What to Expect from Guardians of the Galaxy 2
August 8, 2014 By Trevor Richardson
In no small part, the success of Guardians of the Galaxy must be attributed to the clarity of vision going into the project. Not only did this vision guide the direction of the film, but it extended to a sequel before the first had ever been started. This fact, and Marvel’s consistent ability to top their first installments with such successes as Captain America: Winter Soldier and Thor 2: The Dark World, should give fans and moviegoers hope for the 2017 sequel.
In an interview with The Huffington Post, writer/director James Gunn said, “I had given thought to ‘Guardians 2’ before I even set pen to paper on ‘Guardians 1.’ This for me is hopefully the springboard for what could be not only ‘Guardians 2’ but a whole plethora of new Marvel characters who are in outer space and all sorts of interesting things can happen with those people and creatures. I would love to be involved with those characters down the line.”
In practical details, what might this mean for the next “Guardians” flick? We know Marvel has a pattern. Not just bigger and bolder for the follow-up in terms of visual spectacle, but also in terms of the scale of the problem, the stakes in play. In the first “Captain America,” for example, he is putting a stop to a quasi-Nazi takeover of the globe. Tough to top, if you think about it. But in the sequel, this takeover had actually happened in spite of his efforts and sacrifice. The world was corrupted, changed from within, transmuted like dark alchemy and he had to fight his sworn enemy and his own people as one force. And the battleground wasn’t Europe, but America. In short, the stakes were higher. The same goes for Thor 2, for the Iron Man movies, and will likely hold true for the Avengers sequel.
We can safely assume that Guardians will up the stakes by squaring off against Thanos and, more than likely, another Infinity Stone (or two or three). However, this is not the only trick in the Marvel playbook.
They are also extremely adept at using one story to enhance another. Crossovers like having Tony Stark’s father bestow Cap with his vibranium shield – or the fact that the shield had been repconned into being vibranium in the first place and, therefore, a subtle nod at a future Black Panther arrival since his people have a kingdom sitting on the only deposit of the stuff known to man – is one such example. Interestingly, the after-credits scene at the end of the first Avengers movie was not a prelude to the arrival of Ultron, the upcoming sequel’s baddie, but to Thanos, “Guardian’s” own version of Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars. From this, we can actually glean two important ideas.
First, given the conversation Thanos has in the Avengers cut-scene, we know Thanos will want to face off with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes sooner or later, possibly in Avengers 3. Second, we get to understand the genius of Marvel Studios and its team of writers and producers. One of the biggest time-sucks in a movie is establishing the background and motivations of its characters. Brilliantly, Marvel was able to use what was formerly a D-List storyline published decades ago to introduce its audience to one of the biggest villains in their Omnibus. They educated us about Thanos, his minions, his kingdom, his daughters, and the Infinity Stones, a prelude to his Infinity Gauntlet, and most of us barely noticed we were learning Marvel Lore because we were too busy just having a blast. When the time comes for The Avengers and Thanos to go head-to-head, moviegoers will already know, leaving more time for other action and fun to happen in other places.
But enough about that, what about Guardians 2? We know that at least two people on the team have a standing beef with Thanos: Drax and Gamora. They will likely push for taking the fight to the big purple guy and, because movies like to explain away the time lag, we’ll probably meet them in the middle of some frivolous but awesome mischief at the movie’s opening. Peter Quill will probably say something about how they aren’t ready or, “Sure, we all want to fight Thanos, but we also have to eat.” Then things will develop that put them right in the villain’s path once more.
Hopefully, given the personal relationship between Gamora and Thanos, we’ll get more from that character, not only because she was cool and smart, but also because there is really only so much butt-kicking we can watch your standard white guy dole out before you start hankering for the green people or blue people or tree people to take the helm. Gamora will get her day in court, maybe taking on Nebula along the way, and will probably deal Thanos some kind of crippling blow without actually killing him because, let’s face it, it’s Thanos. If Marvel is smart, after this inevitable defeat, however that works out (good luck), we’ll see him wanting to hurt Peter Quill at home, choosing to take his fleet to Earth. Enter Avengers 3.
See how well it all ties up? The Marvel cinematic universe is a cosmic web with all these little strings connecting in wonderful, often unexpected ways and that’s why we keep coming back year after year. But wait, there’s more!
Gunn says there are other exciting characters he wants to bring in. Who should we expect in the second installment of Guardians of the Galaxy? For those keeping score, “Nova Corps.” the slightly campy space police of Peter Quill’s side of the universe, have their own shiny, spangled lead man. In the comics, Nova, a kid from Earth named Richard Rider, is recruited to join Nova Corps prior to their total destruction by “The Annihilation Wave” (Spoilers? We’ll see. Perhaps this will be that big thing that makes our Guardians have to go after Thanos, ready or not?). As a result, Rider is imbued with all the powers of the entire corps and becomes “Nova: The Human Rocket,” a high-flying, super fast, durable, strong, protector of the universe compulsively clad in a helmet that looks like a golden bullet and earns him the occasional nickname of “Bullet Head” by the likes of Spider-Man. The appearance of Nova is only a possibility, but it is a sound one given the previous establishment of Xandaria and the people that want to blow it up.
There is also the aforementioned reappearance of Nebula, the blue-lady with a lot to prove and a serious vendetta against Gamora. This rivalry should be expected to take on a larger role if and when Gamora makes her play for Thanos. Nebula herself made a daring escape at the negligible cost of a cybernetic hand, which would easily be replaced, allowing her to fight, murder, and just generally bad guy it up another day.
Benicio Del Toro’s character, The Collector, showed a slightly off-putting interest in Groot. It is possible that he may make another appearance in an attempt to rebuild his damaged collection with the tree man as his centerpiece. This could even serve as the almost-guaranteed opening shenanigans prior to the start of Part 2’s major plot points.
There are other possible surprises. Rocket has an intense back story in which he was cybernetically and surgically altered in order to become the anthropomorphised raccoon with a bad attitude we all loved. In one story, Rocket is the science project of “The Stranger,” a cosmic being that likes to perform experiments and just generally muck up reality for “lesser beings.” He was the head honcho of a planet for the mentally ill called “Halfworld” where Rocket, and other physically altered animals, were the keepers of the planet’s patients, supposedly on the grounds that crazy people would be more pacified by fluffy, cute guards than normal human beings with weapons. Through this backstory, and a few images from The Collector’s hideout, we know there are other talking animals in this part of the galaxy and they may show up to make trouble in Guardians 2.
In short, the possibilities are endless, but a few things seem almost certain. The thin threads connecting Guardians and Avengers will tighten. We will get to see more Gamora and, most likely, more Nebula. Thanos will play a larger role. And, most importantly, Groot will continue to make all our days a little brighter.