James Gunn’s road to directing “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” has been a rocky one to say the least.

In 2018, the writer-director was fired by Disney after a number of old tweets re-emerged in which he made jokes about rape, child abuse, incest and more. Gunn had already deleted and apologized for the tweets, and apologized again, but Disney remained firm in their decision

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Now, in a new interview with Deadline, Gunn opens up about the entire experience, getting candid about he’s been changed by the ordeal.

“I know that people have been hurt by things that I’ve said, and that’s still my responsibility, that I wasn’t as compassionate as I should be in what I say,” the 52-year-old says. “I feel bad for that and take full responsibility. Disney totally had the right to fire me. This wasn’t a free speech issue.”

Speaking in a self-reflective way, Gunn admits, “My apparatus for being loved was my work, and being famous. I had never really experienced before that feeling of being loved so deeply.”

The outpouring of support from friends and fans after his firing changed all that for him, though.

“In order for me to have fully felt that love for the first time, the thing that needed to happen was the apparatus by which I was feeling falsely loved had to be completely taken away,” Gunn says. “So a part of that day was the worst of my life, and a part of it was the greatest day of my life. I certainly haven’t been perfect in my spiritual journeys since that time, but I have been better.”

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After months of lobbying by fans and the cast of the franchise, Disney and Marvel announced in March 2019 that Gunn had been rehired to direct the sequel to his two massive blockbusters.

As for how he’s been shaped by his firing and rehiring, Gunn says, “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. 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.”

Gunn is currently at work on DC’s upcoming “Suicide Squad” reboot, after which he will go back to helming “Guardians 3”.