Enemies of space beware; the Guardians of the Galaxy are back and ready to kick more ass than ever before.
Disney and Marvel have reunited audiences with their favorite space saving heroes (and villains) in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. in which the Guardians attempt to keep their new family together while Peter Quill (Pratt) faces struggles of his own in attempting to understand and accept his true parentage, taking them all to the furthest corners of the galaxy, meeting up with some new and exciting characters.
The first guardians’ panel filled with Chris Pratt (Starlord/Peter Quill), Michael Rooker (Yondu), Kurt Russell (Ego), Elizabeth Debicki (Ayesha), Director James Gunn, and Marvel Studios President/producer Kevin Feige did not disappoint, energetic and good natured although the gender unevenness could not go ignored.
The men and women are matched up slightly better this go around with Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Pom Klemetieff (Mantiss), Sean Gunn (Kraglin and the on-set Rocket), Dave Bautista (Drax the Destroyer), Sylvester Stallone (Stakar), and once again Kevin Feige (no doubt there to prevent any more Marvel spoilers from being unleashed). Still hoping to pry something loose, sights were immediately set on Stallone who, according to James Gunn in the previous press conference, will supposedly have a long and profitable future with Disney as Stakar.
“…There is an evolution that takes place in each generation that has to find itself, find its own heroes, find its own mythology and this is this generation’s- and maybe next generation’s mythology and when Kevin invited me on board I said this is interesting because I haven’t gone here,” Stallone said.
And as for his next galactic moves?
“I’ll believe it when I see it Gunn,” Stallone laughed with a sly glance to Feige across the couch, “This is Hollywood, you know what I mean? It’s Hollywood”
Stallone’s not the only newcomer on the couch. Klemetieff was also inducted into this patchwork family as Mantiss, a soft-spoken empath with the power to read and change others’ emotions.
“I had such an amazing time. I had an incredible time with the cast and the director. It was one of my best experiences ever and I can’t wait to do it again,” Klemetieff said.
Far from being newcomers, Saldana and Gillan sit closely and really do act like sisters (although far from their onscreen portrayals of trying to kill each other). As fierce as they are on the screen, they are friendly and warm in person; and both women are thrilled to be helping pioneer the badass women that Marvel is introducing, especially since they get to do it together.
“…I’m one of three sisters, I’ve been itching and yearning to see more of a female presence in action films because I love action films! I’m not that deep…so to have a film with three female characters that are adding such unique qualities to the film, and they are very relevant and their relationships are explored deeply, I was appreciative and super excited…,” Saldana explained.
Gillan agreed with her, “It’s the greatest. I love working on all of that stuff with Zoe. It’s the best. We have such a good time!”
She went on to talk about her connection with Nebula, “I just feel genuinely so invested in this character. I care so much about her and I feel like I’m her lawyer and I’m here to explain to everyone why she’s justified in being a really mean villain, and she is. And for me that has to do with her backstory and her relationship with her father and her sister and so I was just so excited to explore that in the second movie!”
Everyone on the couch was in agreement with their excitement of getting to return to the realm of the guardians’ again. Bautista, far more soft spoken than his silver screen counterpart Drax, went into detail about how working on this film is different than many others he’s done in the past.
“It was really a luxury to come back into a reoccurring role, not only where I was comfortable with the character, but also where I was so comfortable with my cast members because they’re people that I love and care about and I knew were not going to judge me so I did not feel self conscious about anything that I did and they just accept me for who I am and they appreciate me and also they are confident that I will deliver for them…,”Bautista shared.
The other thing that every guardian cast member could agree on was the true unsung hero of the film, Sean Gunn. James Gunn’s younger brother who not only played Kraglin, but also the on-set Rocket Racoon.
“It’s amazing. I don’t think that people really understand what Sean does for the movie, the references and the intonation. He’s so limber as well, so he manages to shrink and curl up so he’s always Rocket’s size and he gives us all the passion and all the dynamic we need to have from Rocket, because Rocket is the sassiest character of the Guardians. I don’t think we would be able to respond to Rocket the same way if Sean wasn’t playing him,” said Saldana, “And I know that Sean serves as the perfect reference for Bradley (Cooper). I know for a fact that whatever you leave behind for Bradley is just what he needs to catch up on everything he’s missed when we’ve spent those four months shooting. Rocket is composed of two very important people, and Sean is the main ingredient.”
“It’s not just for Bradley, it’s for the animators who are putting Rocket together. I can’t tell you how many times in visual effect reviews James will say, ‘Go back to the plate,’ which means the original portion of photography with Sean, to get the little mannerisms of his eyes and his mouth. I’m happy to talk about how great Sean Gunn is all day long. And in this movie Kraglin does a lot more. There are a few moments where Kraglin brings emotion, and really puts it over the top for me as I watch it. And Rocket has encountered other Marvel characters [in future movies] and I will tell you all the actors have had an amazing time with Sean as he brings Rocket to life and they can start acting off of him. It’s really impressive,” Feige agreed.
Somehow able to maintain a sense of modesty while his cast mates sang his praises, Gunn spoke to his experience playing two characters that often encountered each other in scenes.
“It’s interesting, I play two roles in the movie. When you act, there’s both the input and the output. The input is the work you put into it and what you do on set, and then the output is what you see on screen. So for me the input is very similar for both characters, but the output is totally different, because it takes a whole team of people to make Rocket. I’m just one member of that team. But yeah, it’s interesting in this movie because Rocket and Kraglin have a few scenes that they’re in together. So juggling the two things was a very strange and challenging experience for me. But I love it. I love both characters and I’m really grateful to be a part of it,” Gunn said.
See Gunn’s and everyone else’s talent yourself, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will be in theatres nationwide start May 5.