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Sean Gunn Interview: Avengers: Endgame

Sean Gunn both plays Kraglin and serves as Rocket's on-set reference in the MCU. We talk to the star about ending an era with Avengers: Endgame.

Sean Gunn as Kraglin in Guardians of the Galaxy 2

Plenty of actors have played multiple superhero characters, even in the same franchise: Mahershala Ali's announcement of Blade comes after he's already been Cottonmouth in Luke Cage. But only Sean Gunn has played two characters in the same movie. Most Marvel fans will recognize him as Kraglin, the Ravager inheritor to Yondu's arrow in Guardians of the Galaxy, but he also serves as the on-set reference for Rocket.

Gunn reprised both roles in Avengers: Endgame (although the former was pretty much cut from the release movie), and was recently on the film's I Love You 3000 celebration tour. With Endgame now available on digital, Blu-ray and DVD, Screen Rant caught up with the actor to discuss his role in the MCU.

How's the whole I Love You 3000 Tour going?

Oh, man. It's excellent. I understand this is a crowd around the block here. I’m really happy to be here; I love interfacing with fans. It's really one of my favorite things.

And it must be quite nice, now that both Infinity War and Endgame are out, that you can actually talk about these movies without fear of accidentally saying something; without having to worry about spoilers.

Oh, you got that right. I'm no longer living in fear of a poison blow dart around the corner, because someone may have overheard me spill information that I shouldn't have been spilling. It's good.

I mean, how was the secrecy element for you? Especially in Endgame, because Rocket’s in it so much, and you’re obviously there on set again in the final battle again as Kraglin. How was that for you, dealing with the amount of information that you had?

It was crazy, actually. Because I knew for a long time, exactly what was going to happen in those movies, more or less. I mean, we don’t get full scripts, but the rules are really great about letting the actors know what it is that they need to know. So, I had a pretty good sense of the plot of both movies for a long time. Now, fortunately, I'm solid. I don’t have loose lips; I know to talk in circles when I need to, and I know how to steer a fanboy in the wrong direction.

For you, how different is the experience of being on an Avengers project to a Guardians film? Obviously, you're much more focused on doing the Rocket stuff than the Kraglin stuff. But how is doing that different in this sort of environment?

You know, it's different only in the sense that all projects are different from one another based on who's producing and directing and making the movie. They're more the same than they are different. I mean, certainly the Russos have a different way of working than my brother does, but all directors are like that. Every artist has their own their own way of working. But all the movies have Kevin and Lou and Victoria as part of the whole process, kind of steering the ship. In that way, they're very similar, and it was very comfortable for me to be on set.

I don't know if you've seen, but you're becoming a bit of a social media star now that the Endgame home video release has happened. There's so much behind the scenes footage of you on the set of this movie, on your Rocket legs, walking around. People are absolutely loving it.

It’s hitting me now. I didn't realize it was such a big deal, but I keep getting asked about it, so maybe it’s bigger than I thought.

It's massive. Every day, it feels like you're popping up on my timeline in one scene or another. How does that feel to know that your performance as Rocket is obviously meant to be there to help the other actors. You're not meant to be the center of attention at all. And, all of a sudden, you are. How does that feel?

Yeah, it's a strange experience. Because you're right; I think of my work as Rocket being one piece of the puzzle. You know, it takes a whole lot of people to make the character; it's very much modern filmmaking. Rocket is a computer-generated character that a lot of people collaborate to make as realistic as possible. And I'm one of those people; it feels great. But it's not my face, it’s not my voice, and I don’t ever feel that I’m looking for recognition for it. I'm really there to kind of help tell the story and help make the movie. But I don't know, man. It's cool. I don't know what else to say about it.

Bradley Cooper does the voice of Rocket, and it's such a big part of giving that character so much of his innate emotion. How much do you guys work together? Do you discuss stuff, or is that something that doesn't happen? What was that situation like?

No, we don't work together all, actually. I think the work he does is brilliant. And it just so happens that the first movie that we made, I was there and did my thing to help the [visual] effects team and help the other actors. And then my understanding is that what he needed was there for him when he got in the booth to really make the character whole and bring as much life as possible into it. And that worked, so that's the process that we've continued over the course of the movies. I kind of do my thing, and I let the VFX team use what they need and try to give the other actors what they need. And then, hopefully, Bradley's got all the pieces of the puzzle, and then he puts the puzzle together.

It really is, as you say, modern filmmaking. It's this amazing, collaborative thing where no one person has ownership. It's a fully collaborative thing.

It really is. It really is, I agree.

Did you ever imagine you’d end up doing this thing that is just so forward-thinking, so creative? Did you ever imagine you’d fall into this sort of thing?

No. If anything has helped me in modern filmmaking, it’s the fact that I'm very old school when it comes to being an actor. I come from a tradition of people who are performers and stage actors and commercial actors and things like that. And you go where the work is. That's the old showbusiness thing for actor is it, whatever the work is, that’s what you pick up, and that's what you do. And it just so happens that in the modern age, that includes things like video games and participating in playing computer-generated characters and every new thing under the sun. So, I think that that helped me. Yeah, man, I go where the work is.

I have to ask about Kraglin, who was obviously also in Endgame as a really a small cameo and stuff. I wonder if you could talk a bit about the new fin that he has?

Yeah, all I can tell you is really what we shot. Obviously, some of the fragment footage was cut from the final battle for good reason. From a narrative standpoint, they didn't want to cut to the Battle of the Sky, which makes sense, but I all I can say is that Kraglin was wearing his fin. He had the Yaka arrow on him, but it was sheathed and remained sheathed. So, I think all of that qualifies as canon, and the rest of it is up to anyone to speculate on that one.

Next: Avengers: Endgame’s Final Battle Cut An Entire Aerial Sequence

Key Release Dates
  • Black Widow (2020) release date: May 01, 2020
  • Eternals (2020) release date: Nov 06, 2020
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) release date: Feb 12, 2021
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021) release date: May 07, 2021
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021
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