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In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, James Gunn’s band of world-saving misfits take on one last adventure together in an emotional send-off for the trilogy.
At the film’s Los Angeles premiere on Thursday, star Chris Pratt recalled advice from his director and friend Gunn on their first Marvel red carpet together in 2014.
“I remember the first premiere, some eight years ago, I was so nervous,” Pratt said. “James came up to me and said, ‘Just have fun. Tonight is our night to celebrate, have fun.’ He could tell I was uncomfortable. And that’s what I’m really doing. I’m embracing that. I’m having fun, I’m celebrating. And it is, it’s our night.”
He continued, “The work is pretty much done, and now we get to have that great moment of audience members laughing, crying and taking in the film… It’s a dream come true.”
Last year, Gunn made waves in the superhero world when he took a top job at Marvel rival DC Studios, alongside co-head of film and TV Peter Safran. As the director launches his creative efforts at DC, Vol. 3 marks his last Marvel project.
“I’ve learned so much,” Gunn reflected on his time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “My movie before Guardians cost $3 million to make. I’ve learned a lot about the process of storytelling. I’ve learned a lot about working within a connected universe. And I’ve learned a lot about working hard on films that maybe work well, or maybe don’t work so well, and trying to make them better in post-production.”
And before he finishes out his time at Marvel, Gunn isn’t afraid to admit that he’s recruiting his Guardians cast members for future projects at DC, as he gestured to Pom Klementieff, in particular, on the carpet.
“We’re gonna work together again,” agreed Klementieff, who plays Mantis in the franchise, about joining Gunn at DC. “We’ve been talking about it.”
Marvel newcomer Maria Bakalova, who first appeared in the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, makes her feature MCU debut as the Guardians’ superpowered space dog Cosmo. Like Klementieff, Bakalova said it wouldn’t take much for her to join a DC project. “If James Gunn asked me to do something professionally, I will do whatever it takes,” the Borat Subsequent Moviefilm actress confirmed. “I admire his work. I think he’s genius, and he’s honestly one of the greatest human beings on the planet.”
An emotional ending for the trilogy’s characters mirrors itself within the cast and crew, who are sad to see the franchise go but grateful for nearly a decade of time together. Karen Gillan, who plays Nebula, called the movies “quite a bonding experience,” while Sean Gunn, who plays Kraglin, said it’s “very bittersweet.”
“It’s always sad to have an ending of sorts,” Sean Gunn — who in addition to Kraglin, is also the motion reference actor for Rocket, voiced by Bradley Cooper — continued. “I love the people that I work with so much on these movies, and I love collaborating with them creatively. But that’s the fruits of the labor. As artists, we come together, and we collaborate to try to make something special, so being able to share that with an audience should always be an occasion for joy. It’s definitely mostly a joyful moment for me right now, but I’ll shed some tears later.”
“It was so emotional,” added Klementieff. “We were like, ‘Oh my God, this is the last time that we’ll maybe shoot together as the Guardians… It felt like something was ending in some way. It was beautiful to be able to have these feelings. In Hollywood, it’s not always the case.”
As for Pratt’s future in the MCU, the actor said the door is still open. “You can always see Star-Lord again on Disney+,” he noted. “You’re gonna always see Star-Lord. I’ll be dead and gone one day, and Star-Lord is still gonna be out there. Will you see him in new stories? I don’t know. I’m open to it. We’ll see.”
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 hits theaters May 5.
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