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The Best Reveals From The Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 Quarantine Watch Party

Guardians of the Galaxy mastermind James Gunn is really making the best of social distancing. On Thursday, April 23 in coordination with ComicBook.com, the writer and director of the entire Guardians franchise participated in a quarantine watch party of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, offering live commentary throughout the evening on his personal Twitter account. Special guests joining in on the self-isolated fun included Star-Lord himself, Chris Pratt; Gunn's brother Sean, an actor who actually appears in the Guardians films; and the incredible Mantis, Pom Klementieff.

As if bringing fans together for a communal viewing experience wasn't enough, Gunn also took the opportunity to field questions and comments about Guardians Vol. 2 – and even dropped a tantalizing hint about the hotly anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 by teasing that he "can't wait for you all to see where [Mantis] goes from here." Other reveals included inside information about the process of shooting the second film in the trilogy, pop culture inspirations, and a few choice casting decisions that were written straight into the script.

It really was an epic bounty of intel for fans enjoying a viewing experience together apart. Here are some of the best tidbits we learned during the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 quarantine watch party.

Explaining some of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's creatures

At the beginning of the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 quarantine watch party, Gunn took two tweets to shed some additional light on two creatures that appear at the start of the film. Though diehard fans of the Marvel movie franchise may be all brushed-up on their creature knowledge, other fans were thankful Gunn offered a deeper explanation of what one creepy-crawly critter and one multi-tentacled monstrosity actually are.

The former is what's known as an Orloni — which Gunn noted Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) were betting on in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie. As Gunn explained in his tweet, Orlonis are total pests: "They are the cockroaches/rats of the Galaxy an[d] have proliferated everywhere."

The latter is the Abilisk, a power-sucking beast that appears on the planet Sovereign. Those inhabiting the planet called upon the Guardians to kill the Abilisk, and Gunn explained that the creature was probably confused as to why it was being ambushed: "I'm not sure it just doesn't want to play (and eat some nuclear material) and these maniacs are attacking it."

Certain characters from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 were written for specific actors

While most of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's diverse cast was put in place after the final script had been produced, Gunn shared on Twitter that there were a few notable exceptions to that rule. 

The scenery-chewing role of Yondu was earmarked for Michael Rooker from the very beginning. Fans will likely recognize Rooker from his memorable role on AMC's The Walking Dead as Daryl Dixon's troublesome brother Merle. Gunn also intended the role of Kraglin to go to his brother, Sean, who was already an established actor in his own right long before Guardians filmed. Perhaps most notably, Sean played fan-favorite character Kirk Gleason on Amy Sherman-Palladino's beloved dramedy Gilmore Girls

The family connections don't end there, though. Gunn revealed in another tweet that his young niece Grace had a brief cameo as "the little pink girl" in Guardians Vol. 2

The depth of the dynamic between Star-Lord and Gamora

In other tweets shared during the watch party, Gunn discussed in more detail the relationship between Chris Pratt's Peter Quill (a.k.a Star-Lord) and Zoe Saldana's Gamora. He shared that the two have a unique dynamic — one founded partially on the fact that they're "the only two sane Guardians." When a fan tweeted to Gunn that one Guardians Vol. 2 scene "shows how even if they aren't all the way there emotionally that they still know and understand each other so well since the end of Vol. 1," the writer-director agreed, adding, "They've become best friends in a lot of ways."

Gunn later revealed that Peter and Gamora's dispositions as seen on screen were actually initially flipped: "Originally in the script Quill was gung ho and Gamora was the cynic. Then I decided it would make more sense the other way around." 

This palpable energy that exists between the two Guardians is undeniable, and it wasn't long before one of the most important forces in Peter's life — his father, the living planet Ego (Kurt Russell), caught on to Peter's romantic feelings for Gamora. As Gunn noted in another tweet, Ego "figures it out quickly" what Peter feels for his green-skinned fellow Guardian.

James Gunn was totally starstruck working with Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone

While Gunn didn't know ahead of time that Hollywood legend Kurt Russell would eventually be cast to play the part of Peter Quill's planetary father Ego, he was tickled when it actually came to pass. "It was pretty overwhelming for me working with Kurt Russell," Gunn tweeted, also noting that he felt starstruck working with Sylvester Stallone, who played the high-ranking Ravager Stakar Ogord in the film. He went on to describe Russell and Stallone as "two of my heroes growing up." It must have been quite a trip for Gunn to have two hugely successful actors appear in his outrageous superhero flick.

Gunn later revealed that Russell was responsible for one of Guardians Vol. 2's most hilarious bloopers: During the initial meeting between Peter and Ego, Russell couldn't stop calling Star-Lord "Star Wars." It apparently took them several takes to get it right. Decades of Hollywood experience, be damned — he just couldn't get the malaprop out of his head.

What it was really like making Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Gunn and his Guardians company remained candid all throughout the night, opening up about what it was like to film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Some scenes were truly difficult to shoot. "I remember this fight between Quill and Gamora was exhausting to shoot over and over and over again," Gunn tweeted, noting that the scene was shot "over a couple days." 

Others were downright laborious. According Sean Gunn, who served as the stand-in performer for Rocket Raccoon in addition to portraying Kraglin, one day on set saw him swapping back and forth between the two characters in what was "easily the most tedious" scene for him to shoot. In the scene where Rocket quips that Groot "hates hats," the team had to "do a different setup for each Groot appearance" — and Sean "had to change back and forth between Kraglin and Rocket" since Kraglin, Rocket, and Yondu all appeared in the scene. Sean added with a bit of sass, "And of course spending the day with Rooker is always tedious."

Another tough sequence was the one that sees Ego explaining his partially inaccurate history. Gunn said in a tweet that it was "one of the hardest sequences in the movie I think simply because of all the exposition."

It wasn't all bad, of course, and Gunn shared that "Ravager scenes were the most fun to shoot in part because our background actors were so invested and awesome." The filmmaker also didn't receive much pushback from studio executives either, much to fans' surprise. After ComicBook.com's Brandon Davis questioned Gunn about whether he "had any trouble getting these Ravager executions into a Marvel movie," Gunn said that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 "was the easiest movie ever in terms of dealing with the studio." He added, "They gave me pretty much free reign and their notes were always well thought out."

The two egos of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

If it wasn't already clear, Gunn puts a lot of careful thought into his films, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was no exception. For as precisely as the filmmaker considers all the tiny details, he also looks at the big picture with an equally discerning eye. Gunn detailed in several tweets sent out during the watch party that he had a specific idea about what the Guardians sequel would be about as a whole: two different egos.

"The movie is also about Ego with a big E — the character — and a small e — the true obstacle for each of our characters," Gunn explained in one tweet. He followed up in another post with an even more poignant reveal: "Coming off of the success of Vol 1 I think a lot of us were battling with our egos in one way or another — so all of Vol 2 is autobiographical in that way."

Gunn also touched on the meaning behind the last shot of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and how one aspect of it connects to a larger, deeper notion: "To me, Rocket having tears in his eyes in the last shot, after seeing the arrow in the sky, is him seeing the possibility of God and something beyond for the first time in his life. Life is so much bigger than what he thought."

The music of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Groovy tunes and the galaxy-guarding heroes of the MCU go together like peanut butter and jelly. The first Guardians film featured a rockin' soundtrack — Blue Swede's "Hooked on a Feeling," Redbone's "Come and Get Your Love," and Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky" are just a few standouts — and the sequel movie did as well. Gunn tweeted during the Guardians Vol. 2 watch party on Thursday, April 23 that "all songs are chosen by me and written into the script" — meaning every single track fans hear throughout the movies are hand-picked James Gunn selections.

That approach also applies to tunes that don't make it into the movies. After a fan asked whether "Fox on the Run" by Sweet, heard in the first trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 but not in the actual film, was "ever meant to be in the movie," Gunn confirmed that he "chose it solely for the trailer."

Two songs heard in Guardians Vol. 2 that hold especially significant meaning are "Lake Shore Drive" by Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah and "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)" by Looking Glass — the first because it means a lot to Gunn himself and the second because it mirrors the emotion of part of the film.

"Lakeshore Drive was a huge song in St Louis and Chicago when I was a kid but not well known outside that small section of the mid west. So happy I could turn the rest of the world onto it," Gunn tweeted. He later shared, "I love Brandy but I've always found it such a dark, sad song. I wanted to have Ego manipulate Quill's ego through his love for pop culture."

In case anyone somehow missed it the first time around, the "Guardians Inferno" song that plays during the movie's credits was indeed written by Gunn (alongside Tyler Bates), and performed by David Hasselhoff. Gunn confirmed that he "sang backup" on the track.

The movies that influenced Guardians Vol. 2

Music is unquestionably a huge part of what makes the Guardians film franchise sparkle, but that doesn't mean Gunn ever shuts the door on any other forms of inspiration. The writer-director revealed during the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 quarantine watch party a number of movies that influenced the sequel flick.

After a fan told Gunn in a tweet that they always think of the "Wanna have a catch?" scene from Field of Dreams when watching the "'throwing the light of the planet around' scene" in Guardians Vol. 2, Gunn enthusiastically stated that he "thought of that while making it!!"

Another movie that shaped the second Guardians flick? 1980's Flash Gordon, the Mike Hodges-directed space opera about the titular earthling (Sam J. Jones) and his pals battling against an other-worldly villain named Emperor Ming the Merciless (Max von Sydow). Gunn said that Flash Gordon "was a big influence on the production design" of Guardians Vol. 2.

Alfred Hitchcock's 1959 thriller North by Northwest also influenced the film. As Gunn revealed, the battle between Gamora and her sister Nebula (Karen Gillan) was "directly based on the crop duster scene in North by Northwest."

The truth behind Ego's actions and Meredith Quill's death

As the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 quarantine watch party came to a close, one fan asked Gunn about the reveal that Ego killed Peter's mother, the beloved Meredith Quill (Laura Haddock), by giving her a lethal tumor, and why it happened the way it did. 

"Why the sudden I-killed-your-mom? He had Quill. Could have lied. Why not have Mantis explain the lie/deception?" questioned user @PBearATX. Gunn responded with a double-pronged explanation: "Two reasons: 1) Ego truly craves not being alone and Quill is the first bing he's met he thinks might be his equal and could help quell the loneliness. 2) He misjudges him. He thinks Quill will sacrifice his friends and his love just like Ego did his."

When another fan asked Gunn if he had the bombshell-drop that Ego caused Meredith's tumor "intentionally planned from the beginning," Gunn revealed, "Yes. If you remember at the beginning of Vol 1, Meredith tells Peter that his father is an angel of light."

Who Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is dedicated to

In a tweet that was part interesting piece of trivia and part emotional wallop, Gunn revealed that his mother and father are the people saying "What is it?" near the end of Guardians Vol. 2 – and then shared that he dedicated both Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 to his parents. His father, James F. Gunn, died two weeks prior to the beginning of filming of Gunn's upcoming movie The Suicide Squad; the filmmaker took the time during the watch party on April 23 to remind the world that Guardians Vol. 2 is dedicated in part to his departed dad. 

"My Dad passed away a few months ago," Gunn tweeted. "I was able to dedicate the two Guardians movies to my Mom & him at the premiere of this movie. This is a good time to remind everyone this movie is dedicated to him."