2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy proved to be one of the most enjoyable movies to come along in a long time where many moviegoers were concerned. It was a huge risk for Marvel Studios and Disney, with the titular team being largely unknown to casual audiences – and even being deemed dull and bland by those familiar with the comic book Guardians. A space-age adventure that followed a ragtag bunch of rascals through the stars, the film turned out to be a phenomenon, brimming with unique characters, great dialogue, emotional hammer blows, and a soundtrack of epic proportions.
So, with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on the way shortly – in international theaters from April 25th and on US screens from May 5th – anticipation is rightly at a fever pitch for the sequel to James Gunn’s beloved first film.
With Gunn himself back to direct (and having solely written the screenplay this time out), Guardians 2 is one of the most hotly anticipated films of 2017. But what can we expect when Star-Lord and Co. return to action?
Well, that’s timely of you to ask, for here at 15 things you need to know ahead of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s upcoming release.
Forget what we’ve seen play out in the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe since Guardians of the Galaxy hit screens back in 2014, for the action of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will actually pick up just mere months from the events of James Gunn’s first film.
Given this particular time scale and timeframe, the Guardians team will have had a few more months to exist as one and be around each other for far more than most of the team would likely prefer. As such, expect emotions to be high and tempers to be reaching boiling point as this ragtag bunch of rascals has to deal with being a 24/7 team.
Where things end up by the close of Guardians 2 remains to be seen, but we at least know that the opening of the film will be mere months after the first film concluded.
14 The Entire Team Is Back
Given how comic book movies can often use a revolving cast of characters – even at times recasting roles – there was some worry amongst fans as to just which members of the Guardians of the Galaxy crew will be returning for the sequel.
Fear not, for all of the team are back to cause chaos once more! That means Chris Pratt as Star-Lord, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer, Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon, and Vin Diesel lending his dulcet tones to Groot’s minimal vocabulary.
Of course, as ever with a follow-up, there are some new additions to the Guardians, and some are more surprising than others…
13 Nebula’s Change Of Heart
While the titular Guardians clearly stole the show in their debut picture, one of the other standouts of that first film was Karen Gillan’s Nebula. The daughter of Thanos, not to mention half-sister of Gamora, was all kinds of badass as she did battle with the Guardians at the behest of her daddy dearest.
In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, though, Nebula isn’t quite as nefarious and villainous as she was in the first movie.
You see, in Guardians 2 Nebula will actually be an uneasy ally of the Guardians crew, and we’ll also get some insight into the harsh parenting of Thanos and how the Mad Titan’s cruel ways have caused Nebula to rethink things. As director James Gunn has put it, this sequel will explore just what has caused the “emotional crack in her character”.
One of the hot new additions for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is Mantis, as played by Pom Klementieff.
Pulled directly from the Marvel comic book world, Mantis is a character who is brimming with empathetic powers, the ability to manipulate plants, and is generally a bit of a martial arts badass. Empathetic powers, though? That basically means she can read the mind of certain people – as shown in the movie’s trailer, when she reveals Peter Quill has a “sexual love” for Gamora.
Also, Mantis will become a fully-fledged member of the Guardians in this film, and actress Pom Klementieff has indicated that she’ll be a Guardians of the Galaxy mainstay moving forward after confirming Mantis for a role in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War.
11 No John C. Reilly Or Benicio Del Toro
James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy had so much awesome overflowing from it, with so many elements of the film just hitting the right spot. And two such elements were John C. Reilly as Rhomann Dey and Benicio Del Toro as the Collector.
Sadly, though, neither Reilly’s Dey or Del Toro’s Collector will be back for the second outing of the Guardians crew.
And with these absences, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 certainly has some voids that need to be filled. Let’s just hope that these pair of fan favourite characters are ultimately not missed when Guardians 2 hits the big screen.
10 A More Playful Groot
Poor Groot. By the time he’d finished saving the day at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy, he’d been shrunk down and become tiny Baby Groot. Despite his smaller stature, though, that doesn’t mean he won’t have any smaller of a role to play when Guardians 2 hits the silver screen. And at least he's got his legs back now, rather than the "planted" form he had at the end of the first film.
While Baby Groot will be a major presence in the upcoming sequel, he’ll also be a little different to the Groot we saw in the first movie. By different, I mean he’s going to be a hell of a lot more playful and director James Gunn has done whatever he can to make Baby Groot seem like, well, a baby – in the way that he’s constantly having to be watched, and how he has a far more mischievous side to him here.
Whether Baby Groot is turned back into regular Groot by the time Guardians 2 comes to a close is up in the air, although the smart money says that will indeed likely happen.
9 Love Is In The Air?
As Guardians of the Galaxy progressed, it became clear that Peter Quill and Gamora had more than a passing like for each other. Despite much of the bravado and arrogance on display from the pair – particularly from the ever-cocky Star-Lord – there was clearly a great affection there.
Fast forward to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and the brewing romance between the two is still present and even more prominent than it was in the first movie.
While Quill and Gamora may try to play their feelings towards each other down, the presence of Mantis will throw a spanner into the works there – for Mantis just so happens to be able to feel people’s emotions.
8 Sly Stallone’s Importance
Yes, Sylvester Stallone is indeed a part of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, although there’s a shroud of mystery over his exact role in the sequel.
Director James Gunn has talked up how Stallone’s role – while it’s a relatively small one – will be a vital and important one in the context of the film and its story.
On-set reports claim that Sly’s outfit for the movie is one that has more than a passing resemblance to the garb he donned as the titular character in 1995’s Judge Dredd. As such, that indicates he’ll be a part of the Nova Corps, although we’ll have to wait and see just how he ties in to the greater tale of Guardians 2.
7 Another Killer Soundtrack
One of the many cooler than cool things about 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy was its ridiculously good soundtrack. Amongst the tracks belting out through the movie were the likes of David Bowie’s Moonage Daydream, Blue Swede’s Hooked on a Feeling, Redbone’s Come and Get Your Love, The Jackson 5’s I Want You Back, and Marvin Gaye’s uber-smooth Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.
So, ahead of Guardians 2, expectations are high for another classic soundtrack to accompany the antics of Star-Lord and Co. And by the looks of it, James Gunn and his team aren’t going to disappoint.
While the official full track listing hasn’t been released yet, already confirmed for the Guardians 2 soundtrack are The Sweet’s Fox on the Run, George Harrison’s My Sweet Lord, Jay and the Americans' Come a Little Bit Closer, and Fleetwood Mac’s iconic The Chain.
That means, yes, the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 soundtrack will likely have a slot in your music collection over the next few months.
6 Peter Quill’s Daddy Issues
While Nebula will have some daddy issues of her own, so too will Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord.
One of the lasting questions to come out of Guardians of the Galaxy revolved around just who Peter Quill’s father really is. In the sequel, we’ll see Quill further exploring that topic as he looks for answers on his parentage. Speculation was rampant on the identity of Star-Lord’s pops by the time the first movie came to an end, and this follow-up will clear up that whole situation.
What makes this more poignant is that star Chris Pratt actually lost his own father while he was filming Jurassic World, and the actor has openly talked about how Guardians 2 and Quill’s search helped him to deal with his own grief.
One of the big themes of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is that of family. Not only is Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord on the hunt to find out who his father is, but the Guardians team themselves are operating as more of a family by the time we pick things up in this sequel.
With Peter Quill and Gamora serving as the de facto parents of the team, Drax, Rocket and Groot make up the rest of the ramshackle familial setup, plus we'll also get Yondu, Mantis and Nebula as part of the clan.
And much like most families, that means that arguments and fall outs will be on the agenda as well as the more sincere and heartfelt moments that the team will experience throughout Guardians 2.
4 Problems Amongst The Ravagers
For anyone that’s seen any of the promotional material for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, you’ll notice that Michael Rooker’s Yondu Udonta is positioned far more prominently than he was in the advertising for James Gunn’s 2014 movie.
The reason for this is because Yondu will be a bona fide member of the Guardians team in Guardians 2.
When we last saw Yondu, he was leading the Ravagers and was on a mission to collect Peter Quill’s head. In Guardians 2, though, Yondu will have a falling out with the Ravagers as that team begins to turn against their leader.
This will ultimately lead to Yondu joining Quill and the Guardians – which longtime comic book fans will be pleased to see, given how Yondu was a founding member of the Guardians of the Galaxy crew in the Marvel comic book world. Additionally, the character will also have a larger "fin" on his head time time out, as revealed at Comic Con (shown above).
3 Ego The Living Planet
When it comes to the coolest of cool cats, it doesn’t get any cooler than the iconic Kurt Russell.
Russell (and his simply magnificent chin!) finds himself having a soft spot in the hearts of many movie fans, and bringing him in for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is an absolutely brilliant move.
In Guardians 2, Russell is playing Ego the Living Planet – a character who basically does exactly as it says on the tin. When not an actual planet, Ego in his human form will be the one and only Kurt Russell.
The bigger news surrounding Ego, though, is that he will be revealed to be… *drum roll*… the father of Peter Quill! But you likely already knew that, for James Gunn and everyone involved in the movie has made this public knowledge over the last few months – which is a decision that has baffled some fans who were hoping for Quill’s daddy issues to be shrouded in mystery going into Guardians 2.
2 It Won’t Lead Into Avengers: Infinity War
Given how Thanos is tied to the Guardians of the Galaxy team and given how the Mad Titan is set to cause all kinds of carnage and destruction in Avengers: Infinity War, many have presumed that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will lead directly into Infinity War.
If you’re expecting that, prepare to be left disappointed.
While Guardians 2 may well move some of the chess places into place just a little, the sequel will not lead straight to the next gathering of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. The Guardians have previously been confirmed to appear in Avengers: Infinity War, but there’s still a little way to go before we get to the next Avengers picture. If anything, expect November’s Thor: Ragnarok to be the one to lay the table for what’s to come in Infinity War.
1 No Thanos
The Mad Titan’s certainly taking his time, isn’t he?
Having debuted in The Avengers as part of a post-credits stinger, Thanos was then kept out of the way until 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. But even then, while he did have a larger role than that brief Avengers appearance, he largely stayed in the background and dictated things from afar.
Of course, it’s been made well known that Thanos will finally step out of the darkness and cause all kinds of destruction in Avengers: Infinity War next year, but given his appearance in the last Guardians movie, many expect to see this most heinous of bad guys in Guardians 2. That isn’t the case, though, and director James Gunn has made a point of reiterating that those expecting to see Thanos in the sequel will be left disappointed.
As for who the villain actually is? That's one of the few things about the sequel that's being kept secret for now.
Sources: www.marvel.com, www.wikipedia.com, www.comicbook.com