If I were a Marvel sales rep, I would get down on my knees every day and thank Thanos for the series of events that led to Baby Groot. Baby Groot might just be the pinnacle of Hollywood marketing; not only is his cute visage the perfect thing to slap on every action figure, lunch box, and stuffed animal from here to the moon, it’s also a character that sidesteps typical customer cynicism. If fans felt for one moment that Baby Groot was a thinly veiled attempt to sell them more junk, they would push back on James Gunn and Marvel with all their strength. But instead, we are treated to one of the baddest killing machines in the galaxy who happens to be totally adorable, too.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if art house cinema had the same weird toy leaks as blockbuster movies. These days, we’re more likely to see a character’s design leak thanks to a brand new action figure than a behind-the-scenes photo; what if the same thing happened in the world of independent cinema? What if we’d encountered Moonlight spoilers thanks to a new line of beach toys? Or if La La Land’s third act was spoiled due to a fully posable Ryan Gosling action figure? Come to think of it, I’d probably buy the heck out of a Moonlight bath toy. No shame there.
It’s funny how things work out. When Marvel was putting together the cast for Guardians of the Galaxy, they probably never dreamed that it would be former professional wrestler and MMA fighter Dave Bautista who would emerge as the film’s most likable character. And yet, with his deadpan line deliveries and awesome physicality, Bautista stood out among his live-action costars — I mean, nobody was going to beat Groot — as the funniest and most sympathetic of all the Guardians. Just like that, Bautista was a bonafide movie star and one of the biggest strengths of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Test screening metrics don’t always accurately predict the quality of a movie — Batman v. Superman reportedly got a standing ovation during its test screening, which wasn’t exactly indicative of audiences’ reactions once the movie premiered. But Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has accomplished an even bigger feat: a coveted perfect 100 score after testing audiences, the highest of any Marvel movie to date.
When Guardians of the Galaxy hit theaters, many fans were especially excited that the movie featured not one, but two fantastic female characters. But then something weird happened: Gamora, one of the main five Guardians, was oddly absent from the majority of toys found in stores, her likeness and figurine even scrubbed from sets and merchandise purportedly featuring the whole team. When Avengers: Age of Ultron premiered, it was the same story over again. Both of these instances prompted the hashtags #WheresGamora and #WheresBlackWidow from fans who were sick of the lack of female representation for kids and adults alike. Kevin Feige, we’re all happy to hear, says that that won’t happen again.
We’ve got still more coverage from the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 for you. Following our visit to the set, and our conversation with Kevin Feige, here’s the full transcript (lightly edited for length, and removing a few spoilers that Marvel still doesn’t want out in the world) of the press’ lengthy chat with Guardians writer/director James Gunn. Topics included why Thanos and his Infinity Stones won’t show up this time around, how the sequel is both more intimate and more massive in scope, and the mystery character who Gunn originally wrote into the Guardians 2 script treatment, only to cut him (and he did say it was a him) out because there were just two many heroes at that point.
If you’ve read our full Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 set visit, and you still want more details from behind the scenes of Marvel’s next big blockbuster, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s the nearly full conversation (which we’ve lightly edited for length and clarity) that Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige had with the assembled press on the set of Guardians 2. Below you’ll get more details on the film’s story (if you’re really worried about spoilers, you might want to skim that part), particularly how Yondu and Mantis fits into the new roster of the Guardians, along with some concrete details about the movie’s place in the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe. (No Thanos! No Infinity Stones!)
Movie sets. If you’ve watched La La Land or even Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, you know they’re supposed to be glamorous. Bright lights, brighter stars, exotic locales ... So, what am I doing here in an abandoned convention center outside Atlanta?
Welcome to the Guardians of the Galaxy Yondu. Hope you survive the experience!
We can all probably agree that the current news cycle is relentlessly…depressing — so how about we take a break from all of that with new photos from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2? Marvel has debuted five images from James Gunn’s upcoming sequel, featuring a few of your favorite a-holes along with their new pal, Mantis, played by Pom Klementieff.