The original Guardians of the Galaxy took some of the most obscure and downright weird heroes in the Marvel universe and elevated them to household name status. And now we’re all comfortable with the idea of a belligerent gun-toting raccoon and a talking tree saving the universe, its sequel – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – can afford to get really crazy. Here are nine reasons why you should join Star-Lord and friends for the ride at your local Vue.
1. An Expanded Family (Except Maybe Her)Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Groot all had their own tragic reasons for being alone in the universe, but by the end of the original film they had formed a full-fledged surrogate family. And it would be pretty hypocritical for a family of misfits and outsiders not to allow more members into its circle, so for Vol. 2 we’ll see Michael Rooker’s Yondu, psychic martial artist Mantis – played by Pom Klementieff – and possibly Karen Gillan’s Nebula join the fold. Or possibly not.
2. Kurt Russell’s Massive Ego
The eternally cool star of cult classics like Escape From New York and Big Trouble In Little China is rightly enjoying a renaissance. Following recent appearances in The Hateful Eight and the last two Fast & Furious films, he now has the honour of playing the most out-there Marvel creation to date: Ego the Living Planet. More accurately he’s the human embodiment of Ego, the very same human embodiment who seduced Peter Quill’s mother. Yep, that’s right: Star-Lord’s mysterious dad is an entire planet. So many questions.
3. The Biggest Visual Effect Ever?
No special effects are required for Ego’s human form – although Kurt Russell is arguably a special effect in his own right – but the same is definitely not true for his planetary incarnation. In an interview with Empire Magazine, director James Gunn claimed that the CG model for Ego is comprised of over a trillion polygons, making it the biggest visual effect of all time by a considerable margin.
4. More Drax ‘Humour’
Nobody expected a former WWE wrestler to be the standout comic relief in the original Guardians, but Dave Bautista suplexed our expectations with his performance as the unwittingly hilarious Drax. Judging by Drax's hilarious response to Mantis' revelation that Star-Lord is feeling "sexual love" toward Gamora – "She just told everyone your deepest, darkest secret! You must be so embarrassed!" – it looks as though his literal-minded alien warrior hasn’t really learned anything since we last saw him.
5. An Awesome New Mixtape
The album for the first film went platinum and was the first soundtrack album consisting entirely of previously released songs to top the Billboard chart, so expectations for Awesome Mix Vol. 2 are unsurprisingly high. Trailers to date have featured several rock classics, including Fleetwood Mac’s ‘The Chain’ and Sweet’s ‘Fox on the Run’, allaying any fears that Meredith Quill’s knack for putting together a mean mixtape was a fluke.
6. Wisecracking Action
The Guardians of the Galaxy are the masters of Marvel’s penchant for dropping in wisecracks during even the most spectacular battles. So far we’ve been treated Star-Lord’s gun envy, Rocket’s desperate search for tape, or Drax unironically screaming, “Die, spaceship!”, and you can only assume that they’re the tip of the comedy iceberg.
7. Baby Groot
For reasons I won’t go into for the benefit of the two people watching who’ve not seen the first film, Groot, the gentle tree giant with a very limited vocabulary, is now Baby Groot. So what can we expect from the adorable little sapling? Well, we already know that he’s a mean dancer, and now he’s outgrown the plant pot is back on active duty. Whether he’s actually ready to be on duty is another question entirely.
8. The Golden Girl
While Vol. 2’s big villain has yet to be officially revealed, we do get a glimpse of this rather aloof golden lady. Comic fans correctly identified her as Ayesha, High Priestess of a genetically-perfect people called the Sovereign. According to James Gunn, “She's not a woman to be screwed with – she, and her entire world, are extraordinarily deadly." Sounds like perfect baddie material to me. What’s really exciting for comic fans is her roots as a character called Her, the female counter to Him, better known as the godlike Adam Warlock. Is this a portent of his appearance in Vol. 2, or even the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War? We’ll find out soon enough.
9. The Inevitable Post-Credits Scene(s)
A recent press screening of Vol. 2 revealed that the film has not one, not two, not three, not four, but five post-credits scenes. Considering that we know the Guardians are appearing in next year’s Avengers: Infinity War, expect at least one of them to hint at their involvement. Even though James Gunn is confirmed to be directing Vol. 3, it’s a bit too soon to be teasing that, so it’s likely that most will be played for laughs. Is it too much to ask for another Howard the Duck cameo?
Head here at lightspeed if you want to book tickets for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which opens on 27th April.