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In 2014, James Gunn surprised audiences and critics alike with Guardians of the Galaxy, a film on the outskirts of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, that saw an unlikely bang of misfits come together to save the galaxy from an unstoppable threat. The film surpassed expectations on every level (as I can attest in my own review from that year), had a platinum selling album that reintroduced a new generation to classic rock, and ended up being not just one of the most beloved films of the year, but one of the most beloved comic book films ever released. It’s mix of humor, action, science fiction, and a dash of director James Gunn, made the film feel like something completely new, and was a more than welcome pallet cleanser to the comic book films we’d gotten.
Three years later, and we’re on the brink of James Gunn’s second film in his now announced trilogy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which sees the Guardians facing a brand new threat from a very unexpected placed. The film ups the stakes, brings together new characters, including Kurt Russell’s Ego the Living Planet, as well as bringing back some fan favorites for this epic space sequel. This is a labor of love for Gunn and his team, which was incredibly apparent at the press junket for the film.
This week, in anticipation of the new sequel, I had the chance to sit down with the cast and crew of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and listen to them talk about their experience making the film, and pulled some really cool tidbits of information from them concerning the film, their time on set, and even some hints at what’s to come in the future for this universe. There may be some mild spoilers ahead, but for those really wanting to get some really fun behind the scenes info on this film,
- Chris Pratt said his initial thoughts when meeting Kurt Russell were to not “geek out” about him. But he knew it would be better to be honest and geek out about it than pretending he wasn’t a fan, and it made working together that much better. He says that now they’re not fans of each other, but peers of each other.
- For James Gunn, making the sequel wasn’t harder, because now he knew an audience wanted to spend time with these characters.
- Gunn also set out to make sure that the sequel wasn’t just the first film all over again, and they tried as hard as possible to stay away from anything that felt too similar, and let this be its own film.
- Michael Rooker joked that Pratt’s longer shirtless scene was by his request. Gunn then added, jokingly, that it was the only mandatory thing Kevin Feige said MUST be in the movie.
- Rooker also joked that his shirtless scene was great because he realized he didn’t need to be in shape for it, as his character wouldn’t be in shape, which led him to pigging out after working out extensively for that scene.
- Originally Kurt Russell wasn’t sure if he should join the film. He loved the first, and didn’t want to join a film that was less well received, and didn’t want to be the reason people didn’t like the movie.
- Russell also says that his younger version of his character in the prologue was mostly make up, with very little CG. Something that surprised even the CG artists working on the film.
- For Russell, he said that he really has a special relationship with Disney, but he knew even though with that previous relationship, he couldn’t just land the role in Ego. But he was lucky to run into a team he meshed with and wanted to work with him as badly as he wanted to work with them.
- James Gunn is still surprised by how much freedom that Kevin Feige gives him with his movies, but they always seem to be on the same page. They only had one disagreement on this film, and they said it’s such a small thing, that no one will possibly figure out what it is. (Gunn than joked that it was having Yondu in the film, which Rooker then quipped, “Thanks for kicking his ass for adding me,” to Kevin.)
- Yondu’s Mary Poppins quip in the film has several variations to Gunn, including having Rooker using every swear word imaginable for the scene.
- Rooker also joked that working with Pratt is easy on set, because he doesn’t find him funny at all, so he never has a hard time keeping a straight face.
- Both Kevin and James thought adding easter eggs, and the possibilities of exploring the original Guardians of the Galaxy characters, was a great idea. They loved adding them.
- Stallone said that joining this world was a completely new experience, but he loved being a part of it. He joked that he was whipped with wet tails for initiation.
- Stallone also joked he gave his salary back because Kevin got him out of his house and away from his three daughters, and that was enough for him to take the role.
- Sean Gunn, who is Rocket’s stand in on set, had a fun, yet strange time playing both Rocket and his Kraglin character.
- Zoe Saldana says Sean is the perfect reference for Bradley voicing Rocket, and that he really is what gives Rocket his life, and Bradley then colors within the lines.
- Feige also added that Sean has been working one another one of the recent Marvel films as Rocket, and he can’t wait for people to see Rocket’s interactions with the new characters. He added that Sean is a big part of the process, and everyone loves working with him.
- For Sylvester Stallone, he says that Joseph Campbell and the idea of mythology is a big deal to him, and that the mythology of the Guardians drew him to the project. He loved going off world, and not being as grounded as his previous roles kept him.
- That mythology also played a part in why Stallone wanted to join for another reason: He wanted to be a part of this generation’s mythology, and he believe it’ll be the next generations as well. He’s impressed by the storytelling that Gunn and Feige are doing at Marvel.
- Stallone wouldn’t say how many films he’s signed on for, and jokes that he’ll believe it when he sees it about returning for the sequels.
- Stallone also joked that he lobbied to not work with Kurt Russell, that he can’t stand him, killing a Tango and Cash reunion.
- Sean was happy to come back just to work with the cast again, and have a bigger part both as Kraglin, and as Rocket. He loves being with this group of people, and says it’s like a big family.
- Dave and Drax couldn’t be more different. Drax is so outlandish, yet Dave is very quiet and keeps to himself. It makes some of his more outlandish moments harder, but Gunn always pushes it out of him.
- Stallone says that he didn’t know much about the comics coming in, saying that it gave him a clean slate to work with. He had no preconceived notions of how to play the character.
- When the panel was asked how they felt about seeing people cosplaying as their characters, Stallone joked he wanted to punch them in the fact, and that it was copy write infringement.
- When asked what other sci-fi property she wanted to be in, Zoe jumped to Dune, saying she wants to be a part of it.
- Feige says that the Stan Lee cameo was a fun nod for fans, as well as something he and Gunn thought would be clever, showing that all his cameos were him playing the same character, and bringing information to The Watchers.
- Karen loves playing Nebula, and she was so excited to explore the dark side of the character, and really exploring her relationship with Gamora this time around. It was only hinted at in the first, and now they’re really jumping into it.
- Stallone says he’s amazed by the amount of passion, and talent that Gunn and Marvel had to do the film. It was very welcoming for him, which made him really love being a part of the universe.
- Kevin Feige hints that Howard the Duck, who once again cameos in this film, will be popping up again in another Marvel film. Let the speculation begin!
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, featuring Vin Diesel as Groot, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Tommy Flanagan, Laura Haddock, with Sylvester Stallone, and Kurt Russell, opens May 5, 2017.
Set to the all-new sonic backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand. “