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How James Gunn Almost Used The Skrulls In Guardians Of The Galaxy, And Why He Didn’t

Skrulls Marvel Comics

In 2019's Captain Marvel, fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be introduced to the Skrulls: a race of aliens that have been incredible important in the comics since the 1960s. It's a long-awaited arrival, as die-hards have been hoping to see the species on the big screen for a long time now, but as I recently learned from James Gunn, they were actually almost featured in Guardians of the Galaxy. When I asked the filmmaker if Skrulls were ever off the table because they were being saved, he explained,

No, [Marvel] never said no. [They] said yes! It's something that we've talked a lot about dealing with. I almost put a Skrull in the Ravagers. But I'm really excited they're coming about, and I think it's going to be fun to see where they go from there, and what happens with the Skrulls in the future of the Marvel Universe. I'm a huge fan of the Skrulls.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with James Gunn late last week during the Los Angeles press day for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's upcoming Blu-ray release -- and it was during our conversation that I broached the subject of the Skrulls. Having been in Hall H during Marvel Studios' big Captain Marvel announcements, I felt compelled to ask the writer/director about the reptile-like, shape-shifting species, and he revealed that the famed Marvel aliens almost made their debut in one of his titles.

So why weren't the Skrulls ultimately included in either of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies? I posed that exact follow-up question to James Gunn, and he explained that it was just one detail too many for the script.

I think it's all a matter of how many things you have in a movie. I find that one of the things with writing these movies is that they start off incredible complicated, and then I have go, 'Uhhhh' and cut some of this great stuff... So often times there's a lot of different elements, whether it's scenes or characters or cameos or whatever, you end up cutting down, down, down, down until you get to what the movie is. Because there's an elegance in the simplicity that's incredibly important in these movies, because they are complicated! They're in outer-space, we don't know where they are, there's a lot of characters, so how do you cut that down to what the most necessary components of the stories are?

Rather than using a portion of either Guardians of the Galaxy or Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 to explain the long history of the Skrulls and what they can do, James Gunn decided that time was more valuable in other areas. As a result, we've been left with a Skrull-less Marvel Cinematic Universe... until Captain Marvel rolls around in March 2019. After that point, the shape-shifting species may end up being an incredibly important part of the franchise's future.

As for James Gunn's contributions to the MCU, fans will soon be able to bring home his work, as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will be available for digital download starting this Tuesday, August 8th. And for those of you who prefer hard copies, the 4K, 3D, Blu-ray, and DVD copies will be available on August 22nd. In the meantime, stay tuned for more from my interview!

Eric Eisenberg
Eric Eisenberg

NJ native who calls LA home; lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran; endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.