James Gunn releases complete Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 screenplay online

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Nov 21, 2017

In an unprecedented move today, Marvel Studios writer-director James Gunn released the entire 140-page Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 screenplay online, along with an in-depth companion breakdown of the script via Twitter.

A lot of his behind-the-scenes tidbits about the screenplay came from fans' questions as to why certain words were capitalized (it's to indicate camera direction), how many drafts Gunn wrote before settling on the final one, how much improvisation/deviation from the script he allows for on his set, and the extent to which it was influenced by other parts of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — and its creative contributors (e.g. Infinity War directors the Russo Brothers). According to Gunn, Disney has no plans to release the screenplay for the first film. 

Here is Gunn's Twitter thread of FAQs:

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 takes place just a few months after the first movie and has Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) reuniting with his long-lost father, Ego the Living Planet (Kurt Russell). Among its most popular moments are Yondu (Michael Rooker) killing all the Ravagers to "Come a Little Bit Closer" by Jay & The Americans, Drax's (Dave Bautista) constant insults to Mantis (Pom Klementieff), the inclusion of Looking Glass' "Brandy," teenage Groot, Stan Lee with The Watchers, and obviously "I'M MARY POPPINS, Y'ALL!!!"

Seeing as how music plays such a huge part in this franchise, Gunn revealed that he doesn't write songs into a script unless he's also directing it. And it's also nice to see the humor and cheekiness onscreen reflected on the page. For example, during the opening fight scene against the Abilisk, Drax gets swallowed by the creature. While we see him in the monster's gullet, Gunn writes this as "INT. BEAST'S STOMACH -- DOESN'T MATTER." Usually that last part indicates time of day, but when you're inside an inter-dimensional entity, we guess time stops mattering all that much.

You'll also notice Gunn said Adam Warlock is not confirmed for Guardians Vol. 3. He was in that strange golden cocoon Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) talks about in Vol. 2's fourth mid-credits sequence. Gunn confirmed that the cocoon in The Collector's showroom on Knowhere in the first movie was indeed Warlock, but retconned it in the sequel. Co-created by Jack Kirby, Adam or "Him" is an important cosmic character in the Marvel Universe. An artificial being, he was created by a scientific group known as the Enclave who wanted to create the perfect human, much like the gold-skinned Sovereign in Vol. 2. Things get a bit more complicated in Warlock's comic history. All you need to know is that he's really powerful, controls the Soul Infinity Gem, and often works alongside the Guardians of the Galaxy. When he'll hatch from his gestation and enter the MCU full-formed is completely up in the air at this point. As Gunn's tweet says up above, "The time must be right."

The decision to release the script to the world at large is a major game changer for Disney/Marvel Studios, as both keep a lot of their cards close to their chests. None of the MCU scripts have been widely released before, not even in book format, which is sometimes the case for bigger movies looking to cash in on the publication side of things as well. To give out a screenplay of this magnitude for free is intriguing, to say the least. If it becomes common practice for the studio, we'll still probably have to wait at least six months to read it.