Guardians of the Galaxy 2: James Gunn Talks Ayesha & Ego

Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe started with a bang earlier this year, thanks to the strong reception and box office performance of Captain America: Civil War. Marvel Studio wasted no time capitalizing on that good will endeared by Civil War with its San Diego Comic-Con 2016 panel - where several upcoming Phase 3 films were previewed, in some way or another. Among those reveals at Marvel's SDCC panel were character confirmations for Black Panther, sizzle reels for Thor: Ragnarok and Spider-Man: Homecoming, Brie Larson's casting confirmed for Captain Marvel, and trailers for both Doctor Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Comic-Con trailer has not yet been released online, but word has already spread about what the preview revealed about the cosmic adventure sequel. Perhaps the two biggest reveals concerned cast members Elizabeth Debicki (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) and Kurt Russell (The Hateful Eight), now confirmed to be playing Ayesha and Ego The Living Planet, respectively.

Guardians of the Galaxy 1 & 2 writer/director James Gunn took to Facebook after Marvel's SDCC panel, to discuss what was revealed during the event. He broke down the major reveals in the Guardians footage in particular, in the process offering the following description of Ayesha in the film:

Ayesha is the golden High Priestess of a genetically-perfect people called the Sovereign. She’s not a woman to be screwed with – she, and her entire world, are extraordinarily deadly.

Elizabeth Debicki in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

The Ayesha character debuted in the world of Marvel Comics in the 1970s and, as Gunn notes, she was genetically designed to be a 'perfect' being by the Enclave: a group of scientists that was also responsible for the creation of Adam Warlock, a key player in the overarching narrative on the cosmic side of the Marvel Comics universe. It was previously rumored that Ayesha would be the central villain in the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel; and now that the news is official, this should only further fuel speculation that Gunn's film will pave the way for Adam Warlock to make his MCU debut, sooner than later.

While Ayesha was far from the only significant reveal in the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 footage (see also: Sylvester Stallone appearance confirmed), the big news is that the preview offered the first look at Russell as Ego The Living Planet... who, in the MCU, is also Star-Lord's (Chris Pratt) father. Gunn promised that "all will be explained" in the actual movie, before teasing Ego's role in the sequel's narrative as follows:

But to me, this is the absolute center of Vol. 2, and one of the reasons I’ve been so excited about it. When Marvel first approached me with the first movie, I thought, “Wait a second? A talking raccoon? Isn’t that a rather ridiculous idea to base a movie around?”

... Ego seemed, in many ways, like an even more ridiculous character. But I asked myself, if a planet was alive, how could that be? And how could it father a child? The answers to those questions took me to a far deeper place that I expected. I don’t want to give away too many answers at this time. But what Nova Prime said about Peter’s father at the end of Vol. 1 is certainly true – he is something ancient and unknown. And, as we will discover, being a cosmic being, alone for eons, is perhaps even more lonely than being the universe’s sole talking raccoon.

Hateful Eight - Kurt Russell - Guardians of the Galaxy 2
Kurt Russell in The Hateful Eight

You can read our Ego the Living Planet Explained feature for an in-depth exploration of the character and his history in the world of Marvel Comics. Generally speaking, though, the Ego character isn't known for being either well-adjusted or a "good guy," so perhaps it's fitting that he'll be something of a lonely misfit anti-hero like his son and the other Guardians, judging by Gunn's description of the Ego character in the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel. Gunn previously described the Guardians sequel narrative as being more "emotional" and intimate in nature and has now promised that Russell's characterization of Ego in the film will be reflective of that idea, too:

I can’t wait for you guys to see Kurt Russell bring this character to life onscreen. It has been a rapturous experience creating Ego with him. We have both pushed ourselves as far as we can go in making him real, and grounded, and emotionally centered.

Lastly, Gunn offered his assurances that even given everything that was revealed in the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Comic-Con trailer, "We have countless more surprises for you as we get closer to our release date. And even more of them in the movie itself."

NEXT: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Comic-Con Footage Description

Doctor Strange opens in U.S. theaters on November 4, 2016, followed by 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 Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.

Source: James Gunn

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