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After the critical and commercial success of Guardians of the Galaxy last year, it’s no wonder that Marvel Studios brought back James Gunn to not only direct the sequel, but write the screenplay as well. With the film several years away, there’s still not much we know about what’s in store for the band of rogue adventurers outside of some minor revelations. However, one surprising element that we can expect from the 2017 follow-up is that it won’t be based on a specific storyline from the comics, and to Marvel, this could be a risky development.
While appearing on the podcast Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend (via Uproxx), Gunn revealed that Guardians of the Galaxy 2 will be an original story that he worked on while directing the first movie. The sequel will answer key questions and introduce new characters who will be important to the series, but even with his experience, Marvel had their concerns.
It’s different than what’s in the comic books. Peter Quill’s father is somebody different in the comics. So then when the movie came out, we got green-lit on the sequel right away. I went in and I sat down with those guys and I’m like, ‘Okay, here’s what I think the sequel should be.’ And they were like, ‘Oh, whoa. That’s risky, but okay.’ Now I’m going to turn over the story in a few short weeks and we’ll find out how well it works.
Considering that Marvel greenlit the first movie, whose main characters included a anthropomorphic tree and talking raccoon, the definition of "risky" is relative at this point. Gunn has mentioned on previous occasions that Star-Lord’s father will not be J’Son of Spartax as he is in the comics, making the identity change one of the bigger continuity changes in the MCU. Although the best comic book movies remain faithful to the source material, it’s their nature to make alterations here and there for the moviegoing audience. What may work on the pages of a comic book may not translate well on film, whether it’s pacing, character history, how a costume looks, etc, so Gunn wanting to deviate slightly from the comic books may be for the best. It sounds like, despite their reservations, Marvel has faith in him, but they’ll know for sure once he turns in his first draft of Guardians of the Galaxy 2.
To be fair, it’s not unreasonable for Marvel (and fans) to get anxious when they hear about comic book movies not following the source material, at least to a degree. The Fantastic Four director Josh Trank made a similar statement when he told Kata Mara that the plot of the reboot would not be based anything already published. The difference here is that Gunn has the success of Guardians of the Galaxy under his belt. He has proven that he understands these characters and can deliver a good product. As long as he remains true to the spirit of this property, then having an original story shouldn’t be a problem…just as long as as nothing too crazy happens like Rocket and Groot separating from the rest of the team to form their own folk duo. Actually, scratch that, I kind of want to see that.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 will be released on May 5, 2017.