Whether you are fan of little known Swedish rock band from the mid-1970s or a fan of little known cosmic Marvel superheroes group from the 1970s, this was the year you’ve been waiting for thanks to the release of James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy. What many perceived as a downright strange idea for a film turned out to be one of the best movies of the year, one of the highest grossing films of the year, and perhaps Marvel’s best offering to date. As a lifelong Marvel (and Guardians) fan, I was immediately smitten with the film, so naturally I leaped at the chance to attend a press day for the forthcoming home video release. While there, Disney gave us an early look at all of the bonus features — including a hilarious 16-bit video game-style interstitial — that will be on the Blu-ray. To whet your appetite, here’s a trailer for the Blu-ray:
While at the press day, I also had a chance to sit down with James Gunn to pick his brain about bringing Guardians of the Galaxy from concept to completion, what character he wanted to include but couldn’t, what he’d most like to explore in the Marvel Cosmic Universe, and much more.
Nerdist: Looking back at Guardians of the Galaxy, what was one of the biggest lessons you learned from that, that is maybe informing how you’re approaching the sequel?
James Gunn: There’s so many lessons I’ve learned, it’s just – I think the first thing is just I got very lucky that I made the movie that I wanted to make, and made it as honestly as I could. I’m just going to continue doing that. And there are production things that I learned that are probably a lot more boring, but for the most part I think I’m just going to continue going in the way that I did. Strangely, because I’m going the way I did, it doesn’t mean I’m doing the same movie. It’s going to be a different movie than Guardians 1. And Guardians 1 was perfect for what it is, but Guardians 2 has to be Guardians 2. It has to be something different.
N: Yeah, it’s not just going to be “Awesome Mix, Volume 2” . Although people do want to know what’s going to be on there.
JG: I love music. I have music as a big part of my movies. So music will still be a big part of the movie.
N: Gonna move up to an 8-track player?
JG: Yeah. He’ll have an 8-track player.
N: So obviously there’s been a massive fan response. One of my friends from back east sent me a picture of his Halloween costume, and he was slutty baby Groot.
N: Yeah. Definitely one of the more inventive…
JG: It sounds horrifying.
N: It’s horrifying in all the right ways.
JG: I’m glad I put that out into the world, to create a guy wearing a slutty baby Groot costume. One of my proudest achievements.
N: I’ve seen some sexy Rocket Raccoons as well.
JG: Oh, I’ve seen some sexy Rocket’s. I’ve got to admit – some of those aren’t so bad.
N: On the other end of that spectrum, what’s one of the more memorable or coolest fan interactions or moments or reactions you’ve had from the film?
JG: You know, I think that’s a hard question. There have been certain moments that have been really meaningful to me. I remember going to Thailand, and there was this woman in Bangkok that stood up and drew art. She was like, “You inspired me to draw this,” and she had this beautiful painting that she drew. She said, “You made me hope and believe with this film.”
I think for me, a lot of my best moments have been going to these places where film makers don’t normally travel, like Bangkok and Singapore, Mexico City, and being able to address the fans in those places, because they just don’t normally get to meet the film makers. It means so much more to them than most people in LA or New York or London, where it’s a little bit more common. People always go to those places.
N: So traveling to those places was something that was important to you, or do you think that’s more of a testament to the sort of global scale of a film like this, and Marvel movies in general?
JG: I think that it’s both. I think that the way the movies work globally – obviously it’s worked extremely well all over the world. In China, we’ve done extraordinarily well. So that’s really been a cool thing, because it really is – they aren’t Americans. They’re from another planet, so it’s nice to sort of represent that.
N: Citizens of the galaxy.
JG: Citizens of the galaxy – yeah.
N: In the Q&A, you mentioned an initial treatment you wrote, and it got me thinking about the development process of this film. Were these characters always the five you had in mind? There have been a ton of different members of Guardians over the years.
JG: Yeah, when I came, those were already the five. I actually talked about it to Kevin early on. I was like, “Could I add somebody?” To be completely frank, I was wondering about adding Bug.
JG: Couldn’t do it. Don’t own him.
N: Oh, really?
JG: Yeah, he’s owned by Micronauts or whatever. So I don’t think – yeah, we couldn’t do it. So anyway that was a question early on. They said I could add people, but I did – I added Yondu, basically – that was my addition.
N: That’s a very strong addition.
JG: Yeah, yeah. My brothers.
N: Solid brotherhood. What was the biggest challenge in realizing this project? You mentioned that you had a lot of creative freedom on it. What was the biggest challenge overall for bringing it from concept to completion?
JG: It’s boring – it’s simply the amount of time and man-hours and concentration to get it there, you know. It’s simply the work it took. I think from a story telling perspective, the most difficult thing was setting up that many characters and then telling a story about them. We had a lot of characters that people hadn’t met, and then I had to set them all up, and that was very – that was sort of a handicap when making this film. It’s great that people like the movie still, but that is a part of it. The exciting thing about making a sequel is not having to do that. There’ll be some new characters, but not with everybody.
N: With the current Guardians line-up, are there any characters you could see getting a spin-off of their own down the line? Is that still part of the plan at all?
JG: I think it’s possible. I think for sure that some of them could, and maybe some of the non-Guardians characters could. So we’ll have to see where it goes.
N: In a hypothetical world, is there one you would like to see? I’m trying to phrase it in such a way so it won’t be like “James Gunn says this is happening!”
JG: There’s a couple I’d like to see, yeah. There’s a couple.
N: What is the most exciting aspect of the Marvel cosmic universe that we haven’t yet explored that you’d like to see, in either Guardians 2 or some of the other cosmic movies coming out?
JG: I think there’s a lot of interesting stuff with the Collector that hasn’t even – we haven’t even begun to see. I think there’s a lot of interesting stuff with the Nova Corps, and their relationship – the Xandarians and the Kree . I think there’s a lot of interesting things about the Kree. I think there’s a lot of interesting things about Xandar. In this movie, Xandar is presented kind of as a good guy. I don’t really think it’s 100% that way, you know.
I don’t think this is 100%. We just had one outlandish guy with Ronan, who was a total dick. But I think the Kree Empire has a different way of looking at things, but I don’t think they’re evil, and I don’t think Xandarians are all good, by any means. So I’d like to explore that stuff a little bit.
N: Yeah. Anytime you have a massive intergalactic police force, you’re going to run into some issues.
JG: Yeah. They’re a militaristic state, because they’re run by somebody who’s also the head of the military, which is what the Nova Prime is. They aren’t separated into different…you know, whatever you call it.
N: One last question, and I’ll make it a fun one. It’s a bit of a non-sequitur. What would be inside your ideal burrito?
JG: My ideal burrito? Kobe beef, I guess.
Guardians of the Galaxy comes to Digital HD/Disney Movies Anywhere on November 18 and comes to Blu-ray and on-demand on December 9.
Featured image courtesy of DeviantART | Artist: PatrickBrown