Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 doesn’t hit theaters for eight months, but that hasn’t stopped the sequel from building buzz by continually revealing details about the story and characters. One of the consistent themes throughout promotion of the movie is that of family, particularly the quest of Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), to find his long-lost father, known in the movie as Ego.
The hiring of Kurt Russell to play Ego, a “living planet” who can take human form, is something of a departure from the original character in the comics. This makes it unclear how big of a role Ego will play in Vol. 2, though it will presumably be significant. However, Ego’s role beyond the sequel – and Russell’s future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – remains uncertain.
Fandango sat down with Russell at the Toronto International Film Festival, where he is promoting the upcoming Deepwater Horizon, to talk about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and his role in the movie as Star-Lord’s absentee father. Russell as Ego in Vol. 2 would presumably play a big-enough role that he would stick around for more Guardians of the Galaxy sequels – and perhaps appear elsewhere in future movies set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as Ego or someone else. When asked about the possibility of more Marvel, Russell offered this response:
“What you’d have to do is put your mind to it…You have to sit down and say, these are my issues – these are my questions. I’m an audience too. We all run into our own integrity no matter what, as much as I hate to admit it. I need to find a way that this is going to grow and be fun and most of all for me it needs to be fun to find as we go along. Right now I got part of it – we have to see. I don’t know. I don’t know if I fit into that mold.”
Russell also spoke briefly on the relationship between Ego and Star-Lord, hinting at inevitable disappointment. “Kids always put their parents on a pedestal,” he said. “Well, what happens when they don’t turn out to be the people you want them to be?” It echoes Pratt’s recent comments about Star-Lord when he said, “You’re talking about a guy who’s been longing to know who his father is for a long time. He’ll discover if that person lives up to the expectations he has in his head.”
In another recent interview, Russell spoke extensively about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s “very complex story”, filled with heavy family themes that director James Gunn also referenced. Those themes will certainly extend to the Guardians themselves, but the story between Star-Lord and Ego, as described by those involved, sounds like one that couldn’t necessarily be contained within a single movie.
Whatever decision Russell ends up making on future Marvel movies, his role in Vol. 2 alone will be pivotal. Russell’s real-life decision could also have a major impact on future Marvel movies. If Ego as a character lives beyond Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Russell as a performer does not, re-casting the role would carry its own set of risks. Vol. 2 will ultimately be a commercial success, but the word “integrity” suggests that money won’t be much of a factor in Russell’s decision.
Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming– July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel– March 8, 2019; Avengers 4 – May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.