Talking Guardians: “I knew where I wanted the story to go before the first film was out,” says James Gunn

The cheeky comic tone keeps things flowing in this sequel which bristles with energy and entertainment.

Marvel Studios Hall H PanelIn 2014, “Guardians of the Galaxy,” the highest grossing film of that summer, introduced the world to an eccentric group of selfish, un-superhero like characters who are thrown together with the task of saving the galaxy. Picking up where that film left off, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” continues the space adventures of the motley crew as they patrol and protect the universe.

For writer/director James Gunn, who returns to helm the sequel, his mission was not just about delivering a story that continued their exploits, but also exploring their evolution as characters.

“I knew what the general shape of the sequel was going to be,” shares Gunn. “But the one thing I had to figure out was if I was going to tell the story of Peter Quill and his father as Volume 2, which I thought was the big reveal or save it for a later time. Ultimately, I decided that it was the best story I have in hand right now and went with.”

Vol. 2 welcomes back the eccentric band of misfits and mercenaries introduced in the first film. From the irritable genetically modified humanoid raccoon Rocket (Bradley Cooper), the deadly, green-skinned assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the hulking, heavily tattooed Drax (Dave Bautista), the blue-skinned Yondu (Michael Rooker), to everyone’s favorite Guardian Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), everyone’s back for round two.

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There were some very obvious clues at the end of the first film where an inevitable storyline could go as Peter’s lineage was touched on so it certainly made sense, Gunn shares, to work on where that would take us in a storyline.

“At the core of the film,” he continues, “the Guardians are a group of outsiders who come together and find a way to make it work. I think that’s what speaks to such a wide array of people.”

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Everything fans loved about the first film—the characters, the humor, the action, the music is in place in this galactic follow up and music plays an even bigger role with tracks from Fleetwood Mac, George Harrison to Sam Cooke tying into the story and character. Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, the story follows the team as they fight to keep their newfound family together while traversing the outer reaches of the universe to unravel the mysteries of Peter’s true parentage.null

It’s a well-cast ensemble of performers that includes new villains and characters such as the strange insect-like alien Mantis (Pom Klementieff), who Drax develops a friendship with and Kurt Russell who plays Ego, Peter Quill’s long-lost father. There’s also a genetically engineered race of aliens known as the Sovereign, who are all gold, perfect and think they are physically and mentally impeccable.

With strong father/son and sisterhood themes played out in this story, Gunn once again jumps from planet to planet introducing species after species. In the course of the film, not only does Peter seek his father, he finds himself reexamining his relationship with Yondu and the evolving relationship between Peter and Gamora is also explored.

The first movie had such a great response with its cool soundtrack, action and lots of laughter and there is a lot of high expectations for this sequel, which bristles with energy and entertainment and doesn’t disappoint.

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“We had Awesome Mix Volume 1 last time, and this time we have Awesome Mix Volume 2.” Gunn adds, “The songs are a little bit deeper in some ways; a little bit less pop in some ways. Some of the choices are a bit more eclectic; some of the choices are a bit more popular. But we have a real amazing group of songs that, like in the first movie, I wrote into the script. They are a part of the storytelling. Each song is very specific to the scene where it’s placed.”

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2″ blasts into theaters May 5th

Photos courtesy of Marvel Studios

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