James Gunn was certainly working with a large ensemble of protagonists in the making of Guardians of the Galaxy, but that workload is increasing significantly in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Not only we will see the return of Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Groot, but the sequel will have the roster of the titular team expand to include both Yondu and Mantis. Those are some significant additions, but it may surprise you to learn that a third new Guardian was also in the mix early on... which of course makes us wonder who it was.
As he has been known to do, James Gunn recently took to his personal Facebook page to answer some fan questions about the development of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and one of his most interesting answers was about a hero who almost made it into the film. The filmmaker was asked specifically if there were any characters he wanted to be in the movie but that ultimately "didn't make the final cut," and Gunn explained that was very much a thing in the making of the sequel:
In my initial treatment I had a whole other Guardian involved. I loved the character and loved including him/her, and thought my take was fun. But I started to feel that there were two [sic] many characters in the story and for all of the characters to get their due, I needed to remove one. So this character left, and Mantis stayed.
Every Marvel fan is now asking the same question internally: who is this cut character? There is a very good chance that we'll get a firm answer to this query next summer when people are seeing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and James Gunn gets less secretive about his creative process... but let's do a bit of speculation in the meantime! There isn't exactly a lot of evidence to go on at this point, as the writer/director is purposefully non-gender-specific... but allow us to wager a guess:
Fans of the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie will recognize this as Cosmo the Spacedog: the telepathic alien dog who was featured as part of The Collector's collection, and our guess for the character who didn't make the cut in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Why? For starters, we know that James Gunn has an affection for the mutt (having his own dog, Fred, play him in Guardians), but more importantly he was a key teammate with Mantis on the Guardians of the Galaxy team in the comics. There's a nice link created between Cosmo and Mantis thanks to their telepathic/empathic abilities - not to mention the fact that there's a lot of fun in the antagonistic relationship between Cosmo and Rocket. One can easily believe James Gunn having a fun take on the character, but maybe he just couldn't fit into the story being told.
Who do you think was the character who didn't quite make the cut for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2? Leave your personal speculation in the comments below, and stay tuned for more updates on the upcoming blockbuster!