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When Kurt Russell took a role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the actor not only fulfilled the dreams of Marvel fans everywhere, he was technically coming home. Disney helped make him the legend that he currently is, and Russell's Ego the Living Planet is the latest credit in a long line of films the actor has done with the storied studio. Though don't go thinking this was merely a paycheck gig, or something to keep him relevant, as Kurt Russell had one big reason for wanting to play the father of Peter "Star-Lord" Quill: he absolutely loved Guardians of the Galaxy.
Lucky for Russell, James Gunn was rather keen to book him for the cherry gig of playing Ego, as he wrote the character specifically with the Escape From New York star in mind. While speaking with Empire, Kurt Russell talked about how his viewing of 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy sealed the deal for him, and he described his reaction to the film.
Fifteen minutes in, I said, 'I think I see why they're coming to me...' The baggage I bring from some of the movies I've done is the right kind of baggage to bring into this one.
To think that if Kurt Russell hadn't decided to watch Guardians of the Galaxy after being courted for its sequel, we might have found ourselves with--who knows what--other options for casting the pivotal role in this summer's blockbuster comic sequel. Considering Al Pacino was on the Guardians of the Galaxy bandwagon way before Russell hopped on, his eagerness for a role in the film might have lead to his potential casting as Ego, had Russell rejected the offer. And while that's an interesting prospect in and of itself, I personally don't feel it would have been the slam dunk that should be Kurt Russell playing Chris Pratt's father.
Just looking back on Russell's comment regarding how the "baggage" of his previous roles informed the decision to cast him as Ego in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, we have to wonder which roles specifically inspired James Gunn to bring Kurt Russell aboard. Undoubtedly, a little bit of Jack Burton from Big Trouble in Little China probably made its way in there, as that's the most mystical that his filmography has gotten up until this point. Though The Thing has proven that Russell can also deal with aliens, albeit that film was probably a lot rougher than the creatures he'll experience in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Still, even if Kurt Russell had stuck to making Disney films with the same amount of bravado that he's always been known for, he'd already be a perfect Ego. In fact, we can't think of anyone that'd be a more perfect match for Chris Pratt's fictional dad... though Sam Elliott probably comes in a very close second. You can see Russell's living planet persona in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which swaggers into theaters on May 5th.