The decision reportedly came following a meeting between Gunn and Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn.
According to Variety, the meeting was “civil and professional,” but Horn stood by his decision despite the Guardians of the Galaxy cast pushing for Gunn to be given a second chance.
Marvel president Kevin Feige is also reported to agree with the decision, although he was not present in the meeting.
Last month, Gunn was let go from directing the third installment of the franchise by The Walt Disney Co. after old tweets resurfaced where he joked about subjects like rape and pedophilia.
He apologized for the tweets, which were posted from 2008 to 2011.
Pratt says “it’s not an easy time” as he and the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy cast look to the future of the hit superhero franchise after Disney fired writer-director Gunn.
They stated that the cast fully supports the director and the character he showed both on the set of the first two movies and in the wake of his firing.
WATCH BELOW: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ star Chris Pratt speaks out in the wake of James Gunn’s firing
Pratt told the Associated Press in an interview Tuesday that he stands behind social-media posts, saying he hopes Gunn can be reinstated for the next movie.
“It’s not an easy time. We all love James and he’s a good friend of ours, but we also really love playing the Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s a complicated situation for everybody. And you know, we just want to move forward and do what’s right and be the best people we can be,” Pratt said.
“I love going to Comic-Con but I ended up not doing a lot of interviews around that time just because it was so shocking. All I know is we put a lot of time, thought and effort into the statement that we released about it. And I think we all kind of want that statement to be essentially what we have to say about it. And we were pretty clear and honest about how we feel,” Pratt said.
WATCH BELOW: The latest on ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’
Pratt shared the open letter on Instagram on July 30, writing, “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. If you please, read the following statement — signed by our entire cast.”
“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, pray, listen and discuss. 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 open letter read.
The letter continued: “Being in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies has been a great honour in each of our lives. We cannot let this moment pass without expressing our love, support and gratitude for James. 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 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.”
“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. 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.”
“There is little due process in the court of public opinion. James is likely not the last good person to be put on trial. 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,” the nine actors wrote in the open letter.
“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; that we as a society may learn from this experience and in the future will think twice before we decide what we want to express; and in so learning perhaps can harness this capability to help and heal instead of hurting each other. Thank you for taking the time to read our words,” the letter concluded.
Before his firing, Gunn’s Twitter account was heavy on left-leaning politics, and some on the right with whom he’d sparred found and promoted the tweets that led to his ouster.
Gunn has been writer and director of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise from the start, taking an obscure Marvel Comics title about a group of misfits and turning it into a space opera decked with comedy and retro music that made Pratt a major movie star. Through two installments, the franchise has brought in more than $1.5 billion in the global box office.
— With files from the Associated Press