To date, writer/director James Gunn has managed to get Marvel to let him keep the Guardians of the Galaxy in their own special section of the Marvel Cinematic Universe -- but that comes to a major ending in May 2018. It will be at that time that the cosmic heroes are brought into the larger fold, starring opposite Earth's Mightiest Heroes in The Avengers: Infinity War. It's an exciting event that fans have been anticipating for years, but what you may not have expected is that the Guardians cast had some initial reservations about how the team would work into the larger story. Discussing her work on the 2018 blockbuster, Zoe Saldana recently told me,
We started at the beginning of the year. It's been fun right now. I think the Russos are doing an amazing job. The team of writers, including James Gunn, are going to do it great justice. I found myself in theory very overwhelmed with the thought of combining this entire universe in two movies. And I'm like, 'I wonder if we're going to overwhelm the audience, overstimulate ourselves, and overstimulate everybody!' But so far the way that they're going about it, it's quite powerful and awesome.
Earlier this week, I had the incredible pleasure of sitting down with the entire main cast of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 during the movie's Los Angeles press day, and I took the opportunity to inquire about the work the actors have been doing on the set of The Avengers: Infinity War. What I was surprised by was that many of them told me about the concerns they had taking on a project of such scale -- followed by an explanation of how the experience filming has totally changed their tune.
Zoe Saldana, who returns as Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, was my first interview of the day, but when I sat down with Dave Bautista -- the man also known as Drax -- he also expressed similar thoughts. It apparently took a minute for the actor to trust Infinity War directors Joe and Anthony Russo on the same level as James Gunn, but explained that his castmmates and himself were given a legitimate voice on set to make sure that there characters were being treated properly. Said Bautista,
I was afraid they were going to try and take the Guardians in a different direction, and make us who we weren't. But they totally gave us free reign. James created a lot of the dialogue and everything for the Guardians, but they really were encouraging about letting us be ourselves and be our characters and run with it, and do our thing as usual... there's a lot of improv, a lot of interaction between us as a cast, and they were all about it. So it was absolutely a great experience.
Ultimately it was the pairing of Karen Gillan, who plays Nebula, and Pom Klementieff, who is introduced as Mantis in the film, who addressed the real elephant in the room where The Avengers: Infinity War is concerned: the size of the cast. While most definitely enthusiastic about being a part of what is unquestionably one of the biggest blockbusters of all time, they also expressed wonder at the fact that the production is managing to juggle all of the moving pieces. They told me,
Karen Gillan: It's amazing. It's epic, and huge, and I think it's the biggest thing any of us are going to work on.
Pom Klementieff: So many characters.
Karen Gillan: There's like 60 characters. I don't even know how the producers are trying to coordinate that. It shoots for like a year. It's amazing, and people are going to love it!
You can watch Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan and Pom Kelmentieff talk about their personal experiences on the set of The Avengers: Infinity War in the video below:
Joe and Anthony Russo's The Avengers: Infinity War is currently in production -- primarily in Atlanta, Georgia -- and is so big in scope and scale that it will still be filming for many more months to come (the film is currently on track for a May 4, 2018 release date). Fans won't have to wait that long to see their favorite Marvel Cosmic characters back on the big screen, however, as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will be playing in a theater near you on May 5th.