Now that Joss Whedon has moved on from Marvel, James Gunn is the last “auteur” voice in the studio, and the one they will point to when they say that they let directors put an imprint on the studio’s films. While I still think Kevin Feige is the true guiding voice of the MCU and directors are allowed to move within strictly defined parameters, it’s telling that Gunn is the only director who is also a screenwriter for their upcoming films.
Now it appears he’s using that power to really make Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 stand apart. During a recent 50-minute Q&A with fans on Facebook [via CBM] (another way Gunn differs from other people in the Marvel family is that he doesn’t strictly obey their omerta), Gunn provided some new pieces of info about the film. He said that “there will be ‘at least’ one new face joining the ranks of the intergalactic A-holes,” but Peter Quill will remain the only Terran in the movie, so don’t expect Nova to show up.
More concerning, however, is that Gunn is focused primarily on his film rather than trying to tie it into Avengers: Infinity War:
“Everything’s going to be different in the ‘Infinity Wars.’ I’m a lot more concerned with ‘Vol. 2’ than I am with ‘Infinity Wars.’ The way the movie [’Vol. 2’] is structured and made – it really is a story unto itself. It’s not about leading up to anything else. It’s about the Guardians and their lives.”
This may be Gunn’s intent, but will he get to keep it this way? I’m sure Joss Whedon felt similarly before Avengers: Age of Ultron, but then there’s a big subplot where Thor has to leave everyone and go on a vision quest so he can inform the audience about the Infinity Stones. Everyone’s playing to a larger gameplan, but it looks like right now Gunn believes he can go off and do his own thing, which is admirable.
However, I was hoping he would play along a little bit, at least where Thanos is concerned. The character is awkwardly shoehorned into the first Guardians of the Galaxy, but at least he fits in the cosmic side of the MCU, and there are only so many films that can build up that character. The MCU is running out of time on Thanos, and if they want to build him up as a real villain, then it can’t be a last-minute thing. I’m not saying Gunn needs to make Thanos his central villain, but I think he could at least contribute to Vol. 2.
Then again, considering that the first Guardians makes Thanos look like an ineffective schmuck, perhaps Gunn should stick to a self-contained story.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 opens May 5, 2017. Ten months of filming begins in February in Atlanta.
You can watch the full interview with Gunn below.