Guardians of the Galaxy's James Gunn gives fans a peek at his original pitch

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Feb 7, 2018, 12:38 PM EST

These days, we know James Gunn as one of the key players in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the guy who spearheaded the effort to take the Guardians of the Galaxy from semi-obscure comic book team to blockbuster stars. Gunn has now delivered two hit films in the Guardians franchise, with plans for a third and perhaps a greater influence on the MCU as a whole post-Infinity Warbut it wasn't always that way. First, Gunn had to get his foot in the door at Marvel Studios, and that began with a pitch.

On Tuesday, Gunn uploaded several photos from his original Guardians of the Galaxy pitch document — the packet you submit to the studio to prove that you have a concept in mind for the film and a feel for the characters and setting — to his Facebook page. According to Gunn, the document was a little more than 70 pages, and included storyboards, notes on his visual inspirations, and a 10-page statement outlining his ideas about what the film should be. The opening sentence of that statement proves that he already had a clear thematic direction in mind: “Life is often externally ugly and harsh - but, if you look deeper, love and selflessness are the guiding forces of our universe.”

Gunn then shared five pages from his 19-page storyboard outlining what would become the film's opening sequence, in which Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) goes to Morag (then called Mazar) on the hunt for the mysterious orb. Much of what we see in the film is already laid out here, from the glowing red eyes of Star-Lord's mask to the magnet that traps Ronan's soldiers to that slow-motion shot of Star-Lord leaping into the air. Even the giant geysers that send the Milano flying are included. When you see these images, and realize how plugged in Gunn was to the franchise even before he was directing it, it's easy to see why he got the job.

Check out Gunn's full post, including the storyboards, below.