With Infinity War now out and doing well at the box office, we thought it’d be cool to take a behind-the-scenes look at some of the most entertaining movies (and superheroes) to grace the Marvel Cinematic Universe: The Guardians of the Galaxy.
Director James Gunn truly took a gamble when attempting to translate these little-known comic book heroes onto the big screen, seeing as they weren’t stealing the spotlight as much as many of Marvel’s other, more iconic heroes.
Those who’ve seen the Captain America or Iron Man movies have probably already heard of these characters among popular media, even before catching their cinematic debut.
The Guardians, however, were not quite as recognized for their comic book presence. However, boy, are we sure glad Gunn took his chances.
His decision to finally launch this ragtag superhero crew into cinematic prominence could have very well flopped without the right vision and directorial approach – though lucky for both movie-goers and fans of the source material, he took all the right steps to create an absolute hit of superhero flick.
This article will delve into the various backstage processes that went into creating the excellent Guardians of the Galaxy movies (including make-up, stunts, and even pre-CGI photos), along with a handful of goofy, behind-the-scenes photos of the cast’s everyday shenanigans on-set.
Get ready to go behind the curtain, because here are the 20 Behind-The-Scenes Photos Of Guardians Of The Galaxy That Change Everything.
20 Blue Stuntmen
Michael Rooker isn't the only one walking around in blue “skin” on set – James Gunn’s got his own little army of blue-suited crew members helping around with the movie’s CGI-laden stunts.
For those unfamiliar with the practices of blue or green-screen chroma-key technology, assistants on a film set can be made to wear a blue or green bodysuit (depending on the colour of the backdrop) – allowing them to perform some movie magic that can later be edited in post-production.
This can include having the crew member carry around inanimate objects, which can later create the illusion of “floating” or “flying” objects when the person is later edited out by the special effects team.
The individual can also be substituted with a CGI creature, as is the case with Rocket Raccoon and Groot.
It’s a tough gig that involves a heck of a lot of teamwork and dedication. Goodness knows those suits aren’t the most comfortable (or flattering) to wear, either – bless Sean Gunn for being a wicked Rocket Raccoon stand-in, waddling around on all fours in a neon-green unitard.
Along with his brother, James Gunn luckily had an amazingly talented crew at hand that’s been able to pull such cinematic stunts off flawlessly, time and time again, making for a couple of the best Marvel movies we know today.
19 Double The Pratt
While Chris Pratt does an undeniably stellar job on-screen portraying the snarky, sardonic, space hoodlum Star-Lord – we actually have to give it up to his excellent stunt double, Tony McFarr, for performing some of the more frenetic action scenes on set.
McFarr and Pratt actually go way back – the two had worked together previously during the actor’s time in Passengers – a sci-fi romance flick starring the fantastic Jennifer Lawrence, as well as the much-awaited 2015 nostalgia-fest, Jurassic World.
According to IMDb, he has once again collaborated with Pratt in the upcoming Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
McFarr’s also got a few other prolific films under his belt, having performed stunts for Captain America: Civil War, Furious 7, and the Hunger Games movies series.
He has also worked on a number of acclaimed television shows, including The Walking Dead and Homeland.
The man was finally introduced to us by Pratt himself through this quick Instagram snap – with that Star-Lord helmet on, you really wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
We wonder if the pair ever pull pranks with their co-stars on set, seeing as the resemblance is uncanny.
Here’s to hoping the two continue to work on more exciting film projects together.
18 Yondu’s Makeup In Progress
Michael Rooker’s character, Yondu Udonta, is physically most notable for his Crayola-blue skin and orange metal fin protruding from his head.
This “fin” allows Yondu to control his Yaka arrow, which is arguably one of more frightening weapons to exist in the MCU. Once you hear the man’s high-pitched whistle, he’s pretty much secured your fate.
Of course, having a piece of metal stick out of Rooker’s head is a presumably complex task for the FX makeup artist, having such a physical attribute look as natural as possible.
James Gunn oh-so-generously treated us to a disturbing, behind-the-scenes photo of this process, with Rooker’s head looking creepily disfigured.
According to his caption, it seems that this is the first step in Yondu’s make-up process, which involves creating a new layer of skin as a base for his Yaka controller.
Props to the make-up artist for designing such a seamless mold; unsuspecting viewers can be fooled into thinking Rooker’s head underwent an accident. Apologies to the readers who are eating, however.
This makes us wonder how his large, prototype fin is then secured onto his head – and how they’re able to keep it in place as the actor films his scenes.
Whatever the process may be, James Gunn’s got a skilled make-up team on hand, and it definitely shows among the movie’s other characters.
17 Behind-The-Scenes Brahl
Brahl was first introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 as a member of the Yondu Ravager Clan, unwinding with fellow members in a local brothel on the planet of Contraxia.
He is later seen turning his back on Yondu, enraged with how their leader had chosen to spare Rocket’s life later in the movie, given that the Golden High Priestess had granted them the task of destroying the Guardians for a hefty financial reward.
As the Ravager member, Taserface, accused Yondu of going “soft” and decided to usurp his role as leader – Brahl, along with the rest of the team, decide to join him in his mutiny.
We see him in a later scene ejecting the few Ravager members that have sided with Yondu through an airlock into space.
As menacing and merciless as he was, the Ravager’s time on-screen doesn’t last for long, eventually getting destroyed by Yondu’s Yaka Arrow.
For a character of hostile values and a sinister face to match, it’s amusing to see the actor, Stephen Blackehart, goof around off-screen in the same Brahl prosthetics and make-up.
At the same time, it’s awesome to see the fine details that go onto Blackehart’s face – just look at all those wrinkles and veins.
16 Drax and Yondu Playing Ping-Pong
Drax the Destroyer and Yondu Udonta weren’t the closest of pals the Guardians movies, though it was nice to see the two playing a competitive game of ping-pong for one of the sequel’s video promos.
Well, it was more like a fully-made up Michael Rooker and a completely dressed down Dave Bautista chilling out behind the scenes, and it seems like wrestling isn’t the only sport that Bautista is good at– he even plays with two paddles.
The actual video for this little behind-the-scenes battle only lasted a few seconds in the promo clip. We wonder who ended up winning?
Drax and Yondu don’t display much of a significant relationship on-screen apart from joining forces in the battle against Ego, but it would have been interesting to see more meaningful interactions between the two – much like how Rocket and Yondu formed their unexpected partnership in their attempt to escape from Eclector.
Seeing as they’re both incredibly tough space thugs that show little to no mercy towards their enemies, we’re guessing they’d make a pretty good team.
We're not sure how well Yondu would take Drax’s ignorance to sarcasm, however.
Unfortunately, since the – spoiler alert – passing of Yondu’s character, that’s something for an alternate Marvel universe.
15 Nebula’s Water Break
Karen Gillian’s on-screen Nebula is quite a formidable character in her own right, being a highly trained, cybernetic assassin and the right-hand woman of Ronan the Accuser.
While her adopted sister, Gamora, may be known as the most dangerous woman in the galaxy, Nebula claims the title of “Biggest Sadist in the Galaxy” – and holds a deep-seated resentment for never having been Gamora’s combative “equal.”
(To be fair, after Thanos repeatedly tearing her apart and replacing her with machinery until she proved her “worth,” we get why this may be.)
In both movies, we’ve seen her mercilessly hunt down the Guardians of the Galaxy and attempt destroy on her own sister, though she eventually fights alongside them when a much more pressing threat – Ego – rears his ugly, celestial head.
Thus, it’s pretty jarring to see this “cuter” side to Nebula as actress Karen Gillian poses innocently for an Instagram photo on her water break.
It’s easy to forget that the actress behind the blue-skinned assassin is known for her rather contrastingly sweet and cheerful off-screen personality; seeing this persona in her movie-villain Nebula get-up is both a strange, yet charming sight.
Couldn’t have said it better ourselves, James Gun – “Clint Eastwood onscreen, Hello Kitty off.”
14 James Gunn’s Nephew With The Cast
The only thing cuter than Baby Groot is James Gunn’s little nephew holding a miniature model of Baby Groot.
During Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2’s filming, Will managed to join his uncle on set and met four of the main cast members – Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillian, Dave Bautista, and of course, Chris Pratt.
Will wasn’t the only lucky kid who was able to meet the actual Guardians during filming, however. In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Chris Pratt fondly recalls a time when he got to bring his 4-year old son, Jack, with him to the movie set.
To his delight, both his son and Gunn’s nephew got along quite well, and the two got themselves treated to an up-close tour of the actual Guardians spaceship – courtesy of Pratt and Gunn.
Pratt also noted his son’s fascinated reaction to seeing the actual set pieces, as if he truly believed that his dad really did fly an epic starship for work every day.
It’s adorable how both the director and leading star get to hang out with their little ones on the actual Guardians set; these kids definitely wouldn’t have your average stories to tell on the schoolyard, that’s for sure.
13 Star-Lord And The Blue Screen
Have you ever wondered how the Guardians movies pull off their characters’ gravity-defying stunts? The answer to that is harnesses – lots of them – and of course, a blue screen.
In this Instagram post by director James Gunn, we see Chris Pratt hanging by a couple of harnesses in his full Star-Lord gear, ready to film what may possibly be one of the movie’s battle sequences.
Below Pratt, we can see one of Gunn’s assistants helping out as the actor’s “puppeteer” – manoeuvring his actions to fit the scene.
While Pratt does have his own stuntman, Tony McFarr, helping out with some of the more dangerous antics, the actor does recall a time when he tried to pull these off himself.
The experience wasn’t all-too-pretty, however, leading to the actor once getting “knocked out” while filming one of the crazier action scenes.
Pratt later disclosed in an interview on Late Night With Seth Meyers that he has since left these dangerous feats to the professionals.
He also admitted that the times an actor wants to attempt their own stunts, its usually “another way for [actors] to feed [their] egos.”
Professional or not, it’s definitely not an easy job, as quick and as swift as these action scenes may look in the final output.
Although, with a skilled director, the help of a great filmmaking team and the dedication of a talented actor, they’ve managed to pull these stunts off perfectly, making for some fine Marvel action in both of Gunn’s acclaimed movies.
12 Nebula's Face
Since actual blue-skinned, bone-raised, cybernetic humanoids from the cosmos are hard to come by, the Guardians FX make-up team spend hours upon hours applying various facial prosthetics, plastic molds, and unnaturally-coloured makeup products onto the film’s stars.
It’s quite easy to forget just how thick these layers of make-up can get, so seeing this Instagram shot of Karen Gillian’s “Nebula” face at the end of a typical day on-set is both a rather strange, yet fascinating behind-the-scenes look.
In an interview by Fast Company with Guardians special effects make-up designer, David White, it was the revealed the first movie had used over 1,000 prosthetic makeup applications and double that amount for the number of yellow, blue, and pink humanoid aliens that were created.
It’s admirable that director James Gunn has always opted for practical make-up effects, rather than having his actors computer-manipulated in post-production.
White reveals that Gunn provides his clear, detailed vision for movie’s creature aesthetics, and each character’s make-up application can be a vastly extensive process with all the fine details that go into it.
That said, the Guardians’ make-up team does an absolutely fine job in successfully bringing the comic books’ heroes to life.
One wonders just how hard it can be to remove these layers of make-up at the end of the day, however.
Judging by how dense and mask-like Nebula’s face is, we’re guessing it’s quite an arduous process in itself.
11 Ravager Double Date
As the second movie caught us up on what the Guardians heroes were up to since the previous movie, we see Yondu and his clan of Ravagers living it up in a brothel on the “pleasure” planet of Contraxia.
Downing one pint of alcohol after the other, the entire team parties their worries away as a group of slim, bright yellow, and scantily-clad androids join in on their fun.
It’s quickly revealed that these are “love-bots.”
These characters’ unusual appearances were devised by award-winning German artist, Michael Kutsche, who had also created the concept art for Alice in Wonderland, Oz the Great and Powerful, and another Marvel blockbuster hit, Thor.
Derived from an '80s fashion style and the artwork of a Japanese illustrator, Hajime Sorayama, the love-bots presented themselves as creepily alluring otherworldly figures, ready for a little Ravager R&R.
It’s quite a humorous idea for James Gunn to use these cyber-night workers, along with a couple of the Ravager members – Kraglin and Taserface, specifically – for a romantically-themed Instagram promo featuring the two on a double date.
After all, nothing spells out romance better than a couple of shady space criminals and their yellow-skinned love-bots
10 Evil Backstage Laughs
We’re not exactly sure what this group of Guardians villains were sharing a laugh about with director James Gunn, though we can assume it was probably about something evil.
It’s no secret that the Guardians movies are some of the greatest Marvel cinematic creations out there – and a surprising success too, given that many were expecting the adaptation to flop among mass audiences.
This was because unlike Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, and pretty much any iconic hero you can name from The Avengers, The Guardians of the Galaxy were just not a superhero team well-known to non-comic book readers.
At the same time, their comic book stories had a far greater share of silly, bizarre elements – a rocket-wielding raccoon, for one thing – rather than the more dramatic tales of Marvel’s other, better-known heroes.
This didn’t faze Gunn, however, who took everything that made Guardians stand out in the comic book world – all the weird and ridiculous aspects of its lore – and used it to his advantage, creating something that hadn’t been done yet in the MCU: a movie that was a comedy first, and a superhero action-fest second.
Of course, this paid off for Gunn, who now has two Marvel movies under his belt that are well known for their hilarious scripts and witty dialogue between characters.
It seems like this adds to the backstage fun among actors too – many behind-the-scenes features show the crew having much of the same comedic chemistry and banter as they do on-screen.
9 Meet The Doubles
Gotta give props to the fearless people behind the Guardians movies’ gravity-defying feats, superhero landings, and frantic action scenes – after all, we wouldn’t have as epic of a superhero movie without them.
After the debut of the first Guardians of the Galaxy, Chloe Bruce – the stunt double for Zoe Saldana’s Gamora – posted a gallery of photos on Twitter of the cast’s stunt crew, namely those behind the antics of Drax the Destroyer, Star-Lord, Nebula, and Ronan the Accuser.
Bruce shared her post on Facebook with grateful caption stating how Gamora was one of her “proudest jobs to date.”
With the marvellous performance both her and Saldana bring onto the screen, it’s easy to see why.
Gamora has undeniably some of the most engaging action scenes the movies have to offer – especially when matched against her on-screen sibling nemesis, Nebula.
With the rather peculiar appearances most of the Guardians characters sport – such as brightly-colored alien skin, full-body engravings, and cybernetic body parts – it’s also pretty astounding to consider the enormous amount of time and effort that go into prepping up their performers for filming.
Not only do the makeup artists spend hours getting their actual stars’ looks down-pat – but they’ve got to do the same for their doubles as well.
It takes a ton of labour, dedication, and teamwork, though Gunn was lucky enough to snag himself some of Hollywood’s finest talents.
8 Drax and The Real Rocket Raccoon
In order to properly generate a swift, smart-talking, rocket-wielding CGI raccoon in post-production, someone had to be a green-suited human stand-in for Rocket during the actual filming.
This person was Sean Gunn, who was not only the talented actor behind Kraglin and director James Gunn’s younger brother, but is also a skilled motion reference actor, to boot.
In a Facebook live session where he answered many of his fans’ questions about filming Guardians. James Gunn clarified on his decision to not have Bradley Cooper standing in for Rocket, instead.
He explained that he needed someone who was properly able to recreate many of Rocket’s moves in the raw scenes, including “waddling” around on all fours.
He credited his brother as someone who understood this well, and does a “fantastic job” in the role.
Gunn also mentioned that his brother was able to skilfully do a lot of “strange” physical things – including scrambling about at the exact same height he wanted for Rocket.
Such a feat – and essential task during filming – is hard to nail down, so Sean definitely deserves all the applause for pulling off what he did.
Additionally, it seems from this photo that he even goes the extra mile as to emote in the role, even if such emotions are recreated through special effects team in post, anyway. Such dedication, much talent.
7 Three Gamoras
Thee Gamoras are better than one. These creepy Gamora clones are a result of James Gunn’s initial decision to use hyper-realistic character masks on Zoe Saldana’s stunt doubles, an idea that he later decided to ditch.
As it turned out, the masks looked a tad too frightening (or “horrifyingly scary,” as Gunn puts it), in addition to being quite cumbersome to use while filming.
Instead, the director opted for the old-fashioned route of green face paint and post-production CGI effects. Guess he can just leave the masks for on-set pranks and Halloween parties.
The same exact story went for Pom Klementieff’s character, Mantis – who also posted an Instagram photo of her own stunt double wearing a creepy-looking character mask behind-the-scenes.
Silicone masks such as these are quite common in the world of Hollywood filmmaking.
Robert Downey Jr. got his own when filming the Iron Man movies, which Chris Hemsworth once used in an Instagram birthday greeting dedicated to the actor, successfully terrifying all of us.
Props to James Gunn, however, for always sticking to methods that produce the best results possible for his movies.
Though these character masks look as cool as they do eerie – and it seems a great amount of detail went into creating them – Gunn doesn’t seem to sway from his ideal vision for the movie, and we can’t deny that it’s been working well in his favour so far.
6 Chilling Out With James Gunn
The brilliant mind behind the Guardians of the Galaxy movies poses with two of the franchise’s most formidable villains, and we couldn’t help but crack a smile.
As intimidating as they are, Lee Pace and Karen Gillian are quite the opposites of their on-screen characters, thankfully.
Still, it’s entertaining to see such dangerous space crooks goofing around and having fun with their director behind-the-scenes.
That’s probably the happiest fans have ever seen Nebula – or Ronan, for that matter. Perhaps the three were celebrating their movie’s top spot at the box office in months following its debut, a ranking Gunn’s work absolutely deserved.
In fact, what possibly makes Guardians as great and entertaining as it is is the undeniable chemistry the actors have with one another, as well as with Gunn.
Pair that up with a cleverly written script chock-full of witty banter, and you’ve got yourself star-studded movie crew that’s ready to pull off the next big summer blockbuster.
There have been countless behind-the-scenes clips of the Guardians family hanging out and stories of all sorts of backstage shenanigans – from spontaneous dance sessions to humorous original songs improvised by Chris Pratt.
It’s bonding moments like these that make for an even more amazing filmmaking experience, with chemistry that definitely translates onto the big screen.
5 Ravager Besties
In this behind-the-scenes Instagram snap by Michael Rooker, we see the actor with his good friend and co-star, Steve Agee, having some good old off-screen bonding time during the second Guardians filming.
Steve Agee played the minor role of Gef in Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, a once-loyal member of the Yondu Ravager Clan.
Gef and his fellow clan members followed Yondu in their quest to capture the Guardians of the Galaxy, later betraying their leader alongside Taserface, who accused Yondu of cowardice for having spared Rocket’s life.
After acclaiming Taserface as his new leader, the Ravager assisted in the execution of those who remained loyal to Yondu – and went so far as to try and smash Baby Groot with a rock. (Even Taserface had enough decency to prevent this.)
His oafish presence in the movie didn’t last too long, as Gef was later quickly assassinated by Yondu’s trusty Yaka Arrow.
Their on-screen relationship is a pretty far cry from Rooker’s goofy Instagram post, though it’s entertaining to see the irony.
In reality, the two are pretty good friends, and have even worked together on another James Gunn movie, The Belko Experiment, alongside another fellow Guardians co-star and on-screen Ravager, Sean Gunn.
4 Zoe Saldana's Stunts
While the Guardians cast members were well-equipped with skilled stunt actors who performed the movie’s more dangerous feats, every once in a while, the actual actors preferred to attempt these antics themselves.
Zoe Saldana was definitely no exception to this, admitting in an interview with MTV that she wanted to have a close involvement with the “stunt-doing” of her character.
As she explained it, this was why they placed great priority on not only having her physical appearance for Gamora look on-comic-book-point, but comfortable enough to frenetically move in, as well.
In another interview with Collider, Saldana discussed her methods of working with the stunt team – explaining that for her stunt double to do the character justice, she often helps them tap into the actual persona of Gamora.
It may be all good and well for her double to have the grace and skill of landing, jumping, and handling large weapons, but Saldana also noted that it was important for them to also “carry a personality.”
However, the actress also mentioned her commitment in memorizing the choreography herself, as well as “studying” her stunt-person – and it was important they did the same towards Saldana, as well.
Saldana explained that since they are playing the exact same character – and not two separate personalities, despite the other carrying the more energetic aspect of the role – it was imperative that they be as in tune with one another as possible in order to nail that on-screen portrayal.
3 Phone And Nap Break
Long, frantic days of battling space villains and evading the grip of the vengeful Sovereign fleet is sure to wear our heroes out every once in a while.
Here, we see yet another behind-the-scenes look at a normal day on James Gunn’s set, in which our actors take a load off in-between their hectic takes.
It’s always amusing to see some of Marvel’s most foreboding warriors – namely a wanted, merciless warrior like Gamora – kick back, relax, and surf through a bit of Instagram or Facebook on their smartphone.
It’s even more amusing to see Ego the Living Planet – dressed up in full, complete character gear – treat himself to a chair nap after a hard day’s work of terrorizing the galaxy.
Of course, in true Internet fashion, Guardians fans were quick to take this photo and turn it into another viral Twitter meme.
An observant viewer hilariously pointed out that a crew member in the distance – standing just behind Kurt Russell – looked as though she was a tiny assistant settled onto the actor’s shoulder, tending to his hair as he slept.
The tweet received more than 33 thousand favourites and almost 11 thousand retweets for the cleverly pointed-out optical illusion. For those can’t unsee it, you’re welcome.
2 Gamora's Makeup
Prepping yourself up to look like a mean, green alien from outer space is no simple task.
In an interview with Allure, Guardians FX make-up designer, David White, dished out on all the little processes that went into creating Gamora’s look – from her facial bone structure to the eye detail.
When asked if any part of Gamora’s alien-like appearance was computer-generated, White confirmed that her look is “all Zoem” with a few facial prosthetics attached.
This included a new, silicone forehead and a few pieces applied to mold the character’s cheeks.
Her bright green skin was a combination of M.A.C. and Makeup Inks primers, topped with layers of green that were “airbrushed on” using various FX make-up products.
Her eyelids were then made up with M.A.C. eyeshadows and false lashes, followed by a green lipstick from Kryolan.
In April of 2017, the actress herself, Zoe Saldana, posted a time-lapsed video of her make-up process – applied with much care, precision, and hard work.
With the help of two make-up artists, the whole session took just over three hours, with Saldana patiently spending time on her smartphone as the extensive procedure takes place.
Removing the entire thing was apparently no easy task, either, as it took about 30 to 45 minutes to successfully take everything off.
Saldana even recalled having “things [come] out of [her] nose” and mouth from the intensely thorough make-up application!
1 Pre-CGI Filming
Oh, the magic of post-production. This gem of a behind-the-scenes shot truly does give us insight on the extensive power of CGI these days, seeing the actors film this infamous Guardians scene without the guise of their anthropomorphic creature counterparts.
In place of a living, giant tree and a hostile talking raccoon, this raw photo reveals a rather tall actor wrapped up head-to-toe in a blue chroma-key bodysuit, wearing a mold of Groot’s head atop his own, and director James Gunn’s younger brother, Sean Gunn, in place of Rocket Raccoon.
It also seems like Nathan Fillion’s cameo character – who Groot later brings to tears by shoving his root fingers right up his obnoxious inmate nose – had a stand-in actor himself, filming the scene on stilts.
To successfully generate the characters of Groot and Rocket through special effects, Gunn was able to have the fine work of two separate VFX Studios, Framestore and MPC, at play in the final production.
The talents of these studios did an excellent job at animating Gunn’s characters according to his vision – for Rocket, he thought it ideal to keep his movements low-key, rather than over-the-top cartoony.
With the input of MPC’s supervisor, Nicolas Aithadi, Groot’s design had a rather detailed focus on the eyes, ensuring that while he was a bizarre, walking and talking tree, his eyes gave him a touch of wisdom and humanity.
Their hard work and creativity sure paid off, winning them an Oscar nomination for Visual Effects on its debut.
What are your favorite behind-the-scenes Guardians photos? Let us know in the comments!