James Gunn On “Guardians 2” Characters

One of the biggest problems with any sequel is that the automatic assumption on the filmmaker’s part is that “bigger means better”. This translates to follow-ups that add a bunch more scale and major epic scenes but in the process often become more bloated or less interesting.

The best approach others have suggested is to go deeper rather than bigger, a better exploration of the characters you do have rather than having to introduce a whole batch of new ones. That seems to be the way that filmmaker James Gunn plans to go with the upcoming “Guardians of the Galaxy” sequel.

In the wake of him finishing his script’s first draft this week, Gunn held a live Q&A session on Periscope where he spoke a bit about his approach to the story:

“It’s a very moving script. Listen, one of the main things with Guardians of the Galaxy is not to add a bunch of characters, not to make it bigger in that way but to go deeper with the characters. And yeah, there’s going to be the big things we’ve come to expect from those big battles and action sequences and things like that, big colorful locations and beautiful set pieces, and wonderful designs by visual effects artists and all of us, but what really matters to me is going deeper into the characters and getting to know them more emotionally. And I think we have a story that’s really, truly true for everyone and it just happens to be about aliens.”

There’s been speculation galore about what new characters from Marvel Comics might make it to the screen, but in a surprising reveal Gunn says the sequel actually has less characters than the first film even with one new major introduction:

“People ask for so many characters to be in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and they ask for so many actors who they want to be in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 but we actually have less characters in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 than we have in Guardians of the Galaxy 1 because everything is just getting too sprawling and too crazy for me in these superhero comic book movies. And also in superhero comics in general. There’s just too many characters so you can’t concentrate on one and really get to know that character, and I really want to get to know the characters that we know better, and yeah, we will be introducing a new character.”

It turns out his earlier scriptment for the film included another major character, but that person’s inclusion was ultimately cut to avoid the story getting too busy:

“I did not get any help with the first draft of Guardians of the Galaxy 2 other than I wrote a scriptment which I’ve been working on for nine months, and I wrote that very, very in-depth scriptment which is a 70-page combination of a script and a treatment and it goes through every beat of the movie, everything, and I’ve been going through that and showing that to [Marvel Studios Boss] Kevin [Feige] and getting feedback and seeing what worked and what didn’t, what characters work, what didn’t. I mean, people will be disappointed – at some point I’ll release – but I had another big character in my original draft and it was just getting too busy. I took that character out. And it’s a character I like a lot and hope to work with in the future but I just didn’t have room for that person, that character.”

The “Guardians of the Galaxy” sequel is currently targeting a 2017 release.