GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY’s James Gunn Says Rocket Raccoon Is “Not About Putting Bugs Bunny in the Middle of THE AVENGERS”

     July 22, 2013


One of the best panels I saw in Hall H at Comic-Con this year wasn’t even listed on the official schedule.  While Marvel definitely surprised fans with the unveiling of the title for The Avengers 2, the studio also drew great applause when the entire cast of Guardians of the Galaxy came out and introduced the first footage from the James Gunn-directed pic.  Though they’ve only been shooting for two weeks, the footage looked great and Gunn’s trademark humor brought the house down.  Guardians is a bit of a gamble for Marvel because it’s not a well-known property and the source material is, let’s face it, a little strange, but the footage definitely made it seem like this is the perfect marriage of director and material.

Immediately after the panel, Gunn took some time to talk a bit about Guardians now that filming is underway.  He discussed his love for Rocket Raccoon and what his take on the character entails, the unlikely casting of Chris Pratt as the protagonist, whether we’ll see the origins of the entire Guardians gang in the film, and how the pic fits into the larger Marvel universe.  Hit the jump to read on.

guardians-of-the-galaxy-rocket-raccoon-concept-artA feature film adaptation of Guardians of the Galaxy provides a number of challenges for director James Gunn, but one of the biggest is how to handle a main character that is a talking, gun-toting raccoon.  Gunn has long maintained that Rocket is his absolute favorite character of the bunch, and in speaking with MTV he talked a bit about how he views the character and how he’s portrayed in the film:

“It’s really about taking, ‘Okay there’s a talking raccoon,’ well how does that exist?  And you really take it backwards from there and say, ‘Well how would that exist?’  It’s not about creating Bugs Bunny in the middle of The Avengers, it’s about creating a character that’s a little animal that was taken and experimented on and pulled apart and put back together again and implanted with cybernetics, and he’s half-machine and half-raccoon and he’s a little gnarled, miserable, pretty angry creature because there’s nothing else like him and it’s not easy to be.”

chris-pratt-guardians-of-the-galaxyWe only saw brief footage of Rocket in action at Comic-Con and the voice casting has still yet to be announced, but he definitely looks like an angry little fella.  That being said, the highlight of the footage was seeing Chris Pratt’s fantastic work as Star-Lord.  In my recap of the panel, I described Pratt’s take on the character as a mix between a Wild West outlaw and a juvenile delinquent, and his sense of humor seems perfectly in tune with Peter Quill.  Gunn was asked about the surprising casting choice, and he discussed why Pratt was right for the role:

“Chris [Pratt] is amazing.  We tested a lot, a lot of actors looking for the right Star-Lord because I knew that we were starting this new wing of Marvel and we really needed to do with this what they did with Iron Man.  So I needed somebody who I could picture being onscreen with Robert Downey Jr. and giving back as good as he gets, and we watched one guy after another, plenty of great actors, but nobody was quite Peter Quill.  I needed somebody to come in and inhabit the role and go beyond what was on the page, although I felt good what was on the page.  Chris came in and I knew within 30 seconds he was the guy.”

guardians-of-the-galaxy-cast-comic-conGunn went on to confirm that Star-Lord is the main protagonists of the film, but since Guardians features a cast of entirely new characters, Gunn was asked whether we’ll be getting origins stories for all of the Guardians or if it will be limited to Quill:

“There’s limitations; it really is more a story about how the group came together than seeing how each of the characters—we hear a little about where some of the characters came from, we know what their issues are, but we don’t see all the little bits and pieces of where the characters came from.”

Finally, Guardians obviously fits into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe somehow, and while most assumed that the appearance of Thanos in Guardians would be a precursor to the villain’s main role in The Avengers 2, the announcement of Ultron as the antagonist in the Avengers sequel throws some of that into question.  MTV asked Gunn how his film fits into the Marvel universe as a whole:

“We’re definitely connected by Thanos and this is the first movie of the Marvel Cosmic Universe, so we’re connected to the rest of the universe. and how that plays out is gonna be seen as the future comes along.”

You can watch the full interview with Gunn below, and click here to catch up on all of our extensive Comic-Con coverage thus far.


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