Before Disney, Lucasfilm, and Marvel were all a family, Kevin Feige wanted to put a Star Wars reference into Guardians of the Galaxy. While Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is one of the year’s biggest hits and a third film is already being worked on by Jame Gunn, it wasn’t that long ago that the property was still taking shape. Long before James Gunn came onto the scene, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige was crafting the early concept of a space adventure featuring some of the Guardians from the comics. Naturally, no intergalactic epic can be made these days without comparisons to Star Wars, but Marvel’s plan to feature an irreverent romp in the cosmos with a band of rogues was certainly an original take on the genre.
Of course, it was Gunn’s writing and direction that helped set the film apart. From his inventive use of music and staging, to the heart infused in all of the lovable scoundrels starring in the film, it’s likely not hyperbole to state that the franchise wouldn’t be a success without Gunn’s unique vision and leadership. Interestingly, it seems that the movie’s use of music and its ties to Peter Quill’s past almost didn’t factor into the film. And in somewhat of an ironic twist, a blatant Star Wars nod once held the place of the movie’s Walkman.
Mashable spoke with Kevin Feige at the press conference for Spider-Man: Homecoming, and the subject of the connection between Star Wars and Guardians arose. Feige then admitted there was an early reference in the film in the form of a Darth Vader toy.
“Always, we wanted to reveal at a certain point in the movie that Peter Quill was a human from Earth. And for a long time, I really thought it was going to be the greatest thing in the world that you’re in a spaceship and he’s talking to one of the alien characters and he knocks over his bag and one of the alien characters bends down and picks up and it was a Darth Vader action figure, goes, ‘What’s this?'”
Feige states this whole plan happened before the Disney’s deal with Lucasfilm and that it was merely meant to draw on ’70s/’80s pop culture and Quill’s childhood. Of course, the replacement of the Vader toy with a Walkman did more than provide a nice reference, it restructured the entire film.
“To make a long story short, James Gunn was basically like, ‘I got a better idea. What if he had a Walkman and listened to music?’ And it was like, ‘Oh, that’s a million times better.’ Because the Star Wars thing was just a nerdy reference in a single moment, and obviously, the conceit of the music redefined the entire movie.”
Along with the influence of Hong Kong cinema, the music helped create a unique action film and one of Marvel’s most interesting movies to date. Gunn’s plan to focus the film around Peter and his mom’s music not only added more depth to the story, but provided one of the most fascinating uses of music in a blockbuster. While a Star Wars toy would have been a nice nod, Feige and Gunn certainly made the right call in the end.
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