You want to know the key to getting top-secret information on a Marvel set visit? When someone wonders if they should tell you something during an interview, you just tell them, ‘Oh, it’s okay. Kevin Feige already spoke about it.’ Okay, maybe it’s not that easy as the cast and crew of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 were very good at dishing out concrete bits of information without ever delving into spoilers, but on the film’s Atlanta set, you do most certainly get the sense that Feige’s word is the word, and he had a good deal to share during our on-set interview with him back in April 2016.
Guardians of the Galaxy may be known for being fun and outrageous, but when you look beyond the crazy characters, action set pieces and visual effects, it’s a very emotional tale about a bunch of unlikely heroes forming a family. During our on-set chat, Feige offered updates on Groot’s growth cycle, how Kurt Russell fits into the sequel story, what The Ravagers are up to, how Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 paves the way towards Avengers: Infinity War and so much more. You can get all the details in the full interview below.
Question: Why hasn’t Groot gotten bigger?
KEVIN FEIGE: Well, I don’t know if you’re aware, but the growth cycle of a Groot is slower. This movie takes place relatively soon after the events of the last film. Just a few months. So he’s probably just grown out of that pot and stepped out and is now this size. But as James I’m sure will tell you, he’s just about as dumb as big Groot was. He’s not really a baby. As James says in that sizzle, he gets mad at people. And then of course the fun thing is, as you saw briefly in there, whereas Groot was Rocket’s protector in the first movie, Rocket is Groot’s protector. And they sort of all are in this movie, which was something we had talked about and planned on, and was one of those things when we’re making a first film, and we’re just concentrating on making that film as great as it can be, there are always little things that we say, ‘Boy, but if we get to make another one, it’d be really fun.’ And from the moment we were shooting and animating Rocket on Groot’s shoulder, we were saying, ‘Well, in the next one, you know, we’ll reverse it. In the next one, the other way around!’ [Laughs] ‘Wouldn’t that be cool?’ And that’s what we’re doing.
Are you doing anything different with Groot’s voice? Vin Diesel has a deep, gravelly voice.
FEIGE: He will sound different, yeah. But he’ll still say the same thing.
What happened between the time where the last film ends and this film starts?
FEIGE: I think they’re giving it a shot at being more organized heroes. They are available for do-gooding, so to speak. It doesn’t always go well, but they try that. And when we first meet them in the beginning of the movie, they’re on a place called Sovereign where they’ve been asked to help with this giant, sort of inter-dimensional beast that comes out and eats their batteries, their power source, and wreaks havoc on their planet. And the Guardians have been asked to come in and dispatch with that thing, and that’s how our film starts. Their legend and their mythology has grown and spread throughout the universe because they defeated Ronan and because they were able to hold – Peter in particular was able to hold an infinity stone and not die. Which also has spread his legend.
This inter-dimensional beast, is that a nod to the Cancerverse in the modern Guardians?
FEIGE: Not specifically. We don’t talk about that. It’s more just a fun beast for them to attack in the opening title sequence.
I assume that Peter Quill’s legend growing only makes Peter Quill more of an asshole.
FEIGE: It doesn’t take much to make Peter Quill more of an asshole. Yes, there is a pompousness. James I’m sure will talk about it more eloquently when you see him today, but he said they’ve all grown a bit more pompous. You know, the garage band that then gets a multi-platinum album and have egos to go along with that is certainly the case. Which is true for all of them frankly, not Drax as much, but all of them, particularly Quill.
Is this team still getting to know one another?
FEIGE: I mean, they are of course, but they are really and truly a family. And you’ll hear James talk about that a lot. And one of the things I think makes James so special as a writer-director, and you saw it in the first movie, and it’s even more so in this film is, for as fun as it is, for as outrageous as it is, with characters named Taserface and Baby Groot, you know, killing people, throwing them around, it is very, very emotional and not cynical in the least. It is very, very truthful, and sort of unabashedly so in its emotions. And it’s a very special combination that I think James is perfect for. That’s sort of the crux of this whole movie.
How does Kurt Russell factor in?
FEIGE: Kurt Russell is a mysterious figure. An adventurer from far parts of the galaxy who has heard the legend that had spread of the Guardians as I mentioned, and has come to meet them and check them out for the first time.
So what’s the main drive? The sizzle made it seem like it was Quill and his father, and also some of The Ravagers.
FEIGE: It’s a combination. The Ravagers are a big part of this movie, much more so than even the first film. We did a costume test for The Ravagers. You always do make-up and costume tests on every movie, and usually people come in and they stand around. Chris Pratt will put on his outfit and stand there and turn around and point at his butt and you get the gist of what the costume’s gonna be. With The Ravagers, we had them all in full costume, full make-up, and then James put them all together and basically just said, ‘Act like The Ravagers,’ and I’m telling you, I could’ve watched that footage for three hours. It was hilarious. And it was amazing seeing these guys. Some of the same actors from the first movie, a lot of new actors playing new characters and new Ravagers, and there’s something just really sort of chemically interesting that happens when you put them all together. There is a story that you saw bits of in the sizzle that Yondu has gotten soft, that Yondu has a soft spot for Quill. He clearly at the end of the first movie opens the Orb and sees that the Infinity Stone is not in there, that a little Troll doll is in there, and he smiles. It’s a very sweet moment in the first movie. I think it shows that he cares about Quill maybe more than he even admits, but there are other Ravagers who think that was shitty and think they should have hunted him down and killed him right on the spot. There is an incident in the first act of this movie where they’ve been hired to get him and yet again, Yondu’s like, ‘We’re not gonna take down the Guardians of the Galaxy. We’d be crazy to do that. We’d endanger ourselves. We’d get the entire Nova Corps, everybody would come after us if we did that.’ And Taserface and some others are like, ‘Bullshit. You’re just doing that because you’re soft on Quill,’ and it leads to a mutiny. And in that we have a sort of a subplot of these mutinous Ravagers, and Yondu and Rocket and Groot sort of teaming up and escaping from that munity to go help Quill. You may have noticed, without much ceremony in the sizzle, but we see it with great ceremony in the movie, he gets a much bigger fin on the top of his head, which was James’ sort of nod of the head to that bigger fin he had in the comics. And also it’s because he looks frickin’ awesome in that bigger fin.