We're still taking in all the information and footage our little comic book fan hearts were gifted with at this year's Comic-Con — at least in those cases where footage was released to us peasants of the outside world, cough cough. As far as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is concerned, director James Gunn has insisted that it felt necessary to keep his new videos from being shown just yet, although he still posted a detailed breakdown.
But as every superhero movie director probably knows, you can't let the speculative brains of fans simply starve, so Gunn has been regularly taking to his busy Facebook page to drop a few comments here and there about what he's been so secretly working on.
Last week, when he was asked about the connection between Vol. 2 and the freshly renamed Avengers: Infinity War, he had a point-blank answer: no infinity stones, no infinity nothing. That's a pretty big step away from the first volume, in which the Power Stone was at the centre of all the action, and from the rest of the MCU that has been building up to Thanos's arrival and his obsession for the little gems. Is that a move to be welcomed, or does it feel like a missed opportunity that this galaxy doesn't tie in so much with the rest of its universe?
Why The Infinity Stones Are Such A Big Deal
Without delving too much in the history of the Infinity Stones, the reason they seem to be attracting anyone in the Marvel Universe with a minimum of greediness is the promise of their extraordinary power: When combined, they form the Infinity Gauntlet, and the lucky fellow who reunites them shall be granted unlimited power. Not one to let such an exciting opportunity pass him by, Thanos has been collecting them for a while now.
In the buildup to the war with Thanos, then, we've been speculating about where we'd spot the stones — seeing as only four of the six have appeared in the MCU so far. The number one candidate to bring one of the pebbles out of the shadows is Doctor Strange, whose eponymous movie is coming November 4. Could he be wearing one around his neck?
All of this would have made it more than logical than Star-Lord would just happen to stumble upon Infinity Stone #6 in his next adventure — especially since the Russo brothers, who are directing Avengers: Infinity War, confirmed back in April that he would appear in their movie. Unfortunately, those theories have now been crushed with the force of an angry Drax.
Should The Guardians Have Been A Bigger Part Of The Buildup To Infinity War?
At first glance it seems like a shame that the Guardians aren't really bothering fitting into the grand plan of the current phase of the MCU. They're probably the ones with the strongest ties to Thanos, and yet their storyline isn't moving in that direction at all.
But Guardians of the Galaxy has always been flying on its own: The success of the first one, considering how little known the characters were, was a major surprise. The tone is slightly raunchier, the world of the Guardians is less grounded on Earth like the rest of the Marvel universe has been so far — it's just not surprising to see that Vol. 2 is pushing in that direction, and it's even refreshing.
Gunn has talked extensively about his love for the characters, and how both the first and the second movie were about them before anything else. It's easy to think that the MCU is built on cross-references, Easter Eggs and setups, but any movie's quality can quickly be put at risk if it's intended solely as a chapter rather than a story capable to stand alone. Which is why Gunn explained he wouldn't set up Infinity War.
"I'm a lot more concerned with Vol. 2 than I am with Infinity War. The way the movie is structured and made — it really is a story unto itself. It's not about leading up to anything else. It's about the Guardians and their lives."
And when you have a life like Peter Quill, there's more than enough material to satisfy your audience.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is set for release on May 5, 2017.