2:53pm PT by Aaron Couch
'Guardians of the Galaxy 2': James Gunn Reveals Spoilers in Wide-Ranging Q&A
James Gunn spilled secrets from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Sunday — opening up about an alternate ending, its midcredit scenes and the reshoot that led to one of Chris Pratt's finest days on set.
The Q&A, which was delivered via a Facebook Live stream, comes as the writer-director's film is enjoying its second week at No. 1 at the domestic box office, having earned north of $630.5 million worldwide.
Here are some of the highlights, with major spoilers ahead:
Live Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 Spoiler Inclusive Q&A with writer/director James Gunn now! Ask a question! Shoot!Posted by James Gunn on Sunday, May 14, 2017
Gunn wrote treatments that did not include Yondu's death.
The loss of Michael Rooker's Yondu was a creative choice Gunn struggled to make, with the director saying he almost didn't want to do Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, because he can't imagine making a movie without his close friend and frequent collaborator.
"It was the hardest choice I've ever had to make from a storytelling perspective to have Yondu die," said Gunn. "I wrote a bunch of treatment's where Yondu did not die. There were other endings. He was saved at the last minute after taking the sacrificial stance … and I realized I was being dishonest. That was not what this story was."
And no, Yondu will not come back to life.
Though deaths tend not to stick in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Yondu really is gone.
"Yondu is dead. I think it's very important that in these movies, there are stakes within the films. I am not into this old-school way of doing things, where you kill characters and you bring them back and then you kill them again and then you bring them back and their deaths mean nothing," said Gunn. "Yondu is dead. It's sad. There could be a prequel Yondu film or a flashback or something like that. Yondu could exist in the past, but he's not going to come back to life, so long as I am involved with Marvel. It's just not going to happen."
That isn't teen Groot at the end.
A midcredits scene shows off a more grown-up Groot in his room on the Guardians' ship — but Gunn clarified that it's not "teen Groot," as fans have been calling him, and the filmmaker also confirmed that Peter Quill can indeed understand Groot's speech by the end of this movie.
"That's actually adolescent Groot. I would call him tween Groot. We call him adolescent Groot, he's not quite teen Groot yet," said Gunn.
He also said that baby Groot in Vol. 2 isn't the same character from the first Guardians movie. He doesn't have Groot's memories and he even has different personality traits. So don't expect Vol. 3's Groot to be the same character from the 2014 original film.
"It's not just him becoming Groot from the first movie. He's becoming his own Groot," said Gunn.
Nathan Fillion didn't actually shoot a cameo for the movie.
Fans were buzzing about a deleted cameo after a photo of Nathan Fillion as comic book character Wonder Man made the rounds online. But it turns out, it wasn't quite the case.
"There is no Nathan Fillion cameo and there never was a Nathan Fillion cameo," said Gunn.
In the comics, Simon Wiliams (aka Wonder Man) was an actor in addition to a superhero, and in a scene in which Ego's essence (Kurt Russell) is destroying St. Charles, Mo., there was going to be a shot of a movie theater holding a Simon Williams film festival.
There would have been posters from Simon Williams' movies, including Stark, a film about the billionaire playboy/superhero.
"In those posters, and only in those posters, Nathan Fillion was Simon Williams," said Gunn.
Gunn cut a scene he loved, but it will likely be on the Blu-ray.
Gunn says not many scenes were cut from the film, but there was one that just didn't further the plot enough to warrant being in the movie. The scene was to take place when the Guardians first arrive on Ego's planet, and he shows them a statue he's made in preparation for their arrival. The statue is of the Guardians, but a few things about the super team got lost in translation.
"It's a statue that looks almost like a Frank Frazetta painting, with a heroic Star-Lord sitting there looking really cool and great … but the rest of the Guardians look pretty terrible," said Gunn. "So Gamora is a buxom woman holding onto his leg, looking up at him lovingly."
Meanwhile, Drax and Rocket have sort of been morphed into one creature.
"There's a little Drax standing on [Peter's] shoulder with a raccoon tail, and Groot looks like a large brussels sprout. And that's what they see, and Peter Quill thinks it's the greatest statue and everyone else is not really impressed by it," said Gunn.
That final post-credits scene is not an Infinity War tease.
"Adam Warlock will not be in Infinity War … he will have a future in the MCU. But will it be in Infinity War? It will not," said Gunn of that last-minute name drop. (Stay tuned for Vol. 3.)
Why did Ego admit to Peter he killed Meredith Quill?
In the film's third act, Ego reveals to Peter that he is the reason Peter's mom, Meredith (Laura Haddock), died; Ego gave her the cancer that led to her death. Does that perhaps seem short-sighted on Ego's part, given that it ultimately leads to the son turning on the father?
"On some level he wants to have a connection with his son. He thinks in that moment, Peter understands what it takes to be a conqueror," said Gunn.
And Gunn shared a depressing thought viewers may not have considered: Gunn noted that Ego likely gave cancer to all of the many mothers of his children across the galaxy as a way of covering his tracks.
Will Mantis and Drax find romance?
"No. There is absolutely no romance between Mantis and Drax. They are BFFs. There is absolutely nothing romantic there," said Gunn. "I think we make that profoundly clear in the film. … He's not attracted to her. The truth is, Drax is attracted to very heavyset women. That is what he likes, and he doesn't like Mantis."
Why not have Peter and Gamora get together?
"The truth is, because that's not who Gamora is. She's not someone who is going to give in to the moment of a lustful, passionate moment." said Gunn. "She loves Peter Quill, that's very obvious at the end of the movie, and she admits that to him. And their love is based on something much deeper than sex. It's based on a profound friendship between the two of them. They are the heads of this family in a lot of ways."
There was one small flub with the Stan Lee cameo.
Guardians 2 included one of Stan Lee's most buzzworthy cameos, with the revelation that the legendary comic book creator was either a Watcher (the race of comic book aliens who chronicle notable events, but don't interfere in them) or someone working for the Watchers. The cameo suggested that all of Lee's many Marvel cameos were connected, with him playing different characters in the line of duty. The only problem? Lee mentions his cameo as a FedEx guy from Captain America: Civil War, which chronologically takes place after Guardians 2.
"I screwed up, I wasn't thinking … but probably Stan Lee used the guise of a FedEx guy more than one time. It's a mistake, but it can be easily explained away," said Gunn.
That day on set, Gunn would shout out suggestions for Lee to use, naming various cameos from other films — including his turn in Fox's Deadpool as a strip club DJ. Gunn noted that had that been in the film, it would've hinted at an interesting (if tangential) connection between Fox's X-Men universe and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Gunn had Pratt reshoot Yondu's funeral.
Guardians 2 cinematographer Henry Braham previously told Heat Vision that after shooting Yondu's funeral, Gunn and Pratt came to him to say they had a new idea and would need to reshoot Pratt's eulogy speech. Gunn elaborated on that process, saying Pratt did a great job in the initial shoot, but the director went home that night and realized it wasn't quite right.
"I realized he wasn't ravaged enough," said Gunn, who shot the speech like a normal eulogy, which might take place some time after a loved one's death, not hours after the death — a time when things would be even more raw.
"You know what they are like at those funerals, they keep things together and they start to crack. … But I realized his father had just died out in space, probably a couple of hours ago … so he's destroyed," said Gunn. "I told Chris I wanted to shoot the scene again, which is a terrible conversation to have, because he worked really hard on the scene. It was emotionally wearing for him to do it, and it was a lot of dialogue. … So the next day I went back, or two days later, and I reshot the whole speech with Chris, and he did some of the best acting, if not the best acting I've seen him do on film, so I'm really happy I did that."
Gunn also revealed that Rooker fell asleep multiple times while filming the emotional scene.
"I have some very funny video of Chris giving his speech and crying and in the middle of that, Rooker falling asleep. He didn't fall asleep once. He feel asleep 10 times," said Gunn.