Guardians of the Galaxy concludes with Peter Quill a.k.a Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) and his newfound friends heading out into space to begin new adventures as vigilante heroes with their refurbished starship, the Milano, but the hook at the end of the film is the reveal that Quill is only half human (Terran). His non-Terran half, as revealed by the leader of Nova Corps. (Glenn Close), is of some mysterious and unspecified ancient alien race.
Marvel Comics readers know that Star-Lord’s dad in the lore is a man named J’son of Spartax, an emperor of a large alien empire of human-looking people (the Spartoi), but director James Gunn stated that the movies won’t quite follow that. Not only is Quill’s pa “definitely not the character who it is in the comics”, but Gunn won’t even be using the name “J’Son” in the Guardians sequels.
Speaking with IGN to promote the Guardians of the Galaxy home video release (Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray and On-Demand December 9, 2014), the director did say that the identity of Star-Lord’s dad won’t be a big, held-back mystery.
“It’s funny, I don’t want to blackbox it too much. You know what I mean? Yeah, it’s like, we’ll find out who is dad is, and it’s going to serve the story. It’s not going to be something like in the Crying Game, though, where the big thing was, ‘He has a penis!’ [or The Sixth Sense’s big twist]. I don’t want to do that. It’s not about the revelation of who it is; it’s about what his relationship is to that character.”
Gunn continues, explaining that the identity of Star-Lord’s father, while not the same as the comics, still will be important to the bigger picture story of the MCU. As for why the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel will deviate even further from the source material, Gunn is simply not a big fan of Star-Lord’s actual father in Marvel Comics and has his own idea for the character (which he believes will fit the films better).
“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 that on film were a little too Star Wars for me. And I’m not a big fan of the name J’son. [Laughs]”
So, daddy Star-Lord will not only be a different type of character, he’ll be a different character entirely. That means Gunn has either created an original character to take on the role, or more likely, he and producer Kevin Feige are adapting another character from the books to fit him into the role. The fact that this relationship between Quill and his father needed to be known before Guardians of the Galaxy began shooting – and knowing he’s significant to the MCU – lends credence to the latter idea. But who would that be?
Whether you realize it or not, Guardians of the Galaxy is near the top of the list of Marvel Studios productions when it comes to not quite faithfully following the comics and that reality didn’t hurt the film. In fact, Gunn’s vision of the property helped it break box office records, win over fans and critics, and position it to become the second highest grossing movie of the year worldwide. What Gunn did get right is the core cast of characters, their relationships and the overall team dynamic. And it’s the relationship between Quill and his dad that’s most important – according to Gunn – when it plays out in future movies.
Yondu (Michael Rooker) being almost entirely different from the comics and Drax (Dave Bautista) no longer originating from earth are as two examples of taking liberties with the source material that didn’t hurt the story. However, GOTG villain Ronan the Accuser being full-on evil and seemingly dying at the end of the film though could be an issue in the long-term since it prevents future stories from using him (in the comics Ronan becomes a heroic figure and has a major role in cosmic events as a Kree leader and eventual ally of the Guardians). So, it remains to be seen what the long-term plan is for Quill’s bloodline.
Gunn also reiterated the message that Guardians of the Galaxy 2 will be very different from its predecessor, so it can be its “own” entity and something unexpected.
“It’s not about recapturing it because Guardians of the Galaxy was really good at what it did. It is what it is. So it’s not about recapturing it. It’s about taking the characters in new directions and learning new things about them. It’s about taking these characters that people believe in and making them even more real. You asked me what resonates; I totally believe in those characters. I believe those characters are real. To me, Rocket and Groot are real. I feel love for them like I would a human being. That’s probably some form of mental illness on my part, but that’s just the way it is. I think that truth, really believing in those characters, resonates with people. Also, I think it’s a movie that doesn’t – I think for 30 years a lot of Hollywood movies have been treating the audiences like they’re idiots. We didn’t. We know it’s fun, and we’re not against having a good dumb time – seeing explosions and stuff like that – but at the heart of it, I think there’s this basic respect for the humanity of the audience involved and a respect for the characters and the storytelling. I think that people like that.”
He also hinted that the Guardians movies and future cosmic stories will strive to be their own thing as well, not relying so much on Earth. He stressed that GOTG doesn’t exist to “service ‘Infinity War'”, which is an interesting stance given expectations that the Guardians will team-up Earth’s Mightiest against Thanos – a villain Gunn admits “needs a lot more development before he can take on the entire, you know, Marvel Earth Universe at least” – in The Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 & Part 2.
For the sequel(s), Gunn already revealed he has some ideas for Guardians of the Galaxy 3 as well as what he’s working on now. Some of that he had to think about and plan out with Kevin Feige before even shooting the first movie (like who Star-Lord’s dad is).
The Avengers: Age of Ultron releases in theaters on May 1, 2015, followed by Ant-Man on July 17, 2015, Captain America: Civil War on May 6, 2016, Doctor Strange on November 4, 2016, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on May 5, 2017, Thor: Ragnarok on July 28, 2017, Black Panther on November 3, 2017, Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 on May 4, 2018, Captain Marvel on July 6, 2018, Inhumans on November 2, 2018 and Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2 on May 3, 2019.
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