Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is only a couple of months away, and the hype continues to build by the day. The official final trailer for the film has finally been released, and there was an exciting surprise in amongst the guns, one-liners and Fleetwood Mac. In the closing seconds, we were given our first official glimpse of Ego the Living Planet — Star-Lord's father — in action.
Though these images of Kurt Russell as Peter Quill's father look promising, Russell was not the only option that Marvel had when choosing an actor. In fact, there were (at least) seven other well-known actors on their short list for Ego.
Take a look at these seven actors that were nearly offered the role of Ego the Living Planet in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2...
1. Gary Oldman
Gary Oldman is no newbie to comic-book movies, having previously played Commissioner Gordon in the Dark Knight trilogy. He also proved himself to be a rather Sirius actor in the Harry Potter franchise (see what I did there?).
This Oscar-nominated actor surely had the acting chops for the role of Ego, so it is a mystery why he did not get the part. My guess is that Oldman passed on it over another film, or perhaps James Gunn and Kevin Feige simply saw Kurt Russell as a better fit for the character. Either way, it's a shame we didn't see this talented actor get the chance to play an actual planet, but I'm sure Russell will pull it off rather well instead.
2. Viggo Mortensen
This Lord of the Rings actor is making a comeback following his recent Oscar nomination for Captain Fantastic. He's a talented actor and surely could have pulled off the role of Ego.
The main reason I imagine he was not selected for the part is in the name of the character: his ego. Viggo Mortensen has been deemed hard to work with in Hollywood, much like Edward Norton, who Marvel had bad experience with during production of The Incredible Hulk. Starring in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 would surely have helped Mortensen's career return, but that is something that can no longer be.
3. Christoph Waltz
The 2-time Academy Award-winning actor nearly made a leap into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I often see Waltz on lists like these, where he was almost cast in a franchise film but did not get the part, which is saddening, because Waltz is an incredible actor.
I'm sure that there was a good reason for not including Waltz in Vol. 2, and that was likely because he just did not fit the aesthetic as well as Russell. This is understandable, but I just hope that Marvel Studios scoops Waltz up sometime to truly utilize his talents. Perhaps we can someday see him play Norman Osborn in a Spider-Man movie.
4. Christopher Plummer
I was actually rather shocked to see that Christopher Plummer was considered for this part. There's over a 20 year difference between Kurt Russell and Christopher Plummer, which is a rather extreme difference. Plummer could have brought a completely different version of Ego to the table had he been cast.
Had Plummer been cast, it would have helped show how aged the character was. In the comics, Ego's age is never clarified, but he is believed to be thousands of years old. Christopher Plummer probably could've drove this point home much better than Kurt Russell, but that was likely not the aesthetic James Gunn was going for.
5. Max von Sydow
Like Christopher Plummer, Max von Sydow was a lot older than most others on the shortlist for Ego. You may know von Sydow best for playing Lor San Tekka at the beginning of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He is also well known for his roles in Shutter Island and The Exorcist.
Von Sydow would certainly bring a lot of acting talent to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and helped create a rounded-out character. But, like Plummer, he just did not fit the aesthic Gunn was going for.
6. Liam Neeson
That's right — Liam Neeson himself was almost in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Neeson is one of my favorite actors, so I'm a bit disappointed that he was not chosen. As a child, he inspired me as Qui-Gon Jinn in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, and he continues to entertain in his remarkably badass roles.
The only reason I can think of for Neeson not being cast would be that Neeson has been type-cast as of late, only being connected to badass action movies. Because of this type-casting, Marvel may have thought it would be difficult for audience members to take Neeson seriously in any other type of role.
7. Matthew McConaughey
Of all of the talented gents on this list, McConaughey actually came the closest to playing to playing Star-Lord's father. Marvel actually offered McConaughey the role — but filming conflicted with the role he had been offered in the hotly tipped Stephen King adaptation The Dark Tower. Faced with a tough decision, McConaughey explained why he ultimately sided with The Dark Tower:
I like Guardians of the Galaxy, but what I saw was “It’s successful, and now we’ve got room to make a colorful part for another big-name actor.” I’d feel like an amendment. The Dark Tower script was well written, I like the director and his take on it, and I can be the creator, the author of the Man in Black—a.k.a. the Devil—in my version of this Stephen King novel.
Although we would have loved to see what McConaughey would've done with the character of Ego, it's hard to argue with that logic.
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All of these actors could have brought a lot to the table had they been given the opportunity to play Ego. Nevertheless, I'm sure there was a good reason for casting Kurt Russell as the planet-sized father of Star-Lord, and I am looking forward to seeing why when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hits theaters this May.
Who would you have liked to see play Ego the Living Planet? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading!