In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Ego The Living Planet is introduced as a "lowercase 'g' god" -- a powerful entity able to take the form of his choosing, given that his true form is simply pure energy. Throughout the film, we see that his primary choice is to look like Kurt Russell as he searches the galaxy for his son... but this begs an interesting question: why does he look like Kurt Russell? According to the actor, the answer may lie in him literally modeling himself after the actor Kurt Russell who lives in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Prepare to fall down a meta hole, folks. After seeing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 earlier this week, the question of why Ego looks like Kurt Russell floated around in my head, and fortunately the next day I was able to do something about it. During the Los Angeles press day for the upcoming Marvel Studios blockbuster, I sat down with the actor and specifically asked him -- posing the possibility that the Kurt Russell of the MCU may have inspired the appearance. It was a query that he responded to with a smile, and while he didn't specifically say that was in his head during the performance, he proposed that it is a definite possibility. Said Russell,
Yeah. Yeah. Definitely. That's actually very much a possibility. There's a million layers to this stuff. And that probably is one of them, yeah.
Funny, right? And the timeline certainly matches. As seen at the start of the first Guardians of the Galaxy, Peter Quill was eight years old when he was abducted in the year 1988 -- which means that Ego and Peter's mom, Meredith, were together circa 1980. By that time, the actor Kurt Russell had already built a big screen career for himself, eleven years removed from his starring role in 1969's The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1980 was also the year he was starring in Robert Zemeckis' Used Cars). As Russell confirmed, it is most certainly not an unreasonable thing to believe that Ego perceived the planet Earth at this time, took particular notice of the future Escape From New York/The Thing star, and copied his appearance to use as his own. (it's worth noting that he didn't do this to dupe Meredith, as it was established in the first Guardians that she knew that Ego was an alien). The reason why he looks like an older Kurt Russell when he meets his adult son is also explained in the movie, but can't be revealed here just yet!
Taking the conversation a step further, Kurt Russell told me during our interview that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 isn't his first experience with meta/self-referential material. Specifically, he cited his first opportunity to collaborate with writer/director Quentin Tarantino, playing the character Stuntman Mike in the Death Proof half of Grindhouse. Russell told me,
I did that a little in Death Proof. I'd interviewed for some of those shows that are now Stuntman Mike was the stuntman on! That was part of Quentin's thing too.
Hit play on the video below to watch Kurt Russell and me discuss the meta relationship between Ego The Living Planet and himself in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
This was a great bit from my interviews with the cast and filmmakers behind Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but we're still at "tip of the iceberg" stage. We have plenty more great, exclusive stuff coming for you here on CinemaBlend in the coming weeks, so stay tuned, and get ready for the latest from James Gunn and Marvel Studios to arrive in theaters on May 5th.