Its hard to believe that just a few years ago that moviegoers had little idea of who the Guardians of the Galaxy were. That has since changed since the humorous, space adventure his theaters in 2014. Now, the likes of Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Groot, and Rocket are among the most beloved characters within the Marvel Cinematic Universe and on toy shelves. While Guardians of the Galaxy did a great job setting up these and the rest of the characters, in order to push the story forward, director James Gunn was not able to include the full backstories to some.

Star-Lord’s was covered in the opening with the other team members receiving quick lines of exposition to bring some level of history to them. Now that a sequel is on the way in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – which just debuted a new trailer – they have the opportunity to explore these backstories, and apparently the ones for Nebula, Gamora, and Rocket play important roles in the film overall.

Screen Rant had the chance to visit the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 at Pinewood Studios in Atlanta during April of last year to see where Marvel was taking the sequel. One point of interest brought up to a number of people involved was the backstories and development that Karen Gillan’s Nebula would receive now that she is a full fledged Guardian during the movie. While she couldn’t reveal too much, the relationship her and Gamora had with Thanos plays a part, but with Gunn repeatedly saying the Mad Titan isn’t involved, this story will be revealed with dialogue and not flashbacks.

Will we learn more about Thanos through Nebula?

Karen Gillan: Yeah, I guess so. We learn a lot about their backstory actually and what happened to these two girls growing up and actually how awful it was for them and how it’s ruined their relationship and they’re sort of going to freely talk about it, which has never happened between these two people.

Are there flashbacks?

Karen Gillan: No. Although that would be cool.

It would.

Karen Gillan: No, they just sort of talk about it.

Guardians of the Galaxy Karen Gillan as Nebula Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Reveals Nebula, Gamora, and Rockets Backstories


Thanos made it clear in Guardians of the Galaxy that Gamora was his favorite child, something that only further fueled the hatred between the two sisters. But, with their relationship set to be a major focus in the sequel, we asked Saldana if this backstory would bring out even more darkness within her character.

So we just talked to Karen and she was talking about how we’ll probably see more of an empathetic side to Nebula.  Can you talk a little bit about maybe seeing like a darker side to Gamora as we get to their history and relationship with Thanos?

Zoe Saldana: I just don’t know how much, how darker Gamora can go.  You know, when you started with her in the first film, she’s like full blown assassin.  And with a lot of bad habits.  Who through the friendship that she initiates with the Guardians like it just, it compels her to sort of turn on a, turn a new leaf, is that the way you guys say it in English?  So in this movie, I don’t know about her being like a total like bitch, you know?  I think there are some sympathetic values to her character that she’s gonna try to sort of incorporate.  When it comes to her relationship with Nebula, I appreciate what James Gunn did.  He definitely heard what the fans were saying, you know.  To see this relationship extensively unfold and see what they’re about and, I mean, but through their relationship you getting like a closer idea of what Thanos is really about.  I think it’s really interesting to open up that window.  And he certainly has with this sequel.

Gamora clearly has trust issues in Guardians due to her relationship with Thanos, so it will be interesting to see not only how that has affected her now and her relationships with others (like a potential romantic one with Star-Lord), but also how it shaped her relationship with Nebula. Even though Thanos is directly responsible for how the two view each other, Gunn wanted to make it clear that it is not about their relationship with Thanos, but instead with each other – and then how it affects them now. Not only does this go for Nebula and Gamora according to Gunn, but also Rocket’s relationship with the team.

It sounds like a big part of Nebula and Gamora’s arc is dealing with the residual trauma of being raised by Thanos – why not have Thanos in the movie?

James Gunn: First of all, it’s about two sisters. It’s not about the sisters and their father. It’s about two sisters and what were the sisters’ problems with each other. And yeah, some of those things were caused by being raised by the ultimate abusive father. But it really isn’t about Thanos, and frankly I just wasn’t inspired to put him in the movie. I kind of go with my gut on these things and it just wasn’t what I wanted to do. It wasn’t the most fun part of the movie last time for me, and I just didn’t really want to do it this time. And again the relationship with Thanos has nothing to do with it. It’s not about their relationship with Thanos. It’s about their relationship to each other, and what is that. And that was interesting to me. And I thought that was important to our story, and that was important to our characters. What happened with them in the past. There’s a lot of stuff that happened in the past that affects our characters presently.

Same thing with Rocket. Rocket’s past is very important to the present story, but it’s not about how it affects him, it’s about how it affects his relationship with the other Guardians.

JSC3360 CMP v140.1046 Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Reveals Nebula, Gamora, and Rockets Backstories


Even with it sounding as though Nebula, Gamora, and Rocket’s backstories will be driving forces for each of their characters, Star-Lord’s history will be a big factor within the movie itself. Kurt Russell has been brought on to play his father Ego the Living Planet, and Gunn wanted to tell this story now because you never know how long something will last. The result of this decision has put Star-Lord’s father dynamics front and center.

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that you and Chris together created Star-Lord into this, almost- For kids, I have a twelve and eight year old, and he’s Han Solo to them. He’s almost Indiana Jones. So, coming back to him a second time, tell me about some of the challenges of just figuring out what the next steps for him are, and how do you maintain… He’s the leader of the team, but it doesn’t seem like this is his story. It does seem like it the whole team’s story.

James Gunn: It is the whole team’s story, but there’s a big huge part of it that’s his story too. When I was writing up the first movie I wrote the whole backstory of where Peter came from, who his father was, why did Yondu pick him up from the planet. I wrote all that stuff, and there was a part of me that thought about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, maybe there’ll be a story in between the answers to that story. And I said “I don’t know.” How long am I going to be around for? I don’t know, let’s just go for that story. So, that’s a big part of what this story is. Those other characters are now major characters in the movie; Nebula, Yondu, these characters that were tertiary characters in the first film.

If there was anyone who was hoping to learn more about these characters in the first film, it sounds as though Gunn has set up the sequel to deliver. Even though the primary focus may be on Star-Lord and then Nebula, Gamora, and Rocket to varying degrees, expect Drax, Groot, Yondu, Mantis, and Ego to also see more of their backstories fleshed out – or in some cases introduced.

More: Every Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 Update You Need To Know

Set to the all-new sonic backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is written and directed by James Gunn and stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, featuring Vin Diesel as Baby Groot, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Tommy Flanagan, Laura Haddock, with Sylvester Stallone, and Kurt Russell. Kevin Feige is producing, and Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Jonathan Schwartz, Nikolas Korda and Stan Lee are the executive producers.