One of the most notable positive sentiments of James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is its use of Kurt Russell who plays a version of Ego the Living Planet, an iconic and uniquely weird cosmic being in Marvel Comics.
While we knew early on in development that Kurt Russell would be playing the father of Chris Pratt's character, Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord, the identity of Russell's character was long kept secret in an official capacity until San Diego Comic-Con in July 2016. We visited the set earlier that year and spoke with Kurt Russell, alongside other cast and crew members, who all kept it secret at the time. They wouldn't even reveal that Ego was in the movie despite some revealing conceptual art and rumors I had heard and suggested on our visit.
Instead, all of the art related to Ego, his ship, his planet, etc. was all labelled "J'Son" - a nod to Quill's actual father in the comics who's the royal leader of the massive Spartoi Empire. Even Kurt Russell's chair on set was labelled "J'Son" and no one would spill the beans while confusingly reiterating to us what James Gunn had always said - that J'Son is not in the movie. Weird, right? But we knew...
Interestingly though, in designing Kurt Russell's human form costume - which looks like something out of the game Destiny where players play as "Guardians" - at least one idea explored was something that looks like the royal attire J'Son of Spartax would indeed where. Check out the below exclusive piece of conceptual art by Christian Cordella based on a costume design by Marvel Studios regular Judianna Makovsky (Captain America 2-3, Avengers 3-4, etc.). Check out their alternative, bug-like Mantis design too.
This design is a mix of practical, especially in the textures and chest strappings, and royal colors and aesthetic. Compare to one iteration of J'Son from the more modern Guardians of the Galaxy comics:
And for reference, here's the official look Gunn and co. went with for Kurt Russell's Ego look in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, beard and cloak included. But better yet, check out this amazing Ego-Knowhere theory which we believe might be one of the biggest and coolest secrets from the first movie that no one saw.
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.