If we're getting sentimental about the #MarvelCinematicUniverse, you might look at Captain America: The Winter Soldier's "You're my mission" scene, or Quicksilver's death in Avengers: Age of Ultron. But — the "we're are Groot" scene aside — you might not go immediately looking to the Guardians of the Galaxy when it comes to touchy-feely sentimentality.
#GuardiansOfTheGalaxy2 is set to release next year, the long anticipated follow up to the surprise smash hit that was the first instalment of the #MCU's second cosmic franchise. And it's all looking pretty exciting, as the first teaser trailer revealed.
But it might end up being one of the most emotional, if Chris Pratt's performance is anything to go by. Pratt — who shot to stardom following his turn as Andy Dwyer in Parks and Recreation — spoke to GQ in a new interview where he discussed how his role in the movie saw him returning to the grieving process over the death of his father.
His father, Daniel Pratt was a contractor who suffered from multiple sclerosis, a debilitating condition which worsened around the time Chris Pratt was in his 20s. He died in 2014, while his son was filming the blockbuster Jurassic World.
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Pratt describes his father as "old school" and "ornery" and the two had a somewhat complicated relationship — especially after the MS hit hard. But Pratt also says that his father was "proud" of his work, saying he would watch everything his son was in.
The new #GuardiansOfTheGalaxy movie will deal with the search for an absent father — Peter Quill's father — so it's no wonder that the dive into the character has seen Pratt reflecting upon his own relationship with his father. As he told GQ:
"The truth is I ripped open some wounds that had been healing for some time. And I didn’t want to. But I knew it was right for the moment... There are wounds that are never going to be totally healed. It would probably make for a better story if it was some emotional thing that I hadn’t dealt with... When we face the death of a parent, you sometimes feel regret that you didn’t fully embrace what you had."
Just like Pratt, his on-screen character Star-Lord/Peter Quill has historically had a difficult relationship with his father. In the comics his father is J'son/Jason of Spartax, who became an antagonist to the Guardians and tried to kill his son more than once. But in the MCU it's Ego the Living Planet, who will be portrayed by Kurt Russell.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will focus on the Guardians' search for Peter's true parentage, following the reveal towards the end of Guardians of the Galaxy that his father was not human, and that Yondu (Michael Rooker) had originally been charged with taking Peter back to his father.
Fathers, and the search for them, are no strangers to the MCU. The development of Iron Man/Tony Stark has been paved with daddy issues, tying into tensions between Stark and Captain America/Steve Rogers. And let's not forget Hope van Dyne's struggle with her father, Hank Pym, to be recognised as the Wasp in Ant-Man.
It may seem odd that something like a comic book movie can have such an emotional resonance. But at the end of the day, different media and narrative mean different things to different people.
There's no one way to deal with traumatic events like the death of a parent, and the superhero genre is rife with such narratives, it's always been soaked in trauma. Just ask Batman, or on second thoughts, maybe avoid that subject. We don't need another "Martha" incident.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is set for a May 5, 2017 release.