Marvel's Phase 3 slate of films officially kicked off in grand fashion this summer when Captain America: Civil War took movie theaters by storm, and that trend is definitely set to continue this blockbuster season when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 finally debuts. The Marvel Cinematic Universe's band of cosmic heroes has not made any notable appearances since the end of their first film in 2014, but James Gunn has slowly teased us with delightful bits and pieces of the utterly insane looking movie. His latest picture is absolutely heartwarming, and it showcases the amount of fun that everyone involved in the Guardians franchise had on a day-to-day basis over the course of the last year. Check out the photo below.

For a franchise built upon bizarre alien species, outlandish superhero adventures, and all-around weirdness, James Gunn's new Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 photo (a throwback to when rehearsals began last year) captures the unconditional love that exists within the series -- both on-camera, as well as behind it. The picture shows the team behind Guardians (sans Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel) hanging out at an indoor basketball court reviewing the film's script. Judging by the smiles on their faces, I think it is safe to say that the dialogue remains as sharp as ever.

All eyes are on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 to really capture the magic and spirit of the original when the film finally premieres in May. The first installment proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that completely unknown characters can resonate with audiences if handled correctly, and the good will banked by the first entry in the franchise (to mention Marvel's recent string of hits) has taken audience expectations to an absolutely sky high level.

James Gunn has made no secret of the fact that he has done everything in his power to make Vol. 2 considerably weirder than the original, and we cannot wait to see what that entails. From Star-Lord's (Chris Pratt) relationship with his father Ego the Living Planet (Kurt Russell), to Rocket's (Bradley Cooper) tutelage of Baby Groot (Vin Diesel), to Drax's constant inability to pick up on social cues. Between all of those things (and more) it's fairly clear that Gunn dialed up the weirdness to eleven with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and ripped the knob off.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will blast its way into theaters later this year on May 5, 2017, so you can rest easy knowing that CinemaBlend will bring you all of the latest, greatest, and most relevant updates related to the project over the course of the next few months.

Want an even closer look at the upcoming Marvel adventure? Check out the recent trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 to see James Gunn's cosmic misfits in action!

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