We've said it so many times, it's beginning to sound like a broken record. After entering 2014 as one of the biggest box office risks, James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy ended up becoming one of the few breakout smashes of the year. Currently ranking as the highest-grossing film of the year domestically (and the third-largest Marvel movie worldwide), Marvel Studios took one of the most obscure properties and turned it into a global sensation.
The studio was so confident in Gunn's film that they even officially announced the sequel prior to its theatrical release at San Diego Comic-Con, with Guardians of the Galaxy 2 being prepped for a July 2017 debut. So while moviegoers are busy figuring out metaphors with Drax, dancing to The Jackson 5 with Groot, the movie's director has been hard at work figuring out how he's going to top himself so soon.
Speaking with Variety at their Entertainment & Technology Summit, Gunn opened up on what he has in store for fans with his highly-anticipated sequel. With no shortage of mysteries or loose ends left in Guardians's story (specifically that of Peter Quill), it's unsurprising to hear that Gunn couldn't wait to get his ideas down on paper:
"I spent all day on August 1, the day the first movie was released, writing ‘Guardians 2.' I was so excited about it and I was finally able to let go of the last one and begin the second one. I always saw this as a universe, not just as one story."
During his talk, Gunn confirmed that the five heroes of the team from the first film would be returning and revealed that he may be adding to the roster. In our own interview with the director, he revealed his wish to have at least two female Guardians this time around - landing Moondragon (daughter of Drax and eventual Guardians member) as one of the 12 characters we'd like to see in the sequel.
Gunn obviously couldn't get into any spoiler specific details, but he does seem to have his aim set very high - seeking to showcase the "universe" that is Marvel's cosmic side. While we (like several others) enjoyed the film, one of our main critiques was that it did feel somewhat confined (read our review). Opening up new corners and illustrating the expansiveness of this side of the world would be a great way of making a terrific product even better.
In his interview, Gunn also mentioned that he intends to answer some of the mysteries raised in Guardians. Chief among those is the identity of Star-Lord's father, who audiences were told is from an ancient alien race (and not much else). Gunn has previously stated that the sequel could include Quill's father, and revealing that he'll be making changes from the comic book canon.
As for any other great unknowns that Gunn plans to unravel, we'd have to guess that the Infinity Stones will also be included in the sequel. And even if he doesn't appear in the actual film, Thanos (Josh Brolin) is still too large a presence to be absent in a cosmic adventure. With the Earth-bound Avengers getting ready for their Civil War and Marvel (possibly) building up to a major Guardians/Avengers crossover event, it would make sense to use these cosmic space operas as a means for continuing that plot thread (we doubt too much of that will be happening in Captain America 3).
The overwhelming success of Guardians has given Marvel the creative freedom to do, quite honestly, whatever they want for its sequel. So it's a promising sign that Gunn isn't resting on his laurels. Gunn's quotes - however brief - hint at something with the potential to be even bigger than the record-breaking product he put out this past August.
The director has been candid about just how much the film means to him; if he thinks building on that world and blowing its scale wide open is the best way to go, we'll be right there alongside him. It's a safe bet the fans will be as well.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 hits theaters July 28, 2017.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.