First, when we last spoke to Gunn for Guardians of the Galaxy, the movie hadn’t come out yet. Needless to say, he is blown away by the response.
“There was a moment -- I think it was the first day -- tracking said we were supposed to come in at a $65 million opening weekend, and we started getting our first weekend numbers and it kept getting higher every day. At first it was like, ‘Oh my God, we're going to be near $80 million. And then we're going to be $85 million. And we ended up at $94 million,” Gunn proudly stated. It felt like a Twilight Zone episode.”
You can call Guardians of the Galaxy a lot of things, but don’t call it weird. “I don't think about Guardians of the Galaxy as weird because every day I get somebody telling me their 80-year-old grandmother loved Guardians of the Galaxy. So, in some ways, it's different. I think it's unique. But I don't think it's that weird,” Gunn admitted.
The writer-director feels he has an idea now why it is so relatable. “I actually think it's more accessible to people than a lot of Marvel movies.”
So, what about Guardians of the Galaxy 2? Where can we expect Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Groot (Vin Diesel) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) to go next?
“I think the main thing with moving on is that we can just repeat ourselves. We can't just say, ‘Okay, let's start with something sad and shift into something really happy with some music, and let's have the Awesome Mix work in the same way, but with songs from the '80s as opposed to songs from the '70s,” Gunn said.
“All of those things, that doesn't interest me.”
Gunn promised that we will delve deeper into that quintet and get to know them even more -- which sounds utterly fantastic to us!
“For me, the shift is about getting to know the characters on a deeper level, knowing them more intimately and uncovering facets of the characters that make them more real to us,” Gunn said. “At the center of it, I think what works about Guardians is that people like the characters.”
He is pressed to define that further, but of course, can only tell us so much. Like, will we know more about their backstories?
“Yes. [I want to] look more deeply into the characters themselves and who they are and what they think and what their flaws are and what their strengths are,” Gunn said.
The filmmaker believes that’s a leg up they have on their Marvel brethren. “They're a much more flawed group than The Avengers. They have major, major issues.”
With Marvel announcing plans through 2019 and the reveal of phase three, Gunn is confident that his gang of superheroes is not necessarily tied to anything. They can keep doing what they’re doing.
“It's just that the Guardians story is more important than where they're going with anything having to do with the rest of the Marvel Universe,” he reported.
And he also wanted to clarify a few things that he thinks were misconstrued in the press about plans for the future.
“Every time I say something, somebody takes it and runs with it. And there was a big rash of ‘James Gunn is thinking of ideas for Guardians of the Galaxy 3.’ Well, I don't think I really said that. What I said was, ‘I had ideas for Guardians of the Galaxy 2. I knew what I was going to do for that from the time I was doing the other movie, and I had ideas for beyond that,’” he said.
“That doesn't necessarily mean Guardians of the Galaxy 3, because there's lots of characters in this movie that go in a lot of different directions. And some of the characters I'm most interested in aren't necessarily Guardians of the Galaxy.”
One of the questions in Guardians of the Galaxy was… who is Peter’s father? Gunn promised that when that is revealed it will vary from the source material.
“His origins are different in the movie. I just thought there was a more interesting way to go for the Cinematic Universe that was more believable. There's things in the comic book that, on film, seemed to come out a little too Star Wars to me,” Gunn said.
“You know, this really is the Cinematic Universe. I always loved the Marvel Ultimate Comics that presented a different story on the way that we're used to. We saw characters in a new light and they could show up in different places, different ages [and] different ways. I think that's exactly what the Marvel Cinematic Universe is. We see things in a different light. They established that very well at the end of the first Iron Man where Tony Stark says, ‘I am Iron Man.’ That was like Marvel Cinematic Universe's way of saying, ‘We're different from the comics.’”