'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' director James Gunn on deleted scenes, 'Infinity War,' and Groot at every age

James Gunn on set of <i>Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2</i> (Photo: Marvel Studios)
James Gunn on set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Photo: Marvel Studios)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 isn’t just a good sequel; it’s one of the year’s most enjoyable films, thanks to writer-director James Gunn’s boundless enthusiasm for his misfit Marvel characters. That enthusiasm was on full display in Yahoo Movies’ most recent interview with Gunn, who was promoting the digital (Tuesday) and Blu-ray (Aug. 22) release of his blockbuster. The director, who is already making plans for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, talked to Yahoo Movies about his favorite deleted scene (which you can watch right now!), the Guardians’ appearance in Avengers: Infinity War, Yondu’s “Mary Poppins” moment, and whether we’ll ever see Groot have a midlife crisis.

So what deleted scenes will we be seeing on the Blu-ray?
James Gunn: Well, we [laughs] actually don’t have a tremendous amount of deleted scenes, because most of what I filmed actually ended up in the movie, unlike so many movies these days. But we have a fantastic deleted scene which is between Kurt Russell [who plays Ego] and the whole gang, when they go to Kurt Russell’s planet and Kurt Russell unveils what he’s created for his son, which is a statue of his son, of Chris Pratt [who plays Peter Quill]. And Chris Pratt loves it, but the rest of the gang isn’t so fond of it because Chris Pratt sort of looks like this big muscular Frank Frazetta heroic character, and Groot looks kind of like a piece of broccoli, and they somehow confused Drax (Dave Bautista) and Rocket, so Drax is a tiny little thing standing on his arm, and Gamora (Zoe Saldana) is a very buxom character holding on and looking up lovingly at Peter Quill, holding onto his leg. So they’re not as thrilled with it as Quill is.

Did you have actual maquettes made of any of the statues that Ego shows Peter in the movie? They’re so great.
Of those statues? No, no I wish we had! Especially since the little alien girl that is Ego’s first encounter with life on other planets is my niece Grace. So I wish I had a statue of her.

I know there’s not too much that you can say about Infinity War. I’m actually impressed with the amount of fan questions that you answer on social media. Where do you draw the line there on what you’ll say and what’s off limits?
I’ll be honest: most of the questions I answer, I’ve answered before. So usually I know that. But I try to answer questions that don’t give away anything real substantive. There’s an Adam Warlock teaser at the end of Guardians, and one of the things I promised Marvel, because we had some blowback on putting that in there, was to let the fans know that Adam Warlock is not going to be in Avengers 3 or 4, so that they didn’t expect him in there, because [Marvel] knew they would. And so I try to just give away what will help people’s enjoyment of these movies and not detract from it.

How much say did you have in what the Guardians would do in Infinity War? Did you bring demands to the table?
Yeah, I made it very clear that if I continued on with Marvel after Vol. 2, they wanted me to be a part of helping to create the Guardians in Infinity War and beyond. So I had a lot of say in what the Guardians did and said.

Have you said on the record who all is going to be in it? I didn’t see the Comic-Con preview, but I know that we’ll see Groot as an adolescent.
In the Comic-Con preview, you can see Quill, Gamora, Mantis, Drax, Rocket and adolescent Groot.

It’s been such fun to see Groot at different ages. Have you ever contemplated what it would be like to see an older Groot?
Oh, I think about all the stages of Groot. I think about Groot all the time. I love Groot! Listen, he’s an incredibly important character to me. I think of all of these characters and where they came from, where they’re headed, when they die, how they die – I have that pretty much all mapped out in my head.

So can you give me a picture of midlife crisis Groot?
Ha! I think you’ll have to wait until the year 2047 for that.

Our staff favorite line in the film is when Peter calls Yondu “Mary Poppins.” What’s the origin of that dialogue?
When I was writing the scene, I envisioned the smoke parting and Gamora looks up and she sees Peter Quill and Yondu coming down from the smoke in a sort of heroic fashion. I knew that Yondu was going to have survived the explosion on the spaceship by holding onto his arrow and letting him bring it down gently, and I realized in that moment that he looked like Mary Poppins, as I was envisioning it in my head. And as often happens in the movie, Peter Quill says what I am imagining. And then of course, I think that in Yondu’s mind, he probably imagined Mary Poppins was some sort of John Wayne-Lee Marvin type figure. So he owned it.

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