Walt Disney and Marvel Studios will not rehire James Gunn for Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3, they reiterated after a meeting with the filmmaker, Variety reported. Gunn was fired from the franchise on July 20 after his years-old offensive tweets, including jokes about paedophilia and rape resurfaced on social media.

At the recent meeting, Gunn had pushed for a second chance, but Horn took the meeting “only as a courtesy”, Variety said. Marvel’s Kevin Feige was not present, but stands by Horn’s decision, the publication said.

Gunn had written and directed the 2014 and 2017 installments of the globally successful series and was set to lead the third as well, which is scheduled to be released in 2020. A part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the franchise features an ensemble cast that includes Chris Pratt.

On July 30, the Guardians of the Galaxy cast released an open letter criticising Gunn’s ouster. “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,” read the statement. “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.”

In an interview to Associated Press on Tuesday, Pratt said this was “not an easy time” for the cast. “We all love James and he’s a good friend of ours, but we also really love playing the Guardians of the Galaxy,” Pratt said. “It’s a complicated situation for everybody.”

Gunn’s old posts were dug out by Right Wing conservatives on July 19 last month after the filmmaker posted some tweets critical of US President Donald Trump and Right Wing political commentator Ben Shapiro.

Walt Disney then quickly moved to fire Gunn. “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,” Horn said in a statement the next day.

Gunn has apologised for his old remarks, “My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative,” he said. “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.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the makers of Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 will retain Gunn’s script. No new director has been finalised.