The Guardians feedback that 'freaked the hell' out of director James Gunn

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Jul 22, 2013, 9:32 AM EDT

Marvel introduced almost the entire cast of Guardian superheroes (and their foes) at their annual Saturday night San Diego Comic-Con panel to incredible fanfare and excitement from the comic book loving crowd. However the characters, including Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Yondo (Michael Rooker), and Rocket Raccoon (who will be a CGI creation) to name only a few, are about as alien to mainstream audiences as Iron Man was back in 2008.

They tend to be anti-heroes with some very weird physical attributes, costumes and powers. They’re really best summed up by what two security guard characters at the end the film’s sizzle reel say about them: “They call themselves the Guardians of the Galaxy…” “What a bunch of a-holes.”

The guy leading these a-holes onto film is noted indie director James Gunn who is all about brash as evidenced in his previous films Slither and Super. In the press conference about Guardians of the Galaxy, Gunn was asked if audiences should expect his signature darkly comedic voice, which is a bit of a departure from most of the new generation Marvel films.

Gunn offered, “I don’t think of it as darkly comedic. I do think of it as me, I’ve got to say that. There is a lot of James Gunn in this movie. It’s a strange thing because when I turned in the first draft to Kevin (Feige), Marvel and Joss (Whedon), they read it and were very happy. Their biggest note was “more James Gunn” and it freaked the hell out of me. So more James Gunn is in the movie and I think it’s a really unique movie. But with every movie I do, I am speaking to a certain side of myself and a certain audience. With a movie like Super, I’m speaking to a really specific person that will appreciate that movie. When I’m doing a movie like Guardians, it really is for a much broader audience for everybody to see on a Friday night and enjoy in a different way. I appreciate both those types of movies.”

And he’s quick to add that at its heart, the film is follows the same theme as the Phase One Marvel films, meaning disparate characters with distinct personalities trying to do good in the universe together. “Guardians is about a family coming together,” Gunn clarified. “It’s about a group of individuals who have acted selfishly, and only as individuals throughout their life, learning something about themselves that makes them heroes.”

Guardians of the Galaxy opens August 1, 2014.