James Gunn: Women in Guardians, Awesome Mix Vol. 2, and the Stan Lee Cameo We Missed

Screenshot from 2014-09-03 15:49:47
Image credit: Dragon Con TV.

It’s going to be a long time before any of us gets tired of Guardians of the Galaxy, isn’t it? Which is why two of the most anticipated guests at last weekend’s Dragon Con were James and Sean Gunn, the film’s writer/director and motion capture model for Rocket, respectively. For those of you who missed it, here’s a recap of their panel responses, which includes a nod to the scene James wanted that didn’t make it in.

Will we have a chance to see Carol Danvers as Ms. Marvel?

“One of the challenges for me with the cosmic side is I don’t want a lot of humans,” James said. Because it’s a space adventure, he’d prefer to have fewer earthlings and more characters from other planets, simply because it seems more realistic given the setting. “So I think there’s a good possibility she could be Captain Marvel, but not through the cosmic side of things,” he continued. “It would be the earthly side of things.” However, he also hinted that there are plenty of female Guardians to draw from for future stories.

Exactly what town in Missouri is Peter Quill from?

“This is more complicated than you think,” James said. He talked repeatedly in the panel about how he tends to make decisions based on instinct and what simply feels right. Thus they experimented with showing the name of the city using many different ones, but none ever quite just perfect. “I think he’s from the St. Charles area,” he finally concluded.

On the “plant a tree for Groot” challenge:

If you haven’t heard about this yet, it started when Vin Diesel challenged James Gunn in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Instead, James planted a magnolia and challenged fans to plant trees for Groot, with the promise that with 50 trees planted, he would give $5,000 to the Rainforest Trust. When you do it, take a picture and post it to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #plantatreeforgroot, tagging @jamesgunn. In addition to that, he didn’t charge for autographs at the con (highly unusual, especially for such a high-profile guest), instead accepting tips and donating them—more than $1,000 as of the panel—to the Rainforest Trust “for more Groots all over the planet.”

What sounds can we expect for Awesome Mix, Vol. 2?

“Ooooh, I have a whole catalog at home for that,” James said. He reported that he’s well into writing the sequel, and naturally the soundtrack plays a bit of a different role in the second one.

As to the first edition, which we all already know and love, he originally wrote the opening credits to “Hooked on a Feeling,” but heard “Come and Get Your Love” one day in the shower and decided it worked better.

He spoke at length about the significant role that the soundtrack (and score) played not only in the final movie, but also in the development. Those songs you hear have been in the script since the beginning. “When we shot scenes, we would play the songs on set,” he said. The emotional scene towards the end of the movie uses a piece of music called “Black Tears” from Tyler Bates’ score. “We would blast it during shooting because I believe music is such an important part of the film experience, and it often gets left to the last minute,” James said. “For me, it’s about making that music baked into the film and an important part of it, both the score and the soundtrack.”

On that “Jackson Pollock painting” line:

Sean Gunn was much quieter than his brother for most of the panel, but when an audience member’s final comment was in thanks for Quill’s “Jackson Pollock painting” line, he chimed in. “I was annoyed, irritated when we kept shooting that line, thinking there was no way it would end up in the final cut.” And it’s easy to imagine it getting left behind—but then it’s one of the most memorable in the movie for the adults who caught it.

The way James really wanted Stan Lee to appear:

An audience member asked if there were any Easter eggs that James wanted to put in, but couldn’t. He immediately answered, “The original Stan Lee cameo was in the Collector’s museum. Rocket walks by Cosmo… and they growl at each other, and then they walk by a box with a tentacle that slashes against the glass, and we cut that. Then they go by another box, and Stan Lee is just sitting inside the box. And Groot looks in at him, and Stan Lee flips him off.”

They shot the footage with a Stan Lee double while he was unable to travel, planning to replace it with Stan Lee’s actual head later. He promised to post the picture from this on Instagram. Yesterday, he followed through:

Image: @jamesgunn on Instagram.


Outside of the panel, the Gunn brothers got to have a lot of fun with con-goers, including in this mass “Grooting.”