There are no two ways about it: James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy turned out to be an absolutely massive hit. Not only did it earn some of the best reviews of 2014, it also turned out to be massively popular with movie-goers and a box office smash. With all of the buzz going into opening weekend, it was barely a surprise when Marvel Studios announced, before the first film even opened, that a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 would be out in 2017. Now it’s easily one of our most anticipated future titles.

Marvel Studios is, of course, very good at keeping details about their in-development projects secret, but every so often a cool little bit of info sneaks out and tells us just a little bit more about the film. That’s where we come in. Below you’ll find a compilation of every detail we know about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 so far, from who we know is coming back to what new characters we can expect to show up. Read on, and learn!

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
What Is The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Release Date?
Of the 10 movies that will be coming out in Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will be arriving third – following both Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange - and will be in theaters on May 5, 2017. This also positions it as the first film in what will be Marvel Studios’ first calendar year with three different big screen releases. The deep space story will kick things off and be followed by Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7, 2017) and Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok (November 3, 2017).

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
What Is The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Rating?
This is not going to blow anybody’s minds. Despite the fact that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has not yet been fully assembled and brought before a ratings board, we can already guarantee you what the Marvel Studios film’s rating is going to be: PG-13. How do we know this? Because every Marvel feature to this point has been rated PG-13, and it’s been confirmed by the CEO of Disney that there are no plans to make an R-rated superhero title any time soon.

It’s true that James Gunn’s first few directorial efforts – including Slither and Super - were both blood-covered affairs that earned hard R-ratings, but we certainly don’t expect that for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Even beyond the fact that Marvel has no interest in making R-rated movies, making the sequel only for audiences older than 18 would be a serious burn to the younger fans who fell in love with the first movie.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
What Will Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Be About?
If you think back to the months before the release of the first Guardians of the Galaxy, you’ll remember that not much was really revealed about the story. Sure, trailers established that Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Groot would be joining forces while in prison and that their adventure had something to do with a mysterious orb, but that was pretty much it. Such is the case for the sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

The story will presumably pick up some time after the events of the first movie, and while we don’t know precisely what the titular misfit crew will be up to, we do know that it will somehow involve Peter Quill’s father – who was set up as a mystery figure at the end of James Gunn’s Marvel debut. The writer/director has said that Guardians of the Galaxy 2 will feature fewer characters in order to prevent the blockbuster from being too sprawling and crazy, so expect that it will be a more intimate tale about space heroes.

James Gunn Guardians of the Galaxy
James Gunn
Prior to the first Guardians of the Galaxy, writer/director James Gunn never worked on a feature with a budget higher than $15 million, but any and all doubts about him as a blockbuster filmmaker were put to rest with movie’s release. Throughout production, Gunn and Marvel got along famously, which is perhaps a big part of why he is coming back to both write and direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The news was made official at San Diego Comic-Con 2014 when the director paired up with star Chris Pratt on a video presentation to announce the project’s official release date a few weeks prior to the movie’s release.

In addition to once again coming back as a director, James Gunn also wrote the script for Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and has been very open and accessible to fans throughout the project’s development –writing heartfelt letters, doing live chats, and even sharing crudely drawn storyboards.

Star-Lord Guardians of the Galaxy
Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord
Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord (played by Chris Pratt) was a womanizing, asshole thief when we first met him as an adult in Guardians of the Galaxy, but he undergoes an incredible arc in the movie that sees him really transform into a mature leader. As noted in Gamora’s final lines in the film, he is who the rest of the Guardians are now looking to for guidance as they go on further adventures. We can surely expect him to still have deep emotional ties to his dead mother – which will come out through Awesome Mix Vol. 2 – not to mention the fact that he will be on the hunt for the identity of his real father, who it turns out wasn’t actually from Earth. As mentioned, we expect that to be a key part of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s story.

Gamora Guardians of the Galaxy
Gamora (played by Zoe Saldana) has certainly had it rough for her entire life, with her parents being killed right in front of her by a psychotic alien who would wind up raising her as his own daughter. But those dark days seem to be behind her. She has found a new family in Peter Quill, Rocket, Drax and Groot, and she is pursuing her happiness. Of course, just because she may be trying to leave the past in the past doesn’t mean that her enemies will do the same. Thanos will be incredibly displeased that his "favorite" daughter has betrayed him to become a hero, and let’s also not forget that the dangerous and extremely pissed off Nebula is still around and fighting. We won’t be surprised in the slightest if both come back to play key roles in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as a result.

Groot Guardians of the Galaxy
He can only say three words (okay, five words), but still Groot, the alien tree voiced by Vin Diesel, was able to create some of the most emotional moments in Guardians of the Galaxy - one of them being his incredible self-sacrifice to save his friends in the third act. Aboard the Dark Aster with the rest of the Guardians as it was crashing down to the surface of Xandar, Groot grew and morphed to become a protective shell for his teammates in order to save them… and he was shattered into a million pieces as a result. The good news is that it’s incredibly hard to kill a Groot thanks to their regenerative powers. At the end of Guardians of the Galaxy, Groot is nothing more than a sapling who enjoys grooving to the sound of the Jackson 5, and he may not actually be fully grown when we see him next. A teaser image has suggested that he’ll still be about a quarter of Rocket’s height in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but whether or not that is a true representation of the movie is still unclear.

Drax The Destroyer Guardians of the Galaxy
Drax The Destroyer
In bringing Drax the Destroyer to life in Guardians of the Galaxy, Dave Bautista not only provided the movie with some of its best laughs, but also many of its most dramatic moments. The hatred and rage that Drax felt towards Ronan was extremely powerful and palpable, and while he ultimately wasn’t the one who 100% directly killed his sworn foe (it was a team effort), he certainly got his revenge. The problem is that killing Ronan didn’t give him the satisfaction he needed to get over the death of his wife and daughter (this is why revenge is no good, people!). Now the character has turned all of his attention towards Thanos, who he knows has been pulling the strings all along anyway. Will he succeed? It’s hard to say at this point, but the characters most certainly do have a history in the comics. Whether or not that will be Drax’s main drive in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is up in the air right now, but James Gunn has at the very least promised that we will learn a bit about the alien warrior "that nobody knows."

Rocket Raccoon Guardians of the Galaxy
Rocket Raccoon
We pretty much learn everything we need to know about Rocket’s attitude and general outlook on life within the first few moments of meeting him in Guardians of the Galaxy. Making fun of various aliens who are doing nothing more than going on with their day, the diminutive, furry, gun-lover is the exact opposite of a people person, and is as surly as they come. By the end of the film he does even out a bit by understanding the importance of having other people in his life, but he is still far from a happy camper. He will be along for the ride in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, with Bradley Cooper returning to provide the voice (and Sean Gunn doing the motion capture work). While we don’t know anything plot specific about his arc yet, that information will certainly come in time.

Yondu Guardians of the Galaxy
There’s a seemingly endless number of shockingly entertaining characters in Guardians of the Galaxy, but perhaps the most surprising of them all is the performance given by Michael Rooker as Yondu. Part Boba Fett and part Jabba The Hutt, this blue, mohawked Ravager stole every scene he was in with his Kentucky fried accent, and whistle-controlled arrow. Rooker’s many years of working with director James Gunn insured that Yondu would be back for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and it’s important to remember that it’s Yondu and the rest of his crew who actually know the identity of Star-Lord’s father. As that plot plays out, expect Yondu to be a big part of it.

Thanos Guardians of the Galaxy
Ever since the Mad Titan Thanos was first teased in the mid-credits sequence of Joss Whedon’s The Avengers as the mastermind behind the Chitauri attack on New York, we’ve been aware of his presence. Our awareness grew further with Guardians of the Galaxy, as he was finally mentioned by name and shown to be an incredibly powerful figure in the intergalactic community. So does that mean that Guardians of the Galaxy 2 will finally be his real time to shine? The answer is no. James Gunn has confirmed that Thanos will only play a part in the sequel if it is determined that he helps out the story, and if not, he won’t appear at all. Given that both Gamora and Drax have serious bones to pick with him, I suspect he will at least featured in the movie, but he won’t be the most important thing in the sequel.

This development adds an interesting wrinkle to comments made by Josh Brolin, who voices Thanos in Guardians of the Galaxy. In late 2014, the actor said that he would be spending time in both 2016 and 2017 playing Thanos – which could suggest that he will have a part in the 2017-released Guardians of the Galaxy 2.

Nebula Guardians of the Galaxy
If there was any central supporting character in Guardians of the Galaxy that we really want to see more from, it was actress Karen Gillan’s Nebula. The character’s design and behavior were incredibly badass, but the movie having so much going on didn’t allow her nearly enough screen time. Fortunately, we can expect Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 to fix that problem. Ronan and Korath may be dead, but Nebula managed to survive her fight with Gamora (albeit minus one cyborg hand), and took off in a spaceship to god knows where. Will she reunite with Thanos? That question doesn’t have an answer yet, but Marvel Studios President Kevin Fiege has made note of the character’s importance in certain major comic book arcs that could someday wind up finding their way to the big screen. We do know for certain that she will be back for Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and we’re excited to see how she works into the plot.

The Collector Guardians of the Galaxy
Taneleer Tivan a.k.a. The Collector
The Collector, played by Benicio Del Toro, seemed to be set up as a villain when he was introduced in the post-credits sequence of Thor: The Dark World, but the reality is that he actually played more of a neutral role in Guardians of the Galaxy (unless his sinister intentions were just being well-hidden). He is identified simply as a buyer/museum curator interested in purchasing an Infinity Stone from Gamora. What’s not laid out specifically in the film is the explicit danger present in an individual’s attempt to collect all six Infinity Stones, however. When combined and put into a glove known as the Infinity Gauntlet, the stones provide the wearer god-like powers over all of existence. In the comics, Thanos is best known for accomplishing this task, but the fact that Taneleer Tivan is interested in completing the collection is seriously bad news for the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Unfortunately, if this is going to play out on the big screen, it looks like it’s going to have to happen in The Avengers: Infinity War instead of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. In January 2016, Benicio Del Toro was quoted saying that he hadn’t heard anything from anyone from the production – suggesting that he may not have a role in the sequel. We have our fingers crossed that the Guardians of the Galaxy post-credits scene won’t be the last we’ve seen from the character.

Rhomann Dey Guardians of the Galaxy
Rhomann Dey
Played by the always-lovably John C. Reilly, Rhomann Dey is one of the main faces of the Nova Corps in Guardians of the Galaxy and is introduced as having a pre-existing relationship with Peter Quill (though he does mock the future hero for having a code name). By the end of the film, he plays a crucial role in getting the Nova Corps to unite with the Guardians and the Ravagers to help stop Ronan from destroying Xandar. He winds up creating a good friendship with Quill by the end of the movie, but it remains to be seen if that relationship will be strong enough to bring the character back for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Hopefully it will be.

J’Son of Spartax Guardians of the Galaxy
Star-Lord’s Dad
Other than the full tracklist for "Awesome Mix, Vol. 2," the biggest cliffhanger left in Guardians of the Galaxy is the identity of Peter Quill’s father. While the hero always thought that he was 100% human, the reality is that he is actually 50% alien. Whoever Star-Lord’s dad is, he’s part of a powerful, ancient race, and is described by Peter’s mom as looking like an angel (though Yondu does call him a "jackass.") James Gunn has already said that the search for Star-Lord’s dad will play a big part in Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and that they will be deviating from the comics (sorry J’Son of Spartax, you are NOT the father). That being said, Gunn has also noted that the big reveal of who the dad is won’t be what the entire movie rests on.

The best news in all of this, however, is who James Gunn decided to cast as Star-Lord’s dad: the brilliant and eternally awesome Kurt Russell. Even after the casting was announced Marvel has continued to stay mum about the character’s identity – and we hope that it will be a secret that’s maintained until the film is in theaters.

Mantis Guardians of the Galaxy
One of the exciting new characters who will be introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is the hero Mantis, who will be played by actress Pom Klementieff. In the comics, Mantis was born in Vietnam and was left by her father at a young age at an alien temple to be cared for by Kree priests. They believed the young girl to be a messiah figure destined to be the most important being in the universe, and trained her as a warrior. She is one of the most gifted fighters in the Marvel Universe, as she is not only strong and agile, but has a knack for sensing weak points and exploiting them. Given how much certain characters were changed in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, we can’t say exactly how precise the big screen adaptation of Mantis will be – but we still have very high hopes.

Adam Warlock Guardians of the Galaxy
Adam Warlock
Those who watched the first Guardians of the Galaxy (and the first post-credits sequence in Thor: The Dark World, for that matter), know that the lair of The Collector included something that looked a hell of a lot like Adam Warlock’s cocoon from Marvel Comics. Many took this as a suggestion that the character is going to make his live-action debut in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. James Gunn has said that the cocoon definitely looks a hell of a lot like Warlock’s, but that its inclusion was merely based on the fact that he thought it looked cool. It’s true this doesn’t completely rule out Adam Warlock for the 2017 blockbuster, but it doesn’t look great.

The Avengers Guardians of the Galaxy
The Avengers
As you may know, Marvel Studios has a bit of a history when it comes to bringing their various franchise characters together. They amazed the world when they did it with Joss Whedon’s The Avengers back in 2012, and they did it again with Whedon’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron. As a result, it’s long been expected that the company will eventually team up the earthbound heroes with those from Guardians of the Galaxy… but you shouldn’t expect that to happen any time soon. James Gunn has gone on the record many times saying that he doesn’t have an extreme desire to see the two worlds immediately start to collide, and has added that he doesn’t see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as a roadmap to get his characters to meet up with Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and the rest in The Avengers: Infinity War.

 Ronan the Accuser Guardians of the Galaxy
Ronan The Accuser
Let’s keep this one short and sweet: Ronan The Accuser, brought to life by Lee Pace, is dead as Dillinger. While he was certainly formidable (he honestly made Drax look like a toddler at times), and was basically invulnerable with the power of the Infinity Stone, the Guardians of the Galaxy used teamwork to turn him into purple dust at the end of the movie. It’s true that some kind of weird comic book loophole could possibly bring him back into the Marvel Cinematic Universe somehow, but the reality is that you shouldn’t expect him back for Guardians of the Galaxy 2 - and James Gunn has gone on record confirming that it definitely isn’t going to happen.

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