Everyone’s favorite A-holes are back! Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 reunites everyone’s favorite ragtag group of intergalactic heroes in the latest entry in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only is writer-director James Gunn returning as well as most of the principle cast, but the roster expands in this blockbuster sequel, including the reveal of Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord paternal lineage, something that has been the subject of debate since the first Guardians debuted three years ago.
“I wanted to continue the film from the first movie,” Gunn said of bringing the team back to the screen. “So many sequels are not good. The primary reason in studying them seemed to be that so many of them just kind of do the same thing the first movie did with different template, and so they say, oh people liked the dance-off in the first movie, so what’s our version of the dance-off? People liked ‘We are Groot’ in the first movie, what’s our version of ‘We are Groot’? And instead of doing that, we really tried to let these characters grow and change. We want to watch them become new people and different people in every film that we come up with.”
Gunn continued, “I think the thing that I didn’t want to mess up was just trying to be a rehash of the first movie. I think people were surprised by the first movie, people have been surprised by the second film, and to give people something new and something different from what they already had.”
Joining the cast for the sequel is the legendary Kurt Russell who plays Ego. It took Russell a little while to become certain that he wanted to take on the project. “The truth is that when I read the script I wanted to make sure I was kind of understanding it correctly and I hadn’t seen the first movie,” Russell said. “And I saw the movie and when I saw the movie, I immediately started getting it. I also immediately started wanting to do it…What you don’t want to do is do something that’s gonna make them not like the second one, right…I don’t know about you, but I said yeah. I told James that. I said, ‘I don’t want to mess this thing up, so I need your help.’”
For Chris Pratt, he had to contain his enthusiasm on getting the chance to work opposite of Kurt Russell. “There’s this thing that happens like you promised yourself you’re not gonna do this thing that happens every time you meet someone who’s an icon, someone that you’ve known way longer than they’ve ever known you and you’ve seen all their stuff and you have this opportunity from time to time if you’re lucky to work with someone like Kurt Russell,” Pratt said of the experience.
“And you promised yourself you’re not gonna do the thing where you geek out and, but you, it’s a little inauthentic if you don’t,” Pratt continued. “And I don’t acknowledge the fact that how much I love him and what a fan I am, if you don’t get that out of the way, then it feels a little inauthentic. So I think I did that immediately, and then that takes, it doesn’t really take that long to tell someone that you really love them, you really respect their work, and for them to go, yeah thanks. And then, that’s it. At that point, you move forward and there’s this really cool thing that is probably the one thing I never would’ve imagined looking for when I first moved to Hollywood, but like the greatest, the greatest part of it, the biggest secret is you, is you become somebody’s friend and somebody’s peer rather than a fan. And that’s really nice, and I think Kurt and I have become friends. We connected on a lot of things outside of just the movie.”
Of course, the joking nature of Chris Pratt can’t let a tender and honest moment stand on its own. “And you know, I have his cell phone number and I’ll give it to each and every one of you,” he joked.
And Pratt’s co-star and new friend Kurt Russell was more than willing to play along. “Yeah, 310…” he chimed in.
The women of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 didn’t have quite as easy of a time as Chris Pratt and Kurt Russell. Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, and Pom Klementieff had to undergo hours of makeup applications to achieve the look of their intergalactic characters.
Karen Gillan, who is slathered in blue from head to toe as Nebula, turned to her co-stars to say, “I think we’re pretty even in our makeup times.”
“How long is yours?” Pom Klementeiff, who plays Mantis, asked Zoe Saldana.
“Four hours,” replied Saldana, who returns as Gamora.
“Mine is four, too, three and a half to four and a half,” Klementieff responded.
“I talk my team to death,” Saldana said of her habits when being slathered with makeup. “I just keep talking and I feel like that’s how I get time to go by, because if not, I’ll just go crazy. There’s not much to do at 2:30 in the morning besides sleep.”
“For me actually it’s sort of become of my like ritual of getting into character and it was quite interesting, like I did this rehearsal as Nebula one time, not under makeup and I just didn’t feel like her. It’s like, like an imperative part of the process for me now. It’s like, and I literally get to wear her skin, which is like the closest I can get to her, so that’s kind of cool,” Gillan said of how she uses the makeup process to prepare for her role.
“I’m ashamed to even talk about it,” said Dave Bautisa who returns as Drax. “It’s not really a labor at all. It’s about an hour and a half and I literally just zone out for the whole hour and a half.”
Meanwhile, Sean Gunn plays two roles in Vol. 2, one as Kraglin and the other as the on set version of Rocket for the actors to interact with. “When you act there’s both the input and the output,” Gunn said of his dual roles. “The input is the work you put into it and what you do on set and then the output is what you see onscreen, so for me the input is very similar for both characters, but the output is, is totally different because it takes a whole team of people to make Rocket. So, you know, I’m just a member of that team. But yeah, it’s interesting in this movie because Rocket and Kraglin have a few scenes that they’re in together, so doing like juggling the two things was a very strange and challenging experience for me. But I love it. I love both characters and I, you know, I’m just really grateful to be a part of it.”
“I know that Sean serves as the perfect reference for Bradley [Cooper], because in post, I know for a fact that whatever you leave there behind for Bradley, it’s just what he needs to sort of catch up on everything that he’s missed when we’ve spent those four months shooting,” Zoe Saldana said of Sean Gunn’s work on the film. “I’m not saying that Bradley picks it up, but Bradley really has the perfect reference and then he paints over it as an actor and he adds his nuances and everything but still, it’s just Rocket is really composed of two very important people and Sean is the mainest ingredient, and I just made that up, so…you can look it up. It’s a word,” she punctuated with a laugh.
Even Marvel’s mastermind Kevin Feige is ready to heap praise upon Sean Gunn for his work in making Rocket an on set character. “It is for the animators who are putting Rocket together,” the producer said. “I can’t tell you how many times the visual effects reviews, James will say, ‘Go back to the plate,’ which means the original portion of photography with Sean, to get even the little mannerisms of his eyes and his mouth.”
Joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the first time is another legendary actor in Sylvester Stallone. “Early on in my career I just always became fascinated with mythology and Joseph Campbell and, you know, Man of a Thousand Faces and so on and so forth. So when I started doing Rambo, whatever, there was an evolution that takes place and each generation has to define itself and find its own heroes and find its own mythology and this is the new, this is this generation, and maybe even the next generation’s mythology and when Kevin invited me onboard I said, ‘This is interesting because I haven’t gone here,’ Stallone said of his brief venture into the world of Marvel. “So I mean, I’m kind of earthbound, I’m terrestrial. You know what I mean? This is something that takes place in a whole other sphere where James and the Marvel people have created their own world, their own reality. So I said, yeah, let me visit. Let me drop in here and see what’s up, where the future’s going, and it was great.”
But Stallone suggests an ulterior motive for taking the role aside from a connection to the material. “It got me out of the house from my three daughters,” he turned to Kevin Feige and said, “Thank you.” Sly’s joking didn’t end there. “That’s why I gave you my salary back.”
[POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THOSE WHO HAVE YET TO SEE THE MOVIE!]
No, True Believer, your eyes weren’t deceiving you at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The series of cameos at the end of the film were, in fact, an homage to the original lineup of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
“Yeah, they’re definitely the original Guardians,” Kevin Feige said of the film’s nods at its conclusion. “That was the fun of it, and when James had the idea to do more with the Yondu character, who was also an original Guardians, the notion that he had a team once like Peter does now, that it’d be fun to see them. And he’s definitely Charlie 27. Where we see them in the future? Time will tell.”
“With all the post-credit scenes on this movie that are all funny and fun, and I think most of them are things that we hope to see continuing on in the MCU, whether that’s a supporting roles in future movies or whatever, I think it would be great to see those things and those characters show up,” James Gunn said of the character cameos.
“Ving Rhames is Charlie 27. Michelle Yeoh, who I’m an enormous fan of from, I’m a big fan of old ‘90s Hong Kong films, and she is a very wonderful person. She is Aleta Ogord, who is the other Star Hawk, the female Star Hawk. And, and then that’s Krugar. And then Mainframe is the last one,” Gunn continued.
“Have you told people who Mainframe is?” Feige asked the director.
“I haven’t told, do you want to? Yeah. Should we?” Gunn responded
“No,” said Marvel’s mastermind.
Finally, a word of warning for any cosplayers out there who think they might be able to impress Sylvester Stallone with their extravagant costumes at a Comic-Con. “I really want to punch them out,” the actor who played the iconic pugilist Rocky Balboa joked. “I mean, seriously. It’s copyright infringement, right?”