James Gunn reveals his biggest fear making Guardians of the Galaxy, talks sequel plans

Contributed by
Dec 9, 2014

As the guy who made Rocket Raccoon into a household name, it’s no surprise James Gunn already has plans for a sequel fully sketched. In a wide-ranging interview with Comic Book Resources, Gunn opened up about the development process and how Guardians of the Galaxy came together. Despite being a part of the well-oiled Marvel machine, it turns out the script was apparently nowhere near complete when Gunn came aboard.

So — apart from potentially leaving his dog behind for a year (no worries, he got to bring the dog) — Gunn’s biggest concern was getting the script finished and polished to the point that he was actually comfortable directing it. From retooling the third act to introducing Rocket and Groot, Gunn explains that it wasn’t an easy process:

“Number one, I was afraid of the script, because there wasn't a finished script at that time. As a director, I can think my way around problems; it's a logical part of myself. As a screenwriter, I really feel at the mercy of the muse at times. And so sometimes I'm a good writer, sometimes I'm not that great a writer -- and that's something I was very afraid of. At that point, I wasn't even hired as a writer. Somebody else was writing a draft of the script, so I was very afraid of how that draft was going to turn out and whether the screenplay was going to be good by the time we got to filming.

And I was also scared of bringing my dog to England! That was the other thing, because I had heard there was a quarantine, and I think Victoria liked me because I started to get teary-eyed at the thought of leaving my dog for a year. And she told me, "Oh, you don't have to leave your dog -- there're new rules. You can bring your dog." And I said, "Oh, thank God."

So I think that early screenwriting stuff was the most daunting, and then of course, along the road, there became other things that were very difficult in screenwriting. Before I added Yondu, there was a different third act. That was very difficult. I would say in the editing phase -- getting the first act could be a nightmare -- was a very difficult process because I had to introduce so many characters in such a short amount of time and not have people completely bored by the time we got to Rocket and Groot at the mall. So that was a very difficult and daunting task. But for the most part, it was pretty smooth. I mean, listen, it was easier than other movies I've made -- just longer.”

Fair enough, and you have to think that if the script had been more complete when Gunn signed on, the film might not have turned out as good. More than just about any Marvel film, Guardians is unabashedly a product of the director. It is absolutely, positively a James Gunn film.

So, what is the mind behind Marvel’s galactic universe planning for part two? He wouldn’t go into detail, but he did confirm that the “whole story is written,” and he already feels the concept is “pretty strong” to carry the sequel. He also teased that he has no plans to retread what’s come before, and is looking forward to taking the team forward: 

“Really, it's just about walking forward in an elegant manner. When you go forward with a group of characters, that means you have to go forward. And going forward means you're understanding these characters in a new way, you're developing a new kind of story about their lives and who they are and where they're going. And if you're doing that, if you're walking forward, then you can't just repeat what you did before. That's going backwards. That's not understanding the character.

I mean, no knock against James Bond -- I love James Bond movies, and the Sam Mendes one [‘Skyfall’] is slightly outside of this, and "Casino Royale" is slightly outside of this -- but basically, James Bond is a James Bond movie over and over and over again. The character never learns anything, and the character never does anything new. And that's not a knock. It's a really fun series. But that's not what the Guardians are. The Guardians are going to continuously change. I think that some of the characters are probably worse than what we think they are, and other characters are better than what we think they are. It's going to be interesting to learn a little bit about that as time goes on.”

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is set to open May 5, 2017. Do you like the direction Gunn seems to be taking the film?

(Via Comic Book Resources)

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