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James Gunn Kept ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ a Family Affair

One of the major themes running through Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy films has always been family, even if not in the most traditional of senses. The films tell the story of a group of misfits Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), Groot (Vin Diesel), Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Drax the Destroyer (David Bautista) who were at first forced to work together to save their own lives. Somewhere along the way they became a family, one who would now willingly give their lives to save each other.

As writer/director James Gunn brings his trilogy to a close it is obvious the sense of family exists both on and off the screen. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3, which landed in theaters this weekend, brings back all the Guardians including two other misfits who have extended the group, Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and Nebula (Karen Gillian) for a fitting closure to the series. The cast as well as Gunn and Marvel President Kevin Fiege recently took part in a global press conference where the sense of family was felt throughout.   

“I’m gonna miss the characters.  That’s the saddest part for me, is I really, truly love these characters,” said Gunn. “I love all of them.  I think there’s certain ones that I have a special fondness for, especially Rocket. I’m gonna see all these people again, they’re all friends of mine, but I’m not gonna be writing the characters again, at least not in the near future.  And so, that’s the real sadness.”

While Vol. 3 marks the end of the Guardians as we know them, not everyone is ready to just walk away. ”I’d jump at the opportunity,” explained Chris Pratt. “Making movies is really fun. When you get to do it with people that you love, it’s even more fun.”

In a very Star Lord-esque fashion Pratt then injected a little humor into his comment. “That’s the journey, right? The destination, it sometimes sucks. You have this great time with all your friends and you get together and you work hard. Then you see the movie and you’re like, “Boy, that movie sucked. But, hey, that was a lot of fun to make it.” 

He continued, “With James, it’s been both the journey and the destination have been glorious. The films are incredible. I don’t know how he does it. And so, just selfishly, I’d be willing to deal with a terrible journey to get to this destination.”

Across the board credit was given where due to Gunn, the ‘father’ of the Guardians films. As he closes out his current time with Marvel to head DC’s universe even Marvel Feige was delivering praise for the director. “It worked entirely because of James Gunn. So, it just feels like this trilogy, and James writing and directing all three of them, it represents something unique within the pantheon of the MCU, that I’m very proud of”.  

One of the newer members of The Guardians, Mantis, is played by Pom Klementieff. The actress added to the positive energy surrounding Gunn’s work. “I’m so grateful for James to have, you know, given me this opportunity.  And to get to play with all these incredible actors.  And I think each character, they complete each other, too, you know?  And I remember James telling me that Mantis was kind of like the glue that kept the Guardians together in some ways.”  

The newest addition to the Guardians crew, Will Poulter who plays one of the film’s villains The Warlock, added his experience on set. “Something that I thought was gonna be really scary actually ended just being really good fun. I think because of what James said, you know, is so true, that, you know, he makes a point of making set a really fun environment and then surrounds himself with really great people,” said Poulter. “Cause there’s pressure – as a new kid, I was pretty scared, so that made it easy.” 

While Nebula may not be the most sentimental of characters, Gillian shares the affection for the film series, “I love these characters.  Mantis and Kraglin and Rocket and Star-Lord. Everyone! It’s just so lovely to come together and see everyone as human beings.  But then also, to play these characters, as well, it feels really familiar. It feels like two families or something. 

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is in theaters now.


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Written by Steven Prusakowski

Steven Prusakowski has been a cinephile as far back as he can remember, literally. At the age of ten, while other kids his age were sleeping, he was up into the late hours of the night watching the Oscars. Since then, his passion for film, television, and awards has only grown. For over a decade he has reviewed and written about entertainment through publications including Awards Circuit and Screen Radar. He has conducted interviews with some of the best in the business - learning more about them, their projects and their crafts. He is a graduate of the RIT film program. You can find him on Twitter and Letterboxd as @FilmSnork – we don’t know why the name, but he seems to be sticking to it.

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