James Gunn Rules Out Two Big Marvel Villains For 'Guardians Of The Galaxy 2'

Besides some returning core characters, there's really no saying who'll appear in Guardians of the Galaxy 2. The film will have nearly a decade of MCU stories to draw from, not to mention several decades of comic book history.

But if you'd like to try and narrow down the possibilities, here are two more names (or more accurately, a name and a race) that we can cross off the list. Neither Kang the Conqueror nor the Shi'ar Empire will appear in Guardians of the Galaxy 2, as confirmed by director James Gunn. Read his Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Kang and Shi'ar comments after the jump. 

Gunn ruled out some big Marvel baddies for Guardians of the Galaxy 2 during a Facebook Q&A. "Shi'ar and Kang are both owned by Fox," he said. Although the Shi'ar and Kang have crossed paths with various MCU characters including Guardians of the Galaxy in the comics, they're more closely associated with the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, and thus controlled by Fox. And don't hold your breath for a change of heart: "All decisions about who is in GotG2 were made a long time ago," Gunn added.

Kang the Conqueror is a frequent foe of both the Fantastic Four and the Avengers. He first appears as Kang in 1964 Avengers comic, but he really debuted in a 1963 Fantastic Four comic under the name Pharaoh Rama-Tut. His real name, however, is Nathaniel Richards, and he's a time-traveling scholar born in 3000 AD. As his name suggests, he's a distant relative of Reed Richards from the Fantastic Four. (If you thought that paragraph was confusing, just try parsing his official Marvel.com bio.)

The Shi'ar were originally introduced in a 1976 X-Men comic. Along with the Kree (Ronan's people) and the Skrulls (who also belong to Fox), they're one of the three major alien empires in the Marvel comic book universe. They figure prominently into a number of X-Men storylines, including the famous Dark Phoenix saga.

Besides Kang and the Shi'ar, the growing list of characters that will certainly not be in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 include Ronan the Accuser, Captain Marvel, VenomGladiatorBug, Rom: Spaceknight, and Richard Rider a.k.a. Nova.

The characters that will appear include the main Guardians (Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, etc.) plus Yondu (Michael Rooker) and Nebula (Karen Gillan). Gunn has also teased the debut of one of his favorite superheroes, but hasn't confirmed a name. Possibilities floated by the fandom include Beta Ray Bill, Starhawk, and Adam Warlock, three characters Gunn has expressed an affinity for in the past.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 opens May 5, 2017.