Next year will see the beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's climactic Phase 3, as Captain America: Civil War further expands upon the superheroes' ideological struggles on Earth and Doctor Strange ventures into the unexplored realm of magic and alternate dimensions. And in 2017, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will complete the setting trifecta, taking audiences deeper into the cosmos.
With the script already complete and production set to begin early 2016, Guardians 2 feels much closer than it actually is. What we know for certain about the sequel so far is that it's a story about fathers (and daddy issues); it will introduce one new "Guardian" (potentially Gunn's favorite character); and it will deviate from the comics. And as Gunn has confirmed before, it will not "go bigger" or serve as a prequel to Avengers: Infinity War.
While speaking with Collider at the 41st Annual Saturn Awards - where he received the award for Best Film Director - James Gunn once again reiterated a few details regarding the much anticipated sequel.
It's a more emotional movie. I think it's both a bigger movie and a smaller movie because we focus more intensely on some of the characters.
This not only echoes past reports that Guardians of the Galaxy 2 will feature fewer characters and dial in on the core members' emotional arcs, but it also explains why Chris Pratt teared up after hearing the story pitch for the first time.
Interestingly enough, Joss Whedon originally wanted to approach Avengers: Age of Ultron in a similar way. Back in 2012, the director claimed the sequel would not try to go bigger, but rather would be "more personal, more painful" for the characters--essentially, smaller in story and scope. And while the film certainly targeted the heroes' respective inner fears, insecurities, and struggles, there's no denying it became more massive than its predecessor - obliterating an entire capital city in the process.
That said, there is the possibility Guardians 2 will also unintentionally grow larger as production commences, but it's very unlikely, considering Gunn seems to have full creative control over the sequel - something Whedon outspokenly lacked.
Despite the emotional center of the film, Gunn will of course balance that pathos out with the same buoyant and character-driven humor audiences came to love and expect from the first one. He went on to describe to Collider his inspiration for writing comedic scenes and how he gets into that particular mindset.
Making myself laugh while I'm writing. I think humor comes from when you make characters you fall in love with--when you create characters you fall in love with and imbue them with some sort of personality and you like to see them bounce off each other, and that conflict often, you know, ends up in having some sort of humor.
While the plot of the film is really anyone's guess (aside from the people at Marvel, of course), fans can rest assured that the film will at least continue the zany, thrilling, and heartwarming tone that made the first so successful and appealing. Here's hoping for more twisted humor from Rocket, more unspoken wisdom from Groot, and even more hapless alien ignorance from Drax and Gamora--maybe Gamora will finally find out who put the sticks up those people's butts.
James Gunn is writing and directing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 with returning stars Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Michael Rooker, Sean Gunn and the voices of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel.
Ant-Man releases July 17 2015, Captain America: Civil War on May 6 2016, Doctor Strange on November 4 2016, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on May 5 2017, Spider-Man on July 28, 2017, Thor: Ragnarok on November 3 2017, Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 on May 4 2018, Black Panther on July 6 2018, Captain Marvel on November 2 2018, Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2 on May 3 2019 and Inhumans on July 12, 2019.