Marvel’s 2014 space adventure flick, Guardians of the Galaxy, was one of that year’s biggest success stories, with the movie outperforming studio expectations at the box office and attracting scores of rave reviews. A significant part of that success must be attributed to the on-screen chemistry between the ragtag band of misfits, who come together to form a dysfunctional but close-knit family by the end of the movie.
With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 currently in production, director James Gunn has already dropped several hints suggesting that the sequel put even more focus on the theme of family and the relationships between the Guardians themselves and other key characters. The addition of Kurt Russell to the cast as Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) father is sure to drag up family issues for the maverick leader, and with Karen Gillan’s Nebula promised an increased role in Vol. 2, there is bound to be tension between her and fellow daughter of Thanos, Gamora (Zoe Saldana).
If recent comments made by James Gunn’s brother Sean are to be believed, Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) will experience his own emotional turmoil in the upcoming movie. Sean – who is responsible for Rocket’s motion capture work – revealed in an interview with ComicBook at the Heroes and Villains Comic Con in Atlanta, Georgia:
“Rocket has a lot of great stuff to do in this movie. There are a few relationships that are central to the theme of the movie and that really go towards keeping a family… and Rocket has the same sort of crisis of faith about whether or not he belongs in this family.”
In the original movie, of course, Rocket Raccoon oozed confidence and was full of brash attitude and timely quips. Although the furriest Guardian did have moments of emotional impact – such as in the aftermath of Groot’s sacrifice – it will be interesting to witness a less self-assured, more thoughtful side to the character. Quite what will bring about this change of mindset is currently unclear, but perhaps having to nurture and protect Baby Groot has helped Rocket’s softer side emerge.
Aside from the excellent character chemistry, another key element of Guardians of the Galaxy‘s success was the movie’s keen sense of humor. With Vol. 2 seemingly heading in a deeper, more emotive direction than its predecessor, it’ll be vital for James Gunn and co. to retain the lighter, wittier moments that helped make the first film so enjoyable and balance them with the heavier, relationship-focused parts of the sequel’s narrative.
Arguably, however, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2‘s more personal direction will mean that the sequel not only feels different and unique but will also ensure that the movie’s characters can continue to surprise audiences and perhaps even strengthen the chemistry that has previously been established. Whilst Quill’s Daddy issues and Gamora and Nebula’s sisterly rivalry both featured to some extent in the original film, Rocket Raccoon’s insecurities are largely a new addition to the character and this should help make Vol. 2 every bit as gripping and watchable as the previous movie.