Fans Pay for ‘Rehire James Gunn’ Billboard Near Disneyland

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

On Monday, a billboard calling for James Gunn to be rehired as director of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” went up just four miles away from Disneyland. The ad was paid for by a fan-created crowdfunding campaign that has raised just under $5,000 since September.

Reading “Save the Galaxy: James Gunn for Vol. 3,” the digital sign, which went up Monday in in Garden Grove, California, directs people to the campaign’s website, www.rehirejamesgunn.com. It’s visible from the 22 Eastbound Freeway before the Harbor Blvd. exit, and several fans have posted their own photos of it on the group’s GoFundMe page. An image of the billboard is above.

On the campaign’s GoFundMe page, organizers are seeking to raise $12,000 total to put billboards near both Disneyland and Walt Disney World for at least one month “preferably during the holidays to maximize exposure.”

Also Read: Dave Bautista Wants to Follow James Gunn to ‘Suicide Squad 2’

Gunn directed 2014’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” and its 2017 sequel, but was fired in July after far-right media personality Mark Cernovich and his followers publicized offensive tweets and writings from nearly a decade earlier. Those comments had previously come to light in 2012, just after Gunn was hired to direct the first “Guardians” film, and Gunn apologized for them at the time. He apologized again after he was fired, and said he accepted Disney’s decision.

Many fans have called for Disney to reverse its decision. Those calls were echoed by members of the cast, who eventually published a joint open-letter saying in part: “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.”

Disney stood by its decision, however, and Gunn has most recently been in talks to write and possibly direct a sequel to “Suicide Squad” for Warner Bros.

Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap.

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Dave Bautista Says He’ll Quit ‘Guardians of the Galaxy 3’ if Marvel Won’t Use James Gunn’s Script

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In a new interview, Dave Bautista said he is willing to quit the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise entirely if Marvel doesn’t use the script James Gunn recently completed for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.”

“Where I’m at right now is that if [Marvel] don’t use that script, then I’m going to ask them to release me from my contract, cut me out or recast me,” Bautista told ShortList. “I’d be doing James a disservice if I didn’t.”

“Nobody’s defending his tweets, but this was a smear campaign on a good man,” Bautista continued. “I spoke to Chris Pratt the day after it happened and he’s a bit religious so he wanted time to pray and figure it out, but I was more like: f–k this. This is bulls–t. James is one of the kindest, most decent people I’ve met.”

Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap. Representatives for Bautista also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Also Read: The ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Deleted Scene That Should Have Been in the Movie

Disney fired Gunn in July after offensive old tweets were resurfaced as part of a campaign against gunn spearheaded by right wing media personality Mike Cernovich. Gunn, who previously apologized for those tweets in 2012, wrote in a statement that he understood and accepted Disney’s decision.

Also Read: Mike Cernovich, Who Got James Gunn Fired Over Rape Tweets, Has History of Rape Tweets

Bautista, who plays Drax in the “Guardians” movies and “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers 4,” has been one of Gunn’s most outspoken defenders, calling the effort that got him fired a “cyber nazi attack that succeeded.” Most recently, he tweeted Sunday that it was “pretty nauseating” working for Disney after it empowered “a smear campaign by fascists #cybernazis.”

In Late July, Bautista was joined by other lead “Guardians of the Galaxy” cast members on an open letter to Disney asking for Gunn to be rehired. “In casting each of us to help him tell the story of misfits who find redemption, he changed our lives forever,” the letter reads. “We believe the theme of redemption has never been more relevant than now.”

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“Guardians of the Galaxy” star Dave Bautista has repeatedly criticized Disney’s decision to fire James Gunn, and on Sunday he went further, tweeting that it’s “pretty nauseating to work for someone who’d empower a smear campaign by fascists #cybernazis.

Bautista’s latest comment came in response to a fan question about working on “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” without Gunn’s involvement. The Drax the Destroyer actor says he’ll continue to fulfill his contractual obligations, but doing so without Gunn at the helm is “not what I signed up for.”

“I will do what Im legally obligated to do but ‘Guardians’ without James Gunn is not what I signed up for,” Bautista wrote. “‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ without James Gunn just isn’t ‘Guardians of the Galaxy.’ It’s also pretty nauseating to work for someone who’d empower a smear campaign by fascists cybernazis. That’s just how I feel.”

Also Read: James Gunn Appears in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Special Features With Other Marvel Directors

I will do what Im legally obligated to do but @Guardians without @JamesGunn is not what I signed up for. GOTG w/o @JamesGunn just isn’t GOTG. Its also pretty nauseating to work for someone who’d empower a smear campaign by fascists #cybernazis . That’s just how I feel https://t.co/Ym4FwruVDu

— Dave Bautista (@DaveBautista) August 5, 2018

Bautista has previously referred to the people behind the campaign to get Gunn fired as “cybernazis” in tweets, and wrote that the same sort of campaign against Gunn “can happen to anyone.”

Disney fired Gunn in July after far-right media personality Mark Cernovich and his followers unearthed tweets, written by Gunn nearly a decade earlier, in which the director made jokes about pedophilia and rape, as well as an old blog post he wrote after the DC character Batwoman was revealed to be gay. The tweets and comments previously came to light in 2012, just after Gunn was hired to direct the first “Guardians” film, and Gunn issued an apology for them at the time.

However, this time Disney said in a statement from Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn that the jokes were “indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values.”

Nine days after he was fired, the cast of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” including Bautista, issued an open letter in favor of Gunn and asking for the director’s reinstatement to the franchise.

Also Read: Mike Cernovich, Who Got James Gunn Fired Over Rape Tweets, Has History of Rape Tweets

“In casting each of us to help him tell the story of misfits who find redemption, he changed our lives forever,” the letter reads. “We believe the theme of redemption has never been more relevant than now.”

“Guardians of the Galaxy” actor Sean Gunn, James Gunn’s brother, said the “Guardians” movies made his brother “a better person” for his involvement in them.

Also Read: The ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Deleted Scene That Should Have Been in the Movie

For his part, James Gunn wrote in a statement that he understands and accepts Disney’s decision.

In his tweets, Bautista was referring to Mike Cernovich and his followers, who dug through Gunn’s Twitter history to find his old tweets and bring them to Disney’s attention. Bautista and others believe Gunn was targeted by the alt-right for his public criticisms of Donald Trump, and that Disney caved to pressure from extremists who aren’t actually offended by Gunn’s words, but just wanted to see him fired.

Cernovich first rose to prominence as a figure in the “GamerGate” online campaign that was most prominently aimed at women video game developers and journalists. He became a national figure for his involvementpopularizing the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory that members of the Democratic party ran a child sex ring out of the basement of a Washington D.C. pizza parlor.

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‘Avengers: Infinity War’: Here’s Why Thanos Waited to Go After the Infinity Stones Himself

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(Note: This post contains spoilers for “Avengers: Infinity War.”)

It took 10 years and 19 movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for Thanos to make his play to wreck the universe in “Avengers: Infinity War,” and one big lingering question is, why’d he wait so long?

After all, Thanos (Josh Brolin) is ludicrously powerful. In “Infinity War,” we see him barely break a sweat kicking the Hulk’s ass, fight off the combined might of dozens of heroes more than once, and oh yeah, hold infinity stones in his hands without being vaporized. He’s so powerful that he manages to get his hands on all six Infinity Stones pretty much in a day or so.

But if he could stomp his way through everything Earth’s mightiest heroes could throw at him, why is he just now doing it? Why, prior to “Infinity War,” in “The Avengers” and “Guardians of the Galaxy,” did Thanos rely on other villains to get the stones for him?

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According to “Infinity War” directors Joe and Anthony Russo and screenwriters Chris Markus and Steve McFeely in the “Infinity War” commentary track, the answer to those questions begins with Thanos’ two adopted daughters, Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillan).

As explained in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” Nebula hated Gamora growing up because Thanos would force the two to fight each other. The loser of a fight was punished by having a body part replaced with cybernetics to make her stronger, and Nebula always lost to Gamora. Thanos also routinely humiliated Nebula by comparing her constantly to Gamora in front of everyone else.

This abuse led them to both escape from and oppose Thanos during the events of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and in “Guardians 2,” they finally put aside their differences and become allies. Nebula then vows to try and kill Thanos, and free his other “adopted” children.

Also Read: ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Does Have One Big Gamora-Related Plot Hole

During “Infinity War,” we learn she made good on that vow, only to be captured. Thanos then searched around in her robot brain, and as we see during the scene with Thanos, Gamora and Nebula, discovered a memory recording of Gamora telling Nebula that she destroyed the map to the Soul Stone to keep it out of Thanos’ hands.

That, according to McFeely in the commentary, was “the catalyst for the whole movie.” Having “figured out where the Soul Stone was because he captured Nebula on his ship and rooted around in her brain and found out that Gamora knew where the Soul Stone was,” Thanos is inspired to finally make his play for universal domination.

But why? In the commentary, Joe Russo explained further: “The reason why [Thanos] has not gone after the stones before is because the minute he does, the forces of the universe are gonna line up against him. If he doesn’t know where the Soul Stone is, then what is the point.”

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In other words, if the people of the universe were tipped off to the fact that the big scary guy with a huge army was seeking godlike power, they could have mobilized to beat him. So, when he acted openly, he needed accomplish his aims as quickly as possible. Thanos might be incredibly powerful after all, but he’s not invincible, and neither are the armies and lieutenants who serve him – the longer it takes him to find all six stones, the more time there is for his enemies to stop him. Which is why he preferred to use proxies before now.

And until he knew the location of the Soul Stone, that necessary quickness wasn’t an option.

It’s ironic that Gamora’s unwillingness to see Nebula tortured inadvertently doomed the universe. But that’s in keeping with the Mad Titan’s M.O. — he always forces his enemies to choose between killing someone they love, or letting him get what he wants, and every time it pays off.

Then again, refusing to accept Thanos’ sadistic choice might end up being the only way the heroes can defeat him in the long term, if Doctor Strange is any guide.

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Disney might have fired James Gunn from the third “Guardians of the Galaxy” film, but the “Guardians” writer-director still appears on a featurette included in the newly-released home video edition of “Avengers: Infinity War.”

Gunn takes part in a director round table with several other big brains from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to talk about the trajectory of the Marvel franchise over the last 10 years. The discussion also includes “Infinity War” directors Joe and Anthony Russo, “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler, “Iron Man” director Jon Favreau, “The Avengers” director Joss Whedon and “Ant-Man” director Peyton Reed.

Disney fired Gunn in July after social media users, led by PizzaGate and GamerGate figure Mike Cernovich, unearthed old tweets and jokes Gunn had made about pedophilia and rape.

Also Read: ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Directors Explain Why Thanos Didn’t Double the Universe’s Resources

“The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him,” Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn said in a statement.

Gunn had previously apologized for the jokes in 2012, and talked about his personal growth since making them, but said he accepted Disney’s decision. Others haven’t been so deferential. The main cast of “Guardians of the Galaxy” released a joint statement this week calling for Gunn’s reinstatement on the franchise, and fans have petitioned for Gunn to get the job back as well. According to a report from Variety, however, Disney isn’t likely to bring him back aboard.

The “Infinity War” director roundtable feature obviously doesn’t delve into any of the controversy surrounding Gunn, since it was recorded some time ago. The directors do talk about the risks they’ve been allowed to take in working with Marvel in order to make films they personally were proud of, and how each was grateful for the fact their movies were able to build on the work done by the others.

Also Read: James Gunn’s Brother and ‘Guardians’ Actor: ‘Those Movies Made My Brother a Better Person’

In the featurette, the directors praise Gunn for helping to make comedy a larger, more accepted part of the MCU with the “Guardians” movies. They also note that the groundwork laid by Gunn allowed for the much wackier comedy of “Thor: Ragnarok,” directed by Taika Waititi (who also takes part in the panel, appearing on an iPad attached to a clothes hangar made sporting a Hawaiian shirt and hat). The majority of the discussion focuses on the way that all the directors, including Gunn, have created a mosaic in the MCU that told their personal stories, as well as elevated the other movies in the franchise.

It’s not clear how much influence Gunn might have over “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” although he shared on social media before he was fired that he had finished writing the third “Guardians” movie.

In his own statement on the situation in July, “Guardians” actor Sean Gunn, James Gunn’s brother, said working on the “Guardians” movies “made my brother a better person.”

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“Guardians of the Galaxy” actor Sean Gunn came to the defense of his brother, “Guardians” director James Gunn, in a series of tweets Friday and Saturday.

On Friday, Sean Gunn retweeted a profile in which James Gunn talked about his questionable jokes and tweets from earlier in his life, and how he’d grown as a person away from the need to do that, largely thanks to his work with Marvel.

And on Saturday, he discussed how James Gunn had changed across his life and career, specifically because of his work within the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the “Guardians” movies.

“Working on these movies made my brother a better person, and they made me one too,” Sean Gunn wrote. “I’m proud of that.” Sean Gunn plays Kraglin in the “Guardians” movies, and also serves as the on-set stand-in for Rocket.

Also Read: Dave Bautista, Others Defend James Gunn: ‘I Am NOT OK With What’s Happening’

On Thursday, right wing Twitter personality Mike Cernovich started posting a series of James Gunn’s old tweets, which Gunn soon deleted. Online sleuths subsequently dug up dozens of other old tweets, many from between 2008 and 2011.

James Gunn, the co-writer and director of Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” and the writer-director of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”, apologized late Thursday, but the next morning he was fired outright by Disney. James Gunn had previously apologized for the tweets in 2012, shortly after he was hired by Disney. And on Friday, he apologized again and said he understood Disney’s decision to fire him.

“I saw firsthand as he went from worrying about ‘softening his edge’ for a larger audience to realizing that his ‘edge’ wasn’t as useful a tool as he thought it was,” Sean Gunn wrote Saturday. “I saw that he was more open-hearted than the guy than the guy who needed to get a rise out of people by making nasty or offensive jokes.

Also Read: Disney Drops James Gunn From ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Franchise After Offensive Tweets

James Gunn’s defenders, like his brother, have been vocal on social media in the day since his ouster. That included “Guardians” star Dave Bautista, who said Friday that “James Gunn is one of the most loving, caring, good natured people I have ever met. He’s gentle and kind and cares deeply for people and animals. He’s made mistakes. We all have. I’m NOT ok with what’s happening to him.”

Comedian Patton Oswalt and “Ant-Man and the Wasp” actor David Dastmalchian also spoke out in defense of Gunn.

See Sean Gunn’s full comments about his brother, and the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, below.

2. Since he was a kid, it was clear he had a desire (maybe destiny) to be an artist, tell stories, find his voice through comics, films, his band. The struggle to find that voice was sometimes clunky, misguided, or downright stupid, and sometimes wonderful, moving, and hilarious.

— Sean Gunn (@seangunn) July 21, 2018

4. I saw firsthand as he went from worrying about “softening his edge” for a larger audience to realizing that his “edge” wasn’t as useful of a tool as he thought it was. That his gift for storytelling was something better.

— Sean Gunn (@seangunn) July 21, 2018

6. In many respects this change in my brother was reflected in the change that the Guardians go through. I’ve heard my brother say many times that when Quill rallies the team with “this is our chance to give a shit”–to care–that it’s the pep talk he himself needed to hear.

— Sean Gunn (@seangunn) July 21, 2018

8. This isn’t new information, by the way. It’s all stuff that James has explained many times in interviews, in more detail and more eloquently. It’s not some new spin. It’s always been part of the story.

— Sean Gunn (@seangunn) July 21, 2018

10. Working on those movies made my brother a better person, and they made me one too. I’m proud of that. Peace.

— Sean Gunn (@seangunn) July 21, 2018

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The day after director James Gunn was dropped from Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise over offensive old tweets, “Thor: Ragnarok” director Taika Waititi has emerged as the fan favorite to replace Gunn on “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3.”

On Thursday, right wing Twitter personality Mike Cernovich started posting a series of Gunn’s old tweets, which Gunn soon deleted. Online sleuths subsequently dug up dozens of other old tweets, many from between 2008 and 2011.

Gunn, the co-writer and director of Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” and the writer-director of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”, apologized late Thursday, but the next morning he was fired outright by Disney. Gunn had previously apologized for the tweets in 2012, shortly after he was hired by Disney. And on Friday, he apologized again and said he understood Disney’s decision to fire him.

Also Read: Disney Drops James Gunn From ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Franchise After Offensive Tweets

Gunn’s removal from one of Marvel’s big franchises left many fans angry — including friends like “Guardians” co-star Dave Bautista. But others began thinking ahead to who might replace him, and the name a great number landed on was Waititi’s.

“If Disney doesn’t tap Taika Waititi to direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 then they’re doing this whole thing wrong,” tweeted a fan.

“After the James Gunn fallout, I nominate Taika Waititi for Guardians of the Galaxy 3. It would be the best Guardians movie yet,” tweeted another fan.

Also Read: Dave Bautista, Others Defend James Gunn: ‘I Am NOT OK With What’s Happening’

Another fan added, “Give Guardians of the Galaxy to Taika Waititi so I can get the Korg & Groot team up that I didn’t know I wanted until just now.”

Waititi hasn’t made any public statement about Gunn or calls for him to take over the “Guardians” franchise — Disney did not respond to a request for comment from TheWrap. But that didn’t stop fans from continuing into Saturday night to urge the mouse house to consider the “Ragnarok” director.

Read some of the other calls for Waititi to replace Gunn below.

After the James Gunn fallout, I nominate Taika Waititi for Guardians of the Galaxy 3. It would be the best Guardians movie yet.

— Anthony Bonetti (@abonetti007) July 21, 2018

If Disney doesn’t tap Taika Waititi to direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 then they’re doing this whole thing wrong.

— Alissa Petsche (@AlissaPetsche) July 21, 2018

i see people saying that taika waititi should replace james gunn as director of gotg vol 3 and i completely agree, but let’s take it even further and hire back nicole perlman, a woman who put years of research and writing into gotg vol 1 and got almost no credit for it pic.twitter.com/SdsEimGUNg

— emma (@spideytom) July 20, 2018

If James Gunn is fired, can Taika Waititi be the next director of Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3?

— Patricia Gómexx (@GianzGmez) July 22, 2018

So…Taika Waititi should direct GotG vol. III. you can’t convince me otherwise

— liz (@bisexualxbucky) July 22, 2018

Taika Waititi better be the one picking up Guardians 3

— Taylor(????????????)Eggers (@SpottyFloppy) July 22, 2018

So we’ve moved from “This James Gunn sacking is outrageous” to “Hire Taika Waititi or Nicole Perlman to direct Part 3”. Man twitter moves fast.

— justanotherfilmnerd (@Anotherfilmnerd) July 22, 2018

i didn’t think about taika waititi saving gotg but omg he can do so much better for the franchise

— daddy dafoe (@DARONMALAKlAN) July 22, 2018

I know it’s not gunna happen but I want Taika Waititi to direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 so b a d. Fingers crossed ????????

— ????Marvel.Trash????|Saw amatw! (@Marvel__Trash) July 22, 2018

@Kevfeige would you consider taika waititi to direct gotg vol. 3? @Kevfeige @Kevfeige @Kevfeige

— Julia31 (@pouliot_julia) July 22, 2018

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‘Avengers: Infinity War’ – James Gunn Reveals What Groot Told Rocket at the End (Spoiler!)

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(Note: This post contains major spoilers for the ending of “Avengers: Infinity War.”)

“Avengers: Infinity War” doesn’t just bring together almost all of the storylines of the Marvel Cinematic Universe over the past 10 years — it also shakes everything up, changing everything we know about the MCU in the process.

The story concerns Thanos (Josh Brolin), a massively powerful super-bad guy whose arrival the MCU has been teasing since 2012’s “The Avengers.” Thanos has one big goal: Wipe out half the life in the universe, in order to allow the other half to thrive with abundant resources. It’s kind of a genocidal approach to garden pruning, and all the heroes of the MCU are fighting against it.

Also Read: ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ – The Infinity Stones Could Have Their Own Agenda

Thanos is looking to do that by gathering the six all-powerful Infinity Stones, which, when united, allow him to wish half the universe’s life out of existence — including half of the heroes in the MCU. At the end of the movie, he succeeds. Most of the Guardians of the Galaxy are wiped out, including everybody’s favorite sentient tree, Groot (Vin Diesel). Only Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) remains.

The disappearance of half the universe isn’t immediate though. Groot and Rocket have one last moment together, but since Groot can only speak one sentence — “I am Groot” — we rely on Rocket and the other characters to give the context for what he said.

In the case of Groot’s final line, though, we only knew that it had a big affect on Rocket. That is, until now. Thanks to “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn and Twitter, we know just how much of a gut punch that final moment between Rocket and Groot really was, as Heroic Hollywood pointed out.

Also Read: The 8 Wildest ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Fan Theories Out There (Spoilers)

Gunn revealed on Twitter that Groot’s last words to Rocket weren’t “I am Groot,” they were “Dad.”

SPOILER…
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“Dad”

— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) May 6, 2018

This isn’t the first time Gunn hit fans in the feels when it comes to Groot. He previously revealed that, in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” Groot died sacrificing himself to save the rest of the team. At the end of the movie, Rocket saves a twig of Groot that soon grows into another version of the creature. Gunn explained that the new Baby Groot in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” isn’t the same as the original — more like his son. The original Groot is definitely dead, and now, officially, so is his son.

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So Rocket has essentially been raising Groot ever since, and in “Infinity War,” Groot is in his teen years. He was mouthy and apathetic, but when it counted in the battle against Thanos, Groot stepped up to join the fight. And while he seemed like an angry teen fed up with the other Guardians and their parental ways, it’s clear Groot really cared.

As if the ending of “Avengers: Infinity War” wasn’t sad enough already.

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When it comes to evaluating the financial performance of top movies, it isn’t about what a film grosses at the box office. The true tale is told when production budgets, P&A, talent participations and other costs collide with box office grosses and ancillary revenues from VOD to DVD and TV. To get close to that mysterious end of the equation, Deadline is repeating our Most Valuable Blockbuster tournament, using data culled by seasoned and trusted sources.
GUARDIANS OF THE…

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While engaging with fans on Twitter Tuesday, “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn revealed a major plot point from the films — Groot is dead, and Baby Groot is his son. What started out as a debate over who to save between Groot and porgs from “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” led one fan […]

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(Note: This post contains a small spoiler of one of the post-credits scenes of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.”)

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” has a great cast, but there’s one clear star: Baby Groot.

Voiced by Vin Diesel, the tiny version of the bounty-hunting plant creature and partner of Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) is super cute, and Groot has most of the best comedy moments in the movie.

Baby Groot resulted from Groot’s heroic sacrifice toward the end of the first “Guardians of the Galaxy.” During that movie, the tree creature used his ability to grow branches to encircle the other Guardians and protect them as the ship they were aboard crashed. Everyone survived, but Groot’s body was destroyed — all except a small twig clipping, which Rocket grew in a pot into a new Groot.

Also Read: All 46 Marvel Movies Ranked From Worst to Best, Including ‘Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2’ (Photos)

But is the new Baby Groot the same person as the original Groot? It seems the answer is, somewhat definitively, no.

Baby Groot still seems to be very much Groot in many respects. Physically, he has a lot of the same characteristics, such as the shape of his face. His personality seems to be similar, and there’s the fact that he still communicates by saying only “I am Groot.”

But “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” director James Gunn seems to have confirmed the fact the pair are not the same person. During a conversation on Twitter nearly, he said it in plain terms: the original Groot is dead.

First Groot is dead. Baby Groot is his son.

— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) February 27, 2018

Gunn statements on Twitter closer to the release of the movie were a little more ambiguous, but did let on that Groot changed significantly from who he was in the first movie. Answering fan questions about the new movie on Twitter, Gunn said that Baby Groot doesn’t have the same memories the original Groot did.

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Baby Groot does not have Groot’s memories. #GotGvol2 https://t.co/nBbQ1Dw43r

— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) May 6, 2017

Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige’s statements on the state of Groot differ a bit from Gunn’s, though. Feige said at San Diego International Comic-Con in 2016 that Groot might be a baby physically, but he isn’t one mentally. (Contrary to Gunn, Feige also stated Baby Groot has Original Groot’s memories.) If we go by Gunn’s latest assertion, though, the two Groots are two different characters.

It follows then that Baby Groot is actually growing up during the movies. after regenerating also affects In “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” Baby Groot has all the childish inclinations his name suggests.

We also see him growing up to be something of a teenager in one of the movie’s post-credits scenes, with all the stereotypical annoyance with authority and messiness that goes with that age. So while Groot has some of the same characteristics, with the same dedication to his friends and general confusion about objects, colors and people as the original Groot, he’s also a different, developing person.

Also Read: A Complete Timeline of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Photos)

And that suggests we might see some other interesting changes in Groot’s character next time the Guardians show up. The team’s next appearance seems likely to be in 2018, when “Avengers: Infinity War” kicks off.

By then, Groot may well be back to fully grown — while the first two “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies are set back in 2014, the Guardians will catch up to the present of the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline when all the current MCU story lines converge in “Infinity War.”

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James Gunn Just Broke Everyone’s Heart: ‘Groot Is Dead’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies just had their hearts broken: Groot is dead, according to writer-director James Gunn.

That is to say, the original Groot, from the first “Guardians of the Galaxy,” died in that film. Baby Groot, the tiny sentient plant that’s also called Groot — and also voiced by Vin Diesel — a major character in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” is not the original person regrowing his body from a smaller piece — rather, he is the original Groot’s son, Gunn clarified in a series of Tuesday tweets.

First Groot is dead. Baby Groot is his son.

— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) February 27, 2018

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Gunn confirmed the character death in a Twitter conversation with fans and Entertainment Tonight Now host Ash Crossan, possibly clearing up an element that continues to flummox fans. In the first “Guardian” film, Groot sacrifices himself to protect his friends, but the stinger in the film shows Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) potting one of Groot’s twigs. That twig grows into Baby Groot.

Fans would be forgiven for thinking Groot and Baby Groot are two versions of the same person — after all, both still communicate solely with the phrase, “I am Groot.” In fact, this isn’t the first time Gunn has specified that Groot and Baby Groot are two different characters, previously explaining that the pair don’t share memories. That’s also in keeping with Gunn’s opinions on bringing back characters from the dead. He has publicly said on Twitter and Facebook that he hates when stories undercut their characters by bringing them back from the dead, after something like a heroic sacrifice. Gunn was talking about Yondu (Michael Rooker), the “Guardians” character who dies to save Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) in the second movie, but the same logic would apply to Groot’s sacrifice in the first film.

Gunn’s not the only one with an opinion on the matter, though. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige said at San Diego International Comic-Con in 2016, before “Guardians 2” came out, that Baby Groot looks like a baby, but he isn’t one mentally — he’s still Groot.

Also Read: MCU Fan-Favorite Character Returns From the Dead for ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Deleted Scene Cameo

But now, it appears, Gunn has put the final nail in original Groot’s coffin.

It’s worth noting that his whole Groot situation spun off from Crossan’s retweet of a particular fandom moral quandary: If Baby Groot and one of the bird-like porgs from “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” were both in danger, but you could save only one, which would you choose?

THIS IS *MESSED* UP https://t.co/sONnNOGAAi

— Ash Crossan (@AshCrossan) February 27, 2018

Gunn’s answer was that Groot, being an intelligent lifeform (as well as the last known member of his species) rates higher than a porg.

Groot is not an animal! He’s an advanced lifeform! It’s easy!!

— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) February 27, 2018

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(Note: This post contains light spoilers for “Thor: Ragnarok” and bigger ones for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.”)

The deleted scenes on the home video release of “Thor: Ragnarok” are a lot of fun, filled with a ton of extra jokes from the likes of the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), Hulk, Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) himself.

But none is quite as much fun as a gag slipped into the final deleted “Thor” scene, in which a character from another Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise — who is also, as it happens, dead at this point in the continuity — shows up for a quick cameo.

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The final “Thor: Ragnarok” deleted scene takes place in Asgard, with Skurge (Karl Urban) about to behead an Asgardian as the executioner of Hela (Cate Blanchett). The scene cuts to an unfinished shot of a crowd of Asgardians as someone new wanders up, calling for the Executioner to stay his blade.

It’s Yondu (Michael Rooker), one of the anti-heroes of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise. Apparently lost, Yondu calls for the Executioner to “hold up a minute,” before realizing he’s in the wrong film.

“Hey, do you know where Kevin and Lou’s offices are, y’all?” Yondu asks, referring to Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and MCU Executive Producer Lou D’Esposito. One of the Asgardians in the scene points Yondu in the right direction. With a “thank you,” he tells the Executioner to carry on with his business and heads out of the shot.

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While the joke is a fun nod to MCU superfans, what’s potentially notable about the scene, is that Yondu died at the end of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” Seeing Yondu again in full blue paint and head fin as Yondu, then, immediately raises a particular question: Was the joke meant to imply Rooker was looking for Feige and D’Esposito’s offices because he’s returning to the MCU?

Marvel Studios

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” director James Gunn has publicly said he hates when franchises bring characters back from the dead simply because they’re popular. He also said that while Yondu might show up in a flashback or other glimpse back in time, he’d never bring him back to life because it would undercut the character’s sacrifice.

So does that mean the joke was just referencing Rooker’s work on “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” or suggesting he was meeting with Feige and D’Esposito as Yondu for something else? It’s pretty “inside baseball,” all things considered. Then again, rumor has it that Yondu and another dead MCU character, the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), might show up in some capacity in “Avengers: Infinity War” — if only in flashbacks.

Maybe this is Rooker and Marvel’s cheeky way of letting fans know we haven’t seen the last of Yondu.

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‘It’ Leads IMDb’s Top 10 Movies of 2017, ‘Star Wars: Last Jedi’ Doesn’t Make the Cut (Exclusive)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Listening to the quarter billion monthly visitors who populate its pages online, IMDb has ranked the top ten films of 2017, based on popularity on its own site.

New Line’s surprise blockbuster “It” ranked as the No. 1 film. “Remakes, reboots and comic books reigned supreme at the box office in 2017, but one of the biggest surprises of the big screen this year is ‘It,’” said Keith Simanton, IMDb’s Senior Film Editor.

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“Wonder Woman” and “Beauty and the Beast” clock in at second and third, proving the public’s interest in films led by strong female characters. “Overall, while franchise films continued to thrive in 2017, female-driven features had an explosive impact on this year’s box office with ‘Beauty and the Beast’ hauling in more than $500 million domestically and ‘Wonder Woman’ earning the coveted title of 2017’s highest domestic-grossing superhero feature,” said Brad Brevet, IMDbPro’s Box Office Editor.

“Logan,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Justice League,” “Split,” “Alien: Covenant,” “Thor: Ragnarok,” and “Blade Runner 2049” round out the top ten.

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Surprisingly, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” was left off the list. But, as IMDb clarified with TheWrap, it’s due to simple timing. Having been released so late in the year, it just didn’t have enough time to gather the amount of clicks it needed to make the list.

Here’s IMDb’s Top 10 Movies of 2017, along with a note from the site on its methodology:
1. “It”
2. “Wonder Woman”
3. “Beauty and the Beast”
4. “Logan”
5. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”
6. “Justice League”
7. “Split”
8. “Alien: Covenant”
9. “Thor: Ragnarok”
10. “Blade Runner 2049”
*Among the movies released in the U.S. in 2017, these 10 movies were consistently most popular with IMDb users as determined by the actual page views of IMDb’s more than 250 million monthly unique visitors worldwide. This exclusive data is derived from IMDbPro’s definitive MOVIEmeter rankings, which are updated weekly throughout the year. IMDb users can add these and other titles to their IMDb Watchlist. To learn more, go to: http://www.imdb.com/watchlist

IMDb also released the list of the most-anticipated movies of 2018. To nobody’s surprise, Marvel’s “Avengers: Infinity War” leads off at No. 1.

Marvel keeps the interest stranglehold with “Black Panther” at No. 2, while “Deadpool 2” rounds out the top three.

“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” “Tomb Raider,” “Pacific Rim Uprising,” “The Predator,” “Ocean’s Eight,” “M:I 6 – Mission Impossible,” and “Solo: A Star Wars Story” finish off the list:

IMDb’s Most-Anticipated Movies of 2018:
1. “Avengers: Infinity War”
2. “Black Panther”
3. “Untitled Deadpool Sequel”
4. “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”
5. “Tomb Raider”
6. “Pacific Rim Uprising”
7. “The Predator”
8. “Ocean’s Eight”
9.” M:I 6 – Mission Impossible”
10. “Solo: A Star Wars Story”

At least “The Last Jedi” hasn’t been totally shut out of IMDb’s year-end honors. The “Star Wars” sequel in theaters now just made the top 10 highest-grossing films of the year (domestically). “Seven of IMDbPro’s top 10 domestic box office champs this year also ranked on IMDb’s Most-Anticipated Movies of 2017 list, demonstrating the predictive accuracy of IMDbPro’s MOVIEmeter rankings and proving that these eagerly awaited movies did not disappoint fans,” said Matt Kumin, head of IMDbPro.

IMDbPro’s Top Grossing Domestic Releases of 2017 (as of Dec. 18, 2017):

1. “Beauty and the Beast” ($504,014,165)
2. “Wonder Woman” ($412,563,408)
3. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” ($389,813,101)
4. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” ($334,201,140)
5. “It” ($327,455,467)
6. “Thor: Ragnarok” ($301,136,438)
7. “Despicable Me 3” ($264,544,665)
8. “Logan” ($226,277,068)
9. “The Fate of the Furious” ($225,764,765)
10. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” ($220,047,000)

For more of IMDb’s year-end rankings go to http://www.imdb.com/best-of/.

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