Ahead of the release of Guardians Vol. 2, we had a chance to talk to Director James Gunn about his plans for the movie, how he chose the characters he chose, and what Infinity War means for him. No spoilers (assuming you’ve seen the trailers).
So first off, I’m interested to know when the story for Guardians 2 came to you.
The basics I knew before we started shooting the first movie. I didn’t know whether that was going to be a sequel, or the third movie, but I knew the story of the father and son was something I wanted to tell.
Was that the story you always wanted to tell, or did it come from the characters?
It came from my own experiences, it’s a very personal movie despite being set on a very cosmic level. Though it’s not based on the comic books, if that’s what you’re asking!
So speaking of that, you chose to change the identity of Quill’s father from the comics, so what motivated that decision?
I do not like the character who’s his father in the comics. I find that relationship kind of trite. And I think it’s very Star Wars – his father’s the king of this other planet – it was just too much like things I’d seen before. I wanted to do something more science fictional and a little different.
And the character you went with who shows up claiming to be Quill’s father early on – was that from a shortlist of possible choices, or did you know straight away?
I knew at first who Peter’s father was in terms of his basic attributes – that he was a being of great power – and after a while I decided Ego was the best choice as someone who’s a fun, crazy character from the comics who I enjoyed and who fit those criteria.
I mean he’s about as crazy as those 70s Marvel concepts get, so how did you even start trying to make it accessible?
In the first movie I found my into it as “so there’s a talking raccoon, but IF there was a talking raccoon how would he exist? Trying to answer that is a lot of what the first movie was about.
The second movie is “there’s a living planet, which is a ridiculous concept, but IF there was a living planet how would that come about?” and that’s what we see in the movie.
And of the characters you could’ve added to the team, what attracted you to Mantis?
I just liked the character a lot, there are tons of others we could’ve used but it’s always a question of who do I want to use the most? There were a couple I wanted to use, but Mantis fit the story perfectly.
For a while you said you weren’t sure if you were going to do the third movie. We now know you are, so when did that change, and why?
A few weeks ago was when I finally decided. I always knew there was a possibility, and I had ideas, but it wasn’t 100%. I’d written things down and told things to Kevin [Feige] but I wasn’t sure. I just didn’t want to stack my projects, I like to focus on one thing at a time, get through Volume 2 and do that as well as I could.
So how did you reconcile that with knowing that whatever you wanted to do was going to be interrupted by Infinity War?
I’ve been a part of Infinity War for a long time, I’m an executive producer on that movie, so I have a lot of say in what happens with the Guardians. I wanted to make sure that if I did Vol. 3 I was happy with what they went through in Infinity War, and I am, so I said yes.
So given that, people were probably expecting a lot of setup for Infinity War here, and you’ve kept things quite self-contained.
Yeah, I wanted Vol. 2 to be a movie people could see in and of itself, without necessarily seeing the first or without having to go see any others. Just a story that made sense as a piece of cinema by itself.
Okay, and just because I couldn’t forgive myself for not asking while I’ve got you here… the final Easter Egg from Vol. 1. Has it been found yet? Can you give us any hints?
Somebody has come very very close, and maybe almost partially found it. So it’s going to come out. I’m NEARLY busted. But not yet.
James Gunn, thank you very much!
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 is in UK cinemas from Friday.