Yesterday afternoon I was lucky enough to have not one, nor two but three opportunities to listen to James Gunn talk, and even to speak with him about Guardians of the Galaxy and his work as a filmmaker and storyteller. At first there was a press conference, where I just sat back quietly; then there was a roundtable chat where I chipped in a few questions; and finally, I got to interview him one-to-one and in more depth.
Just a little of this time was given over to talk of what a second Guardians film might well entail. As all of the trades are rushing to publish variants on “James Gunn to direct Guardians of the Galaxy 2” tonight, I’ll share his comments on the prospective sequel now, and we’ll come back to the bigger, more in-depth discussion of the first film after the weekend.
At first, I asked what remains of Nicole Perlman‘s script in the finished film. Many of those trade stories have said something like “It’s not clear if co-writer Nicole Perlman will return.” Well, it’s pretty darn clear to me that she’s not likely to be involved at all, not now there’s a writer-director with plenty of ideas sitting in the driving sear.
So here’s Gunn, addressing the changes he made to Perlman’s screenplay; and then, after that, his own plans to move things ahead in the next movie.
Really, in Nicole’s script everything is pretty different. I mean the story is different, there’s no Walkman, the character arcs are different, it’s not about the same stuff. But that’s how the WGA works. They like first writers an awful lot.
I know a lot of where I want to go. I have a lot of ideas for stories and characters that are going to appear, and there are documents written up, that some people have, about Peter Quill’s father and his relationship, a lot of stuff about Yondu and a lot of stuff about Drax that nobody knows.
There are a lot of things that are part of the overall schematic that already exist, not to mention a lot of stuff about all of the cultures. There’s a lot of stuff about Xandarian and Kree culture that I’ve written down or I have in my head, as well as Krylorians and Ravagers.
Those comments were made to me, but during the roundtable chat. Gunn later elaborated when we were speaking again.
Kevin Feige has stuff. I wrote up a lot. He knows all the stuff and if I died tomorrow they could go make a movie. They could write the story of Peter Quill’s father and it would all be there. I think Yondu is a very important character, a really important character in this universe, and I think Nebula is really important too and so I think we’ll see more of both of those characters.
Back at the start of the day, during the press conference, Gunn was asked what tracks would be on Quill’s Awesome Mix 2 tape and therefore make up the soundtrack to a second film. As the songs are selected to the scenes, he explained, they hadn’t all been worked out yet. The implication there, perhaps, is that he had some of them worked out.
It sounds very much like Gunn knows where he wants to take Guardians 2 and it’s now going to be a job of developing the finer detail and drafting it on the page. Anything might change as that work goes on, of course, but really, I think he’s given us enough clues for the meantime. He certainly seems set on expanding the “fathers and children” theme, for example. Seems like a sound choice.
Guardians of the Galaxy will be released on July 31st in the UK and August 1st in the US. I had a whale of a time with it and can’t wait to see it again.
Previously: Vin Diesel’s chat with me about Groot and his other, unfinished business with Marvel Studios.