All eyes are on Captain America: Civil War and the soon-to-shoot Doctor Strange in terms of upcoming Marvel productions, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the Cinematic Universe isn’t still moving along as well. Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2 has begun the earliest stages of its production, with Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, and director James Gunn heading into rehearsals for the anticipated cosmic sequel. The film’s top-secret storyline is expected to answer burning questions from the original and potentially bring exciting new dimensions to the ongoing Marvel mega-story.
Now, Gunn has posted a pair of new behind-the-scenes images to the web, giving fans a look at some of the cast and crew reassembled for the first time since the last film.
In the first image, Gunn playfully feigns pointing to Bautista’s mock-Shakespearean pose as an example of acting to Pratt and Saldana, with Gunn’s younger brother Sean standing (or, rather, crouching) in for Rocket Raccoon as a scale reference. Elsewhere, Bautista has confirmed that he’s back in training to get in the expected shape for the role, while Saldana has noted sitting for makeup tests once again. Vin Diesel, who provides the voice of Groot, is currently occupied elsewhere shooting a sequel of his own with xXx: The Return of Xander Cage — no word has yet been released as to at what point he will join Guardians in production, and to what capacity, given that his character was in a rather different place, physically, at the end of the first film.
The second image confirms the return of Gunn regular Michael Rooker, who portrayed Ravager leader Yondu in the original. The cast is hoping to add Kurt Russell to its ranks in the role of Star-Lord’s father, whose identity and role in the story are being kept a closely guarded secret at this time. A question mark additionally surrounds the return of Benicio del Toro as The Collector, previously thought to be a done deal but apparently not yet locked down at this stage of production. Some of these discrepancies could potentially be explained as an attempt to keep key plot details a secret, while it could also be that some of the details have legitimately not been decided yet.
Also unknown is the status of Karen Gillan’s Nebula and Josh Brolin’s Thanos, both of whom were important villains in the first film, but have not yet been confirmed for a significant capacity in the sequel. While neither is expected to be integral to the plot, which may or may not have ramifications on the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War features. Nova Prime and Roman Dey, characters previously played by Glenn Close and John C. Reilly, are also expected to return but have not been formally announced. According to Gunn, the film’s shooting script was only completed as recently as January 13, 2016. The filmmaker also has the horror feature The Belko Experiment, which he wrote and produced, hitting later in the year, with the Guardians sequel hitting in 2017.
Captain America: Civil War opens in theaters May 6, 2016; Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man– July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Black Panther– July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – November 2, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019.