Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is officially underway, and one of the more anticipated releases in the upcoming slate is James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The sequel to 2014's surprise runaway smash, the film sees Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot continue their adventures as the team attempts to discover the mystery surrounding Peter Quill's parentage. Joining the cast are Pom Klementieff as new Guardian member Mantis, Kurt Russell as Star-Lord's father, and Elizabeth Debicki as the film's mystery villain. Principal photography began back in February and has been rolling along ever since.
Gunn has remained active on social media throughout production, teasing fans and offering updates on how things are progressing periodically throughout the process. One of his more tantalizing posts was a storyboard that seemed to provide a vague hint about Star-Lord's dad, who is "from the stars." Now, as the filmmaker continues his #WhatWeShotWednesday series, he's sharing another storyboard from the film, which is just as cryptic as the first one.
Taking to Twitter, Gunn posted a rough sketch of Star-Lord, Rocket and baby Groot possibly looking down a tunnel. The handwriting may be difficult to make out for some; the top of the page appears to have "Quill and Rocket stand... silhouette," while the bottom has "Rocket pulls out pen light, shines it at camera":
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) June 15, 2016
Given the caption accompanying the image, it looks like Gunn is commemorating the near wrap of production. Expressing gratitude for being part of this corner of the MCU for the past handful of years, one has to wonder if Gunn is nearing the end of more than just Guardians 2. He's currently unsure about returning to helm the third installment that will most likely kick off Phase 4, but Gunn could very well change his mind between now and then. There's still a long way to go, and the director obviously holds these characters near and dear to his heart. Depending on how things shake out, Gunn may want to come back and cap off a trilogy.
In the meantime, it will be interesting to see if Guardians 2 has a presence at next month's San Diego Comic-Con. Marvel Studios will be represented by this fall's Doctor Strange, and Vol. 2 is next up after audiences meet the Sorcerer Supreme. This will be the only time the studio can promote the project at the Comic-Con venue, and it would be a golden opportunity to get the hype train rolling for the MCU's next journey through the cosmos. Since they were able to put together a sizzle reel back at Comic-Con 2013 (when the first film had only begun production), it isn't out of the question to think footage from the sequel will be shown this year. However, nothing has been confirmed yet.
Time will tell if Guardians 2 can match its predecessor in terms of quality, but chances are it will. In contrast to the typical "bigger is better" mold, Gunn is taking a more restrained approach with Vol. 2 by telling a character driven story about fathers that focuses primarily on the returning cast members. This particular sub-franchise of the MCU has been able to enjoy relative freedom from the overarching shared universe narrative, and that will continue to be the case. With the lovable band of misfits back together rocking out to another Awesome Mixtape, there's plenty to look forward to next summer.
Captain America: Civil War is in theaters now. Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; 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.
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