Things on the far end of the Marvel galaxy have been kind of quiet for the past couple of months. However the Guardians of the Galaxy are back in the spotlight during the press tour for the DVD release of the movie. Director James Gunn is enjoying the tremendous success of the first film, while hammering out the script for the sequel due in 2017.
Gunn's Relationship with Marvel Studios:
During Marvel's huge film slate announcement, they mentioned the sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy as almost an after-thought. Sure they had Gunn video-conference in like a commander from Star Trek and they did share that the movie would be coming out a couple months earlier then initially announced. However, they didn't share any details about new characters or of the direction for the plot, but that doesn't mean that Gunn hasn't been forthcoming with information.
In fact, Gunn seems more embolden and confident then ever after the success of his first Marvel film. In a recent interview with a pool of reporters he addressed how his working relationship is with Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige:
My dynamic, at this point, with Kevin is, like, I went in and said "this is what I think we should do in the sequel" and he said "okay" and now I'm off dealing with that. So it's not that dynamic. [laughter] And who knows how much we've influenced Phase Three, but I think the one thing is that The Guardians aren't backseat to The Avengers. Captain America, Thor, those other movies really do support The Avengers and they do take a back seat. But The Guardians are their own thing and the cosmic side of the universe is its own thing. Because the movie was so successful, and more successful than 'Iron Man' was, that changed the way other people looked at it, but I still look at it the same way.
From the way that Gunn talks, it seems that by making such a strong impression with his vision of space, in [Guardians of the Galaxy](movie:424073), that he has carved out some autonomy in that area of the Marvel universe. It is a unique position, that he and maybe only Jon Favreau enjoyed during the first Iron Man. He reiterates his focus later when he states, "Again, it's just still more important that the Guardians' story is more important than where they're going with anything having to do with the rest of the Marvel Universe." So it seems that they are allowing him to craft his story and funnelling it into the larger story at a later point.
Gunn on Warner Bros/DC vs Marvel & Thanos:
Warner Bros./DC does get an unfair label of being totally inept. However it is a fact that Marvel revolutionized film-making (for better or worse), by introducing the concept of a connected film universe. While Marvel made a public committment to their approach over seven years ago, Warner Bros only recently revealed plans to do the same with their DC Comics properties. When asked how he felt about Warner Bros' announcement of over ten connecting films, this is what Gunn had to say:
The truth is, it's a list of titles, and if they're done well they'll be good...If they aren't, they won't be good. But I think we have a little bit more of an idea of what we're getting with Marvel. I mean, we know the actors, we know the characters -- we've seen movies with these characters. You have some idea of what's going on already. We've told a big part of the story. With DC, they haven't told the story yet.
It is hard to judge Warner Bros. until they have a film to show. However, he is very cunningly taking a jab at WB by essentially saying that their cart is ahead of their horse. Every film begins with a good story and the public doesn't know the story that they are trying to tell with the Justice League and all their assorted characters.
A good place to get a hint of the story that WB is attempting to tell, is to figure out what villains they intend to include. When asked about if he thought if it was a good idea to include Darkseid in their Justice League movies, Gunn honestly responded, "That would be pretty weird, I think...That would be a strange choice." By being a little late to the party, WB interestingly enough, would appear to the public, to be copying Marvel by including Darkseid, who physically is a close match to Marvel's Thanos (Josh Brolin.) Even though Thanos was basically created as a ripoff of Darkseid in comic book history and lore.
Peter Quill's father and adapting Marvel stories for the big-screen:
Gunn was questioned about the direction he was taking the Guardians franchise in the second installment. The biggest loose plot thread from the first film is the identity of Peter Quill's father. In the comics his father, J'son, is a space emperor. Gunn lets the cat out of the bag in regards to his intentions for Guardians of the Galaxy 2. In an interview with IGN he used humor to dance around the topic:
It's funny, I don't want to blackbox it too much...You know what I mean? Yeah, it's like, we'll find out who is dad is, and it's going to serve the story. It's not going to be something like in the Crying Game, though, where the big thing was, 'He has a penis!' [or The Sixth Sense's big twist]. I don't want to do that. It's not about the revelation of who it is; it's about what his relationship is to that character."
So, it sounds like this is not going to be a mystery that gets drawn out like Khan was in [Star Trek Into Darkness](movie:37722). It sounds like his identity will be clear even before the movie is released. The most logical reason is because whatever race or species Quill's father is, probably plays into the overall plot in a big way. When asked if it will impact the overall Marvel cinematic universe, Gunn responded, "Yeah, I think it's important."
It has to be important. Considering that Quill was shown to have the ability to briefly wield an Infinity Stone, something has to be in the works. The cosmic side of Marvel Comics can get even more wacky then we have seen to date. Gunn explains his thought process on adapting fantastical stories, such as Peter Quill's extra-terrestrial lineage in the movie version:
His origins are different in the movie. I just thought there was a more interesting way to go for the Cinematic Universe that was more believable. There's things in the comic book that, on film, seemed to come out a little too 'Star Wars' to me. And I'm not a great fan of the name J'son. So there will be a lot of difference. You know, this really is the Cinematic Universe and the fun of it for me, you know I always loved the Marvel Ultimate Comics that presented a different story on the way that we're used to, and we saw characters in a new light and they could show up in different places, different ages, different ways. And I think that's exactly what the Marvel Cinematic Universe is. We see things in a different light. They established that very well at the end of the first 'Iron Man' where Tony Stark says "I am Iron Man." That was like Marvel Cinematic Universe's way of saying "we're different from the comics.
This is an interesting point that can be applied to all Marvel films. Just because we know how things play out in the comics, does not mean we will see the same story on screen. Comics are a pliable medium, whose stories and personalities change monthly depending on who is writing. So expect the same authorship and unique takes that you would expect from a dynamic medium like comics in Marvel's adaptations.
Adam Warlock and New Characters:
Gunn has shown his passion for the characters of Guardians of the Galaxy in the past, but apparently his love of Marvel extends past the ragtag bunch of space adventurers.
I mean, every time I say something, somebody takes it and runs with it. And there was a big rash of "James Gunn is thinking of ideas for 'Guardians of the Galaxy 3'." Well, I don't think I really said that. What I said was, "I had ideas for 'Guardians of the Galaxy 2', I knew what I was going to do for that from the time I was doing the other movie, and I had ideas for beyond that." That doesn't necessarily mean 'Guardians of the Galaxy 3' because there's lots of characters in this movie that go in a lot of different directions. And some of the characters I'm most interested in aren't necessarily Guardians of the Galaxy.
The last sentence raises the question of who is Gunn most interested in? Does he have his eye on directing another Marvel cosmic property? On the upcoming announced slate of Marvel movies, only Captain Marvel and the Inhumans, are legitimate space-based adventurers. We also know that Marvel will be integrating characters into their films, ahead of their solo stories. Does this mean that we might get a taste of [Captain Marvel](movie:949779) in the sequel? Or will the Guardians encounter the Hulk, who has somehow found himself in space?
Many have speculated that Gunn and Marvel want to introduce Adam Warlock to the MCU, but that seems a little less clear after recent comments from Gunn:
Well...there's a cocoon that's exactly like Adam Warlock's cocoon," Gunn said laughing when asked about it during the Q&A. "I wasn't thinking that much when I put that in there. And it was my idea to put that in there! I went through the Marvel handbook and picked things that looked neat. And now everyone thinks he's coming out of there...I don't know, there's a lot of stuff in there. There's also a lot of stuff that people think they see that's not there. Unless the visual effects team was messing with me, which maybe they were!
To be honest, it does sound like he is trying to throw people off with this comment. Clearly it is Adam Warlock's cocoon. If Gunn will actually be the director to tackle and introduce that storyline though is a different matter. However, that isn't a small easter egg like the inclusion of Howard the Duck. As Warlock has strong connections with the Infinity Gauntlet storyline and is the messenger who contacts Dr. Strange to warn him of Thanos' attack on Earth in the comic story line. (See how the pieces make sense?) Despite the events being inevitably altered for the big screen, Gunn and Marvel are clearly leaving themselves options for how to tackle the larger story.
Future of the Guardians:
Gunn has stated that the story is worked out for the sequel already and they are firmly in the screenwriting phase. What can we expect to see from the Guardians in their second adventure?
Looking more deeply into the characters themselves and who they are and what they think and what their flaws are and what their strengths are, you know. They're a much more flawed group than The Avengers. They have major, major issues.
What exactly is in store for the Guardians? Only Gunn knows. However it seems like he is the right guy to take Marvel further into the cosmos than they have ever adventured. Gunn is clearly a huge asset for Marvel Studios and he genuinely seems to have found a home and comfort zone in Marvel Studios. It is a smart strategy for Marvel to have several "managers" of Marvel on film. For the present time they have Joss Whedon handling The Avengers duties. While Gunn has clearly carved out the space side. The Russo Bros. proved they can handle the more Earth-bound political stories and will be handsomely rewarded with [Captain America: Civil War](movie:994409). There are even rumors that they are in line to take over The Avengers franchise. The page is turning for Marvel and they are looking to the stars for their future and Gunn seems to be the right man for the job.
[Guardians of the Galaxy 2](movie:1081113) will be in theaters May, 5th 2017.
So what do you feel about what Gunn has shared? Where do you see the Guardian's story headed? How do you see Peter's father figuring into the plot? Let us know on the comment boards!