Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 Press Conference Recap

Guardians of the Galaxy

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Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is now in theaters, and will be the last time audiences see the Guardians as they have come to know them. ”Vol. 3” is the final film in director/writer James Gunn’s wildly popular “Guardians of the Galaxy” trilogy.

During the global virtual press conference we heard from the filmmakers and cast to discuss this final film. Chris Pratt (Peter Quill), Pom Klementieff (Mantis), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Sean Gunn (Kraglin), Will Poulter (Adam Warlock), Chukwudi Iwuji (The High Evolutionary), Maria Bakalova (Cosmo), James Gunn (Writer & Director) and Kevin Feige (Executive Producer) were in attendance with Nathan Fillion (Master Orgosentry Karja) moderating the discussion.

When Gunn first envisioned the trilogy, he knew one thing. “There were a lot of things that I guessed, and there were a lot of things I didn’t know,” he explains, “but I knew that the core of the story, for me, was Rocket and his story, where he came from, and who he was. It was very important for me to tell that story.”

And in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” it is Rocket’s story that does drive the narrative. When the film opens, our beloved band of misfits is settling into life on Knowhere. But it isn’t long before their lives are upended by the echoes of Rocket’s turbulent past. Peter Quill, still reeling from the loss of Gamora, must rally his team around him on a dangerous mission to save Rocket’s life, a mission that, if not completed successfully, could quite possibly lead to the end of the Guardians.

In creating the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy Gunn highlighted his thoughts on the films that started over a decade ago. “I felt really good about it from the beginning.  I felt like we were doing something different.  I felt like, you know, the world kind of needed a space fantasy that was different from ones we had seen before.  So, I was very pleasantly surprised when my greatest hopes did come true.  But I think in terms of the story that we were told over the three movies, I think that I did have sort of a sense of how it was gonna go from the beginning.”

Guardians of the Galaxy

Q: Are you gonna miss these characters?

Gunn: “I’m gonna miss the characters.  That’s the saddest part for me, is I really, truly love these characters.  I love all of them.  I think there are certain ones that I have a special fondness for, especially Rocket.  And yeah, the saddest part of all of this.  I’m gonna see all these people again.  They’re all friends of mine.”

Chris Pratt returns as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, who is trying to cope with the idea that Gamora is alive but doesn’t know who he is. Quill struggles to move on, which leaves the Guardians vulnerable to attack. Quill must make up for his mistakes in order to protect one of his own.

Q: Peter Quill, Star-Lord, he’s been through it. He’s already saved the universe a couple of times. Is he sad?

Pratt: “He’s a guy and there’s a wonderful monologue that Batista gives that, you know, comes from Mantis that Quill is a guy who needs to learn how to swim.  He’s been hopping from lily pad to lily pad, woman to woman, and relationship to relationship.”

“I think that’s a pretty human condition.  I think, oftentimes, we find ourselves in our relationships or in the affiliations we have with a team or a family or whatever.  And he has been lost.  So, yeah, in the beginning, he was running away from the death of his mother, but he got to pretend to be this character based on these pop culture icons of his childhood of the late-’80s.  And so, he was dancing around, but all of that was really, he had found himself there.  And then he found himself with the Guardians of the Galaxy.  And then he thought he could find himself with who his father was.”

Karen Gillan is Nebula, who has settled into her role with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Now that they have bought Knowhere from The Collector, she is dedicated to making it the home she never had.

Q: Here’s another journey, of Nebula.  She’s probably had one of the more different, probably the longest journey.  She’s really flipped the coin. In this, is she nicer?  Is she kinder?  Is she coming around?  Where is she now on this journey?

Gillan: “I think, you know, post-Thanos being eliminated from her life, she’s starting to flourish a little bit more and she’s starting to have a lighter personality and she’s a little more willing to show vulnerability.”

“I love these characters.  Mantis and, like, Kraglin and Rocket, and Star-Lord.  Everyone.  It’s like, it’s just so lovely to come together and see everyone as human beings.  But then also, to play these characters, as well, it feels really familiar.  It feels like two families or something.”

Q: What’s changed for you since the beginning?

Gillan: “Definitely my understanding of what it’s like to be a scapegoat sibling.  That’s interesting. I’m an only child.  Yeah.  Because Nebula was definitely that.  She was never the golden child.  And so, I never understood that because I’m an only child.  And so, that was a really sort of interesting exploration for me.  So, now I just have so much respect for people that have gone through that.”

Pom Klementieff returns as Mantis. After fighting many battles with the Guardians of the Galaxy, Mantis has begun to embrace her powers, find her voice and become confident in her role with the Guardians—all of which will be needed to help protect her family from new dangers.

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Q: Mantis is a fan favorite, to say the least.  You really landed on something incredibly pure and sincere. What has Mantis brought to you, both as an actress playing the role and as a real-life person actually walking down the street?

Klementieff: “I mean, for me, it’s not Mantis.  It’s like, Mantis and James Gunn.  James changed my life. And get to play Mantis, I got, I mean, you know, she’s an empath, you know?  So, you have to have a deeper connection with everything and everyone.  So, it’s, like, beautiful to tap in and [create?] deep, profound, and layered emotions, you know?  And yeah.  And then I got to be super weird, which is really fun to do, too.”

“I love playing this character and I’m so grateful for James to have, you know, given me this opportunity.  And to get to play with all these incredible actors.  And I think each character, they complete each other, too, you know?  And I remember James telling me that Mantis was kind of like the glue that kept the Guardians together in some ways, you know?”

Sean Gunn brings Kraglin to life again. The former first mate of the Ravager Yondu, Kraglin fought alongside the Avengers against Thanos. Now an official member of the Guardians, he must master the Yaka arrow in order to fulfill his potential.

Q: Kraglin started out as plucky comic relief but is now a pillar, a foundation of support, and the guy you call when you need something. What’s brought him from that to this?

Sean Gunn: “You know, I think that, just like all the Guardians, Kraglin had to kind of figure out what his place in the family was.  And one thing that really impresses me about the movies is how I do feel like, in a way, that the journey of the cast has mirrored the journey of the characters, in a way.”

“And that, like, for me, being there in the first movie and feeling like, oh, I’m the director’s brother and I’m here and I’m kind of on the outside.  And Kraglin is just kind of on the peripheral and he comes in and says his things here and there.  And then learning that, over the course of the movies, that I felt as much at home with all these people, you know, that I felt fully accepted and, like, a full member of the cast and of the group.”

“I loved watching how other characters lean on him more and more and rely on him more and more as a responsible, go-to guy.  It’s been really nice watching that.”

Some exciting new faces join the action, including Chukwudi Iwuji, who plays the villain, The High Evolutionary; Will Poulter, who brings comic-book character Adam Warlock to life for the first time in the MCU; and Maria Bakalova who voices Cosmo, the space dog, who was sent into space by the Soviets and wound up with the Collector.

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Q: All right, Chukwudi, your character was so righteous. James Gunn calls you And says, “I want you to be in the new Guardians movie.”  Your reaction is?

Iwuji: “Homer Simpson, the blink.  You know, when Homer doesn’t know what to say and doesn’t understand what you just said.  And the camera stays on him and he keeps doing that. That’s what it was.”

“Yeah.  So, I just sort of blinked for a while and mumbled something.  And he said, “It’s great.  I’ve already spoken to Kevin about it.  We’ll get together at my place or something.  We’ll put something on camera and send it to them.”  And I thought that was gonna happen in the next few days.  I think it was, like, six weeks or five weeks before I actually got the screen test done, right?”

Q:  The High Evolutionary is one of the best villains she’s ever seen on screen.  High praise.  How was it getting into the mindset of a character who is an unhinged genius who experiments on living creatures in the name of science?

Iwuji: “It was very dark. It’s like, how do I bring this guy into the room?  Because I knew that would be taken care of in the script, the motivations and the moments and stuff are impeccably written.  Because he deals with character.  So, it was about, who is this guy before he turns up on the set, you know?”

“He’s a Villain with a God complex. Who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.”

Guardians of the Galaxy

Q: Will, you were the new kid.  These were established, people. How’d they treat you?

Poulter: “Oh, my gosh.  I couldn’t have been, like, made to feel more welcome by everybody.  I think because I was a really big fan of the Guardians movies.  And within the Marvel universe, this was the trilogy, as it now is, of films that I was kind of the biggest admirer of.  And so, you look at something as a fan, and you think, that’s cool, to be able to appreciate that as a fan, you know, for what it is.  And that’s what it will always be.  You don’t imagine yourself being a part of it.  So, that in itself was exciting.  And then to have, you know, an experience characterized by all of these lovely people making me feel so welcome.”

Q: Maria. You get a call.  You’re gonna be in a James Gunn movie.  You’re super excited.  Then you find out it’s a dog. Are you still excited?

Bakalova: “Even more.  When I was auditioning for the part, I was like, “How can I play this?”  And it was so interesting because you can be a little bit more over the top, ’cause she’s a puppy and she has more energy.”

Guardians of the Galaxy

“And then, when I found out that I can be on set, actually, and work with a mo-cap suit, and imagine that I’m a child again and use my imagination to be like, “Okay, today I’m going to be a dog.  Tomorrow I will be a flower.  The next day, I’m going to be a butterfly.”  It’s interesting, we tend to forget about imagination when we grow up.  And it’s been just incredible.”

To wrap up the Press Conference Kevin Feige highlighted how it was working with the team and his thoughts on the end of this trilogy.

Q: What has this trilogy impressed upon you?  Working with James, seeing his vision, watching this come to fruition, and the fan’s reaction.

Feige: “You know, we’ve had trilogies before.  We’ve had a number of them, actually.  And I was thinking, why does this feel so different and so much of a passage of some sort?  And it’s because Guardians really was the first movie that was completely outside of the realm.  It tied in with Thanos and Infinity Stones.  But The Avengers were not in it.  And we weren’t setting up Tony Stark’s next adventure, or Captain America.  And it was really our attempt of saying, we don’t wanna just do superhero movies.”

“We don’t want to just do Iron Man movies or Avengers movies.  And we wanted to do, as James said earlier, a big space movie.  And it worked in a crazy way.  It worked entirely because of James Gunn.  So, it just feels like this trilogy, and James writing and directing all three of them, it represents something unique within the pantheon of the MCU, that I’m very proud of.”

Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is full of surprises and will keep audiences on the edge of their seats. This last film in James Gunn’s trilogy combines deep emotion, the director’s special brand of humor, cinematic artistry, and action-packed moments—all leading to an outcome that no one will expect.

Chris Pratt comments, “This film is similar in tone to what you’ve come to expect from James in ‘The Guardians of the Galaxy.’ It’s wild, it’s extraordinary, it pushes the boundaries, it’s fun and funny. It focuses on uniqueness and heart and compassion, imagination, music, humor, vibrant colors, beautiful imagery, and ingenious alternate universes. It’s the final installment of ‘The Guardians of the Galaxy’ and wraps it up in a way that really only James could.”

Says Gunn of his last cinematic journey with the Guardians in the MCU, “I just wanted to make the coolest movie that I could possibly make. It’s really been rewarding for me to make this movie, which is such a personal statement because Rocket is me and this is about me. To see people react to it in the way that they have so far is a good feeling.”