Aside from the bombastic action, great characters and gut-busting humor, one of the most compelling elements of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise is Peter Quill's Walkman. A gift from his mother, #StarLord takes this device with him wherever he goes, always as a reminder of his past and the family he left behind.
With how much emotion the portable music player packs into the story, it's difficult to believe it wasn't part of Kevin Feige and James Gunn's original Guardians concept. After all, it looked like something the filmmakers had thought about years in advanced. But it's true. Instead, that place that the Walkman occupies was initially supposed have been filled by none other than Darth Vader — with a twist.
Wait, What Is Going On Here?
#KevinFeige sat down with Mashable and revealed that during the #GuardiansoftheGalaxy production process, he came up with the concept of an old Darth Vader toy serving as a representation of Peter Quill's love of pop culture and his emotional connection to Earth.
That sounds awesome enough, but it doesn't end there. The Star Wars action figure would have represented the film's great plot twist. It turns out unsuspecting audiences probably wouldn't have known that Peter Quill was human until he accidentally knocked over his backpack and a classic #DarthVader figurine fell out. As Feige explained:
"Always, we wanted to reveal at a certain point in the movie that Peter Quill was a human from Earth. And for a long time, I really thought it was going to be the greatest thing in the world that you're in a spaceship and he's talking to one of the alien characters and he knocks over his bag and one of the alien characters bends down and picks up and it was a Darth Vader action figure, goes, 'What's this?'"
So Why Wasn't Darth Vader Included In The Film?
Feige approached Gunn with his idea, but the ever-resourceful director had a better plan to represent Peter Quill's emotional journey: The Walkman we all know and love (and honestly kinda marvel at for its durability):
"To make a long story short, James Gunn was basically like, 'I got a better idea. What if he had a Walkman and listened to music?'
"And it was like, 'Oh, that's a million times better.' Because the Star Wars thing was just a nerdy reference in a single moment, and obviously, the conceit of the music redefined the entire movie."
Being the awesome guy that he is, Gunn took to his Twitter to provide some more reasons why they took the route they did. One twitterer asked him why they didn't simply use both the Walkman and Darth Vader in the movie. He explained that it would have been too much nostalgia and would have ultimately felt out of place:
That's completely valid and understandable. But there were two other very important reasons for Vader not making the cut, with the director answering the question, "Really, @JamesGunn? What did I do to not deserve such an honor?" that was posed by the Twitter account of "Darth Vader." Gunn's answer?
Was The Walkman The Better Choice For The Guardians Of The Galaxy Franchise?
Putting a Darth Vader action figure in the movie wasn't inherently a bad idea. It sounds like a cool concept, but it paled in comparison to the mixtape. Not only were the songs a beautiful reminder of Peter Quill's mom, but they also served as an emotional connection between the audience and Chris Pratt's character.
That would have been difficult to replace with an action figure of a bad guy who's killed thousands of people and destroyed planets. So yes, the mixtape was the better choice between the two.
How do you feel about Darth Vader originally being Peter Quill's connection to Earth? Do you think it could have worked? Let us know in the comments.