In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, a big revelation is made about Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord: It turns out his long-estranged father is not just any alien, but actually an incredibly powerful being named Ego that also happens to be a living planet. It's a very out-there idea that only a series as innately weird as Guardians of the Galaxy could really pull off... but this was something that writer/director James Gunn fully recognized from the beginning. In fact, while he knew that he wanted Ego to be Quill's dad early on in his time with Marvel Studios, he hid that fact from the higher-ups because he was afraid the approach might get rejected. Gunn told me earlier today,
You're the first person I'm telling this. I knew who Ego was as a character, I knew what he was able to do, but I didn't initially know I was going to use Ego The Living Planet as that character - if that makes sense. But it was pretty early that I knew it was Ego, but I didn't share that with Kevin [Feige] until after Guardians 1 made so much money [laughs]. And that's when I came in and said the dad is going to be a living planet!... It was an outlandish idea. I thought that they would balk at the idea of making Ego The Living Planet his parent.
I had the pleasure of attending the domestic press day for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 this morning in Los Angeles, and it was while sitting down to speak with James Gunn that I learned the origins of his plans for Ego The Living Planet in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After discussing the Marvel Cosmos "Bible" that the writer/director designed in the making of the first Guardians of the Galaxy and its relationship to the sequel, I asked how early on it was that he decided Ego would be Peter Quill's dad -- and he surprised me with the above exclusive.
Ego The Living Planet was first introduced into Marvel Comics back in 1966, and was one of the early characters created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby that wound up expanding the space side of the sci-fi/fantasy universe. Like in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, he is an immensely powerful being who can control his entire mass down to its molecular level - though he still is typically portrayed as a giant celestial body. The portrayal by Kurt Russell in the new movie does change certain elements of the character that I won't give away before the film's release, but he does ultimately fit perfectly as Peter Quill's dad.
If there's one thing to take away from this story, it's James Gunn's really impressive ability to keep secrets. Fans have been throwing out names like Adam Warlock, J'Son, Starhawk, Yondu and more as potential father candidates going back to Guardians of the Galaxy's theatrical release in August 2014, but Gunn just watched on, keeping the precious information about Ego to himself. One does wonder what would have happened if Guardians was only a modest success, forcing Gunn to pivot and go in a different direction with the plot -- but it's better to just be happy seeing strange sensibilities in blockbusters on the big screen.
While trailers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 haven't featured a lot of Ego footage, it won't be long until fans have the opportunity to see him in action. The Marvel Studios film is set to arrive in theaters on May 5th -- and be sure to stay tuned here on CinemaBlend between now and then for more from my interviews with James Gunn and his fantastic cast.