Baby Groot, Yondu and Kurt Russell in the biggest role of his career all were highlights of the crazy Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 panel at Comic-Con.
Comic-Con was “the petri dish in which Guardians of the Galaxy was born,” shouted an ebullient James Gunn as the writer/director of the Guardians films bounded onto the Hall H stage for their portion of Marvel's Comic-Con presentation. He's right: The first Guardians was largely unknown -- and expected to be a real wild card for Marvel -- when a sizzle reel for the film was unveiled at Comic-Con 2013, and that first showing of footage proved that Marvel could not only pull off a walking tree and a talking raccoon, but make the whole thing vastly entertaining and accessible.
So now they're back, and here's a few things we learned from Gunn and the members of his cast who were onstage, which included Chris Pratt (Peter Quill), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Dave Bautista (Drax), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Pom Klementieff (Mantis), Elizabeth Debicki (Ayesha), Michael Rooker (Yondu) and Kurt Russell (more on his role later):
-- Peter Quill is famous now for saving the galaxy, but that doesn't mean he can handle it well: "He feels like he’s part of this group, a leader of this group,” said Pratt. “He’s a little more responsible and trying to stay out of trouble, but not necessarily doing the best job."
-- The movie takes place just a few months after the first one.
-- Michael Rooker, who came to the panel in full costume, baked Yondu cookies and brought them to a party, but swears it was not part of a campaign to have more Yondu in the movie (it still worked, though).
-- Drax is more confused than ever, said Bautista, because everyone around him now speaks in metaphors and he doesn't know what they're saying.
-- When we meet Mantis, she has been traveling the galaxy with Kurt Russell's character.
-- Debicki plays a character also known as "Her," the second attempt at creating a new species. She enlists the help of the Guardians but "things go quite sour."
-- The Ravagers remain as uncouth and unruly as ever, as evidenced by the group of them that invaded the stage and initially took up all the stars' seats.
-- Kurt Russell is playing Ego, the Living Planet (comic book image below), who engineered a human form for himself so he could travel the galaxy. He's also Peter's father, and impregnated Peter's mother while in his human form (we told you it was the biggest role of Russell's career).
Following the panel, we got to see a clip from the movie and a trailer, neither of which is online yet. The clip centers around Baby Groot, and if you think his cameo at the end of the first movie was cute, you ain't seen nothing yet. After Yondu and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) are imprisoned by Ravagers to be shipped off to the Kree, they enlist little Groot -- who is bullied and teased mercilessly by the Ravagers and is sad as a result -- to go steal Yondu's fin from the Ravagers' sleeping quarters.
After bringing back some other objects -- a desk, a toe, an eye, Yondu's underwear -- Groot finally retrieves the fin and Yondu uses it to launch his arrow and take out every Ravager in the place. At one point there are literally Ravagers falling through the air like leaves coming off a tree (got that, Drax?). It's a hilarious and creatively staged escape scene that ends with Groot flexing his tiny roots/muscles a bit and getting his revenge on the Ravager who wanted to smash him.
The clip was followed directly by the trailer, which is scored to Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" and also start with a shot of Baby Groot before we see the Guardians on some sort of glowing landscape getting ready to go into battle. Quill wonders where Gamora's sword is, and she asks why he thinks she would bring a sword instead of a gun to battle a giant inter-dimensional being. "You're the one who's being inconsistent," he mutters.
We get a glimpse of that being breaking out of the sky before cutting to the Guardians walking through a forest and coming to the chambers of the glowing, all-gold Ayesha -- where Rocket promptly makes a rude remark to her. The pace quickens as we see more battle scenes, fast shots of Mantis, Nebula and, er, Sylvester Stallone, some kind of titanic, octopus-like thing with Gamora clinging to its side and finally Ego landing his ship and stepping out to greet his son. After Ego explains how he created his humanoid form, Drax inquires, "Do you have a penis?" Long pause, with Quill insisting he doesn't want to hear anymore. Ego: "Yes, Drax, I have a penis."
I hope Disney puts this trailer online, because my description doesn't do justice to just how weird and wacky this thing looks. Gunn, Marvel and the cast almost certainly have another smash on their hands (or roots). Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 opens on May 5, 2017.