Before James Gunn signed on and turned the Guardians of the Galaxy into one of Marvel Studios’ biggest hits, the film adaptation was kicking around in the mind of Marvel Studios’ president Kevin Feige for years. One of Feige’s biggest ideas? A cute Star Wars easter egg that could’ve changed the entire fabric of the film.
In an interview with Mashable, Feige talked about the project’s long gestation and how it changed along the way. Turns out one of Feige’s big ideas was to have Peter Quill hold onto something from his childhood that grounds him back to Earth. Feige wanted that item to be a Darth Vader action figure, but when Gunn signed on, he pitched the idea for a Walkman — which obviously turned out to be the right move.
Here’s an excerpt from his comments:
“Always, we wanted to reveal at a certain point in the movie that Peter Quill was a human from Earth. And for a long time, I really thought it was going to be the greatest thing in the world that you're in a spaceship and he's talking to one of the alien characters and he knocks over his bag and one of the alien characters bends down and picks up and it was a Darth Vader action figure, goes, 'What's this?'
To make a long story short, James Gunn was basically like, 'I got a better idea. What if he had a Walkman and listened to music?’ And it was like, 'Oh, that's a million times better.' Because the Star Wars thing was just a nerdy reference in a single moment, and obviously, the conceit of the music redefined the entire movie.”
As fun (and easy, since they’re all at Disney) as it could've been to have Quill turn out to have a little Vader in his backpack, they obviously made the right decision by letting Gunn run with the mixtape idea. But who knows — maybe Quill also has an action figure or two hiding out somewhere in the Milano?