Jordan Strauss, Associated Press
FILE - In this Nov. 11, 2017 file photo, filmmaker James Gunn arrives at the 9th annual Governors Awards in Los Angeles. Gunn has been fired as director of “Guardians of the Galaxy 3” because of old tweets that recently emerged where he joked about subjects like pedophilia and rape. Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn said in a statement Friday, July 20, 2018, that the tweets are indefensible, and the studio has severed ties with Gunn.

LOS ANGELES — James Gunn was fired Friday as director of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" because of old tweets that recently emerged where he joked about subjects like pedophilia and rape.

Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn said in a statement that the tweets are indefensible, and the studio has severed ties with Gunn.

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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 two huge hits that together totaled more than $1.5 billion in global box office.

Gunn on Thursday sent several tweets saying he was sorry for trying in the past to get laughs through shock value.

His publicists did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

The "Guardians" franchise stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista and features the voices of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel.