, will be completed in Guardians 3.

“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.”

Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Credit: Marvel/Disney)
Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Credit: Marvel/Disney)

He went on to say that while Disney 'totally had the right' to fire him over the 'indefensible' tweets, which joked about subjects like rape and paedophilia, he's learned from the experience.

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“There’s a lot of really positive stuff that’s coming out of all of this, and one of those positives is I was able to learn. People have to be able to learn from mistakes,” he said.

“If we take away the possibility for someone to learn and become a better person, I’m not sure what we are left with. I’ve learned all kinds of things about myself through this process.”

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is set for a 2020 release, with the Gunn's sequel The Suicide Squad for DC and Warner Bros landing in 2021.