James Gunn Unveils Guardians of the Galaxy’s Special Features

Yesterday, the press assembled on the Disney Studios lot for a Guardians of the Galaxy event introduced by the film’s director, James Gunn.

Gunn didn’t have a lot to say as he set up the bonus clips, but he eventually noted that the charming 8-bit rendition of the Guardians of the Galaxy (that dropped earlier this week) wasn’t actually a playable game on the DVD or Blu-ray. Instead, the 8-bit segments served as interstitials for a long featurette entitled “Guide to the Galaxy With Gunn.” Essentially, the animated 8-bit clips drop Gunn into several scenes from the movie as he introduces himself to the characters… who have no idea who he is.

In the feature, Gunn explains that he wrote a book about the look of Guardians of the Galaxy that set the tone for the film’s visuals. The feature also explored the extensive makeup work used on Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista, the background info on several of the alien races within the movie, the Collector’s motivations, the appearance of the Celestials and planning the film’s final act.

The segment concluded with an appearance by an 8-bit Thanos that was followed by a Dance Dance Revolution spoof with Dancing Baby Groot.

Rocket and Groot were the subjects of the “Intergalactic Visual Effects” featurette, as Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel shared their thoughts about their respective characters and the massive amount of work it took to bring those characters alive onscreen, courtesy of the visual effects team. The spot even mentions Oreo, the real raccoon that was used to help the team create Rocket’s movements and behavior.

The gag reel was surprisingly short. There were just a few bloopers, including one with Rocket and Groot that was fully rendered in CGi. The deleted scenes were also fairly short. One of the scenes dealt with an unusual wardrobe malfunction of John C. Reilly’s Rhomann Dey, while another was an extended version of Rocket’s “fake laugh” from the third act. Two of the juicier deleted scenes included a different introduction for Rocket and Groot and some “sisterly affection” between Gamora and Nebula… shortly before Gamora executes her plan to betray Ronan.

Another really hilarious deleted scene involved the prison guard who stole Star-Lord’s tape player, as he danced to “Magic” by Pilot. Surprisingly, the scene from the trailer in which Star-Lord and Gamora check each other out while changing was not among the deleted scenes.

The final bonus feature was an advance look at Avengers: Age of Ultron, which included a tease of the Hulk vs. Hulkbuster Iron Man battle and the expanded scope of the film’s storyline.

Following the screening of the special features, Gunn once again took the stage for a Q&A session.

When asked if the success of Guardians of the Galaxy had exceeded his wildest expectations, Gunn joked “it didn’t exceed my wildest expectations. My wildest expectations are yet to be beat!” He went on to describe how he slowly realized just how successful the film was on its opening weekend as it continued to surpass the box office tracking numbers.

Gunn said that he wasn’t sure how or if the success of the film had changed Marvel’s cinematic plans, but he did say that “the Guardians aren’t backseat to the Avengers. Captain America, Thor, those other movies, they really do support the Avengers. And Guardians are their own thing.” He added that the success of the movie changed how people saw Guardians, but he still sees it as the same thing.

Gunn went on to say that he doesn’t view “Guardians” as “weird.” Instead, he sees it as a more easily accessible film than some of Marvel’s other movies. Gunn added that he doesn’t want to simply repeat the beats of the first “Guardians” movie in the sequel. Instead he wants to explore the characters on a more intimate level and dive into some of their backstories as well.

Regarding the deleted scenes, Gunn noted that the alternate Rocket and Groot introduction was one of the last scenes to go, but the Nebula and Gamora “sisterly love” scene was cut because it slowed down the movie in the first act.

Gunn also related that almost every time he gives an interview that hints at the future of the franchise, his remarks get embellished along the way. “There was a big rash of ‘James Gunn is thinking of ideas for Guardians of the Galaxy 3!’ I don’t think I really said that. I think what I said was I have ideas for Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and I have ideas for beyond that. That doesn’t necessarily mean Guardians of the Galaxy 3. Because there’s a lot of characters in this movie that can go in a lot of different directions. Some of the characters I’m most interested in aren’t necessarily Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Despite Marvel’s confirmation that Thanos will be the villain in the two part Avengers: Infinity War films, Gunn wouldn’t say if the Guardians will show up in those movies. But he did express his surprise for the leeway that he received from Marvel Studios and from Kevin Feige in particular. He also related the story of how he included a picture of the Sony Walkman on his first treatment of the film and recalled that Feige loved it.

As for the “Guardians” soundtrack, Gunn said that he personally selected the songs and he never had to fight for the songs because people loved the music. The test audiences were also very receptive to the songs in early screenings.

One of the recurring fan theories is that the Collector’s collection includes Adam Warlock’s cocoon. Gunn sheepishly admitted that it hadn’t been his intention, but he seemed to leave open the possibility of revisiting it.

While answering a question about the Howard the Duck cameo, Gunn revealed that the original ending of the film included a montage that featured The Collector (Benicio Del Toro), Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Grandpa Quill (Gregg Henry). The Elder Quill’s scene would have implied that he witnessed Peter Quill’s abduction and awaited his return, while Nebula’s scene would have just shown how pissed off she was over the turn of events. It’s worth noting that neither of those scenes are on the special features.

The Collector’s montage scene was pretty close to the way it was shown in the finished film. But the Dancing Baby Groot scene was moved from the after-credits slot to the very end of the movie, which freed up a scene at the end of the credits. The decision was then made to shift The Collector’s scene to the credits with Howard and Cosmo, while the closing montage focused on the “good guys” of the film, including Yondu.

For the final question, Gunn was asked if Chris Pratt had improvised his lines in the film. Gunn said that he and Pratt had a similar sense of humor, and their collaborations usually happened at the script stage. He cited the Kevin Bacon Footloose “legend” as an example of that. However, Gunn did say that Pratt’s “Jackson Pollock” joke was improvised and later refilmed in its finished form, with Rocket’s reaction.

Guardians of the Galaxy will hit DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, December 9.