Making a follow up to a massive blockbuster has to be stressful. You want to capture what people loved about the first film, but not just rehash what came before. That’s the position James Gunn finds himself in, but he says there is only one thing that really worries him as he tries to follow up Guardians of the Galaxy.
Talking to Entertainment Tonight Online, Gunn revealed that, of all the things about developing Guardians of the Galaxy 2 that could be keeping him up nights, it’s the soundtrack that gives him the most pause. He explains:
Originally people kept asking me, ‘Don't you feel a lot of pressure to do the second movie?’ and I didn't in general. But I did feel a little pressure for the soundtrack because so many people loved it and we went platinum and all that other stuff. But I feel like the soundtrack in the second one is better. I feel like it's better, so I'm excited about it.
Those are some rather sizeable shoes to fill. Maybe Gunn didn’t write the songs himself, but he does use them damn near perfectly in his deep space adventure. One of the very first things we see is Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill boogying his way across Morag to Redbone’s "Come and Get Your Love." From that moment on (hell, even before that, as young Peter retreats from reality in his headphones), you know just how big a part the music is going to play in the movie.
Not only do the songs serve the normal soundtrack functions, like setting the mood, enhancing scenes, and heightening emotion, but Quill’s Awesome Mix Vol. 1, as a physical thing that exists in the movie, plays a role as well. He risks life and limb a couple of times to make sure that no harm comes to it, and it starts to symbolize his mother, his home, and his past. That’s more work than most movies get out of a soundtrack.
If the soundtrack to Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is, as Gunn says, even better than the first one, that’s going to be an impressive feat. The first one sold more than a million copies and was a hit even before the movie came out, and it only gained in significance and weight as people went to the theater to see the movie for themselves.
Though James Gunn is in the process of writing the screenplay, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is already shaping up to be good time. The Marvel brass reportedly called his pitch for the sequel "risky," though they approved it anyway. In addition to the core crew of Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), and Groot (Vin Diesel), we also expect to see more from Karen Gillan’s Nebula, Michael Rooker’s Yondu, and others. We’ll see how this all shakes out when Guardians of the Galaxy 2 hits May 5, 2017.