Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 - Star-Lord (Peter Quill) and Drax (Dave Bautista)

One of the things that I thought was really interesting about the reception of the first film was that people with autism really embraced Drax. Like in a big way. Did that impact you, writing the character this time?

It really did. Not only Drax, but the character in general. Groot. And I think outsiders as a whole reacted to the Guardians, which is what … Listen, that’s what I am. That’s what I feel like. But it’s being able to tell those stories for those people is what really the only reason I give a shit about any of this, frankly. And the only reason I would ever put myself through this is to be able to bring people together, and make people feel like maybe they belong a little bit more than they would feel before they saw the movie.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 - Mantis

So we were saying how lucky She and Karen feel to have sisters in the movie, and also when we were talking about Pom she was like “I didn’t want Mantis to be sexualized, and a sexual character.” So can you talk about those portrayals of women and having them really standalone and have their own storylines?

For me it just strictly comes down to one thing, which is trying to make all the characters be equally characters. To have the equal amount of weaknesses and strengths, to have the equal amount of foibles. Do I think my writing as a whole has always done that? Yeah, completely. We have four primary female characters in this movie. Is that a cool thing? Yeah. And do I think that it’s cool that we have Pom- One of the things is that Mantis is just as weird and screwy as Rocket and Drax and Groot; who are all just nut-cases. Being able to have that dynamic, to me, is what’s cool about having the female characters more than having the strong females, I guess.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that you and Chris together created Star-Lord into this, almost- For kids, I have a twelve and eight year old, and he’s Hans Solo to them. He’s almost Indiana Jones. So, coming back to him a second time, tell me about some of the challenges of just figuring out what the next steps for him are, and how do you maintain. He’s the leader of the team, but it doesn’t seem like this is his story. It does seem like it the whole team’s story.

It is the whole team’s story, but there’s a big huge part of it that’s his story too. When I was writing up the first movie I wrote the whole backstory of where Peter came from, who his father was, why did Yondu pick him up from the planet. I wrote all that stuff, and there was a part of me that thought about Guardians of the Galaxy Volume Two, maybe there’ll be a story in between the answers to that story. And I said “I don’t know.” How long am I going to be around for? I don’t know, let’s just go for that story. So, that’s a big part of what this story is. Those other characters are now major characters in the movie; Nebula, Yondu, these characters that were tertiary characters in the first film.

Chris becomes a movie star, like a huge star, in between.

It’s Chris, so he’s my buddy, so it doesn’t hurt me. It helps the movie because he’s a movie star. So it’s great, but my and Chris’ working relationship is incredibly close. But just honestly, just as friends it’s a great thing to have on set that I didn’t have last time. Last time I had Rooker and my brother and now I have Chris and Zoe especially. It’s nice to have that aspect of it for me, because making a movie is a lonely endurance test.

Does Rooker get jealous?

Yeah, he might get a little jealous.

guardians of the galaxy vol 2 behind the scenes

Outside at the very opening of the movie we saw one image of- Could you talk about the set pieces, we haven’t really heard much about the action in the movie, how many scenes there are, how big it gets. When you think about the end of the first movie, that’s a pretty huge set piece. So could you talk about how long-

I really set out to write a more intimate, personal story and I think it is, and then somehow in the midst of writing this more intimate, personal, emotional story the set pieces got five times as big. Like really. I feel great about it. Honestly, I’ve been focusing a lot on it because I think that I want this movie to be better in every aspect. And that includes that it’s funnier. The emotion works on a deeper level, which is probably the most important to me frankly. And then the fact that the action is bigger and more exciting.

We heard that sometimes the tags are written in in the script and sometimes they’re brainstormed and thought of throughout the filming-

You mean the tags, oh the tags at the end of the movie? Oh, they’re all written. They’re all in the script, yeah. You guys saw my last tag, right? I had two tags, one was a baby dancing Groot, and the other one is fucking Howard the Duck. That’s my tags. I wouldn’t wait. I don’t think the fate of the Marvel universe is gonna, don’t wait.

When we saw the art work, Devon made a comment that one of the planets looked like a Yes album cover, is that a conscious thing for you with the design of the ship and everything else, these trippy designs?

There’s a conscious return to pulp and getting a greater sense of getting pulp from all areas. But everything from fifties Amazing Stories covers to the sixties stuff that you can see in that ship, it’s very sixties inspired, to a lot of almost Ralph Bakshi inspired, Yes album cover inspired stuff.

And jet-packs, we saw that.

And we got some jet-packs. Yeah, we got some good jet-packs going on.

guardians of the galaxy dance off

I love the audacity of Star-Lord challenging Ronin to a dance off. In the final battle. And the fact that the first Guardians could do that, can you talk about continuing that legacy now-

Again, I think there’s a trap a lot of sequels fall in. Where they say “okay, we had that beat where there was a dance off, so what is our dance off in this movie? And we had that moment where they ‘We are Groot’, so what our ‘We are Groot’ moment?” And then I’m like “screw all of that, this is its own thing.” Other people can go and try to figure out what the moments are in this movie. I don’t want to do the same types of things. I think the only tradition is that we try to give the audience what’s unexpected and what they don’t think is coming next. And mostly just in terms of the story, the characters hopefully being something that’s a little deeper than the first one movie.

guardians of the galaxy vol. 2

What character do you think will surprise audiences most coming out of this movie?

Yondu? But Dave Bautista. Bautista’s murdering, he’s just murdering, murdering, murdering every scene. He wouldn’t want to hear me say it. The greatest thing was walking on to the first day of set and being back with these people and it was kind of like we just picked up where we left off except for one thing, that they had all gotten incredibly better. Zoe probably had the most experience starting off, but she got a lot better. Chris got way better. And Bautista exponentially got better from what he was in the first movie, and he’s going to flip people out. And then Rooker is just like, it’s the role of a lifetime. It really is, he’s amazing. And then people don’t know Pom.

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