If Guardians of the Galaxy introduced the world to the cosmic Marvel Cinematic Universe, then Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 opened it up and expanded it in unforeseen ways. The sequel ends with the team's ranks bolstered by Mantis, but many have wondered about the status of Kraglin. Is he a full-fledged member of the team? Well, according to director James Gunn, Kraglin is less of a Guardian of the Galaxy, and more of the driver for the Guardians of the Galaxy. Gunn explained:
I would not say that Kraglin is an official member of the Guardians. I'd say Kraglin is now working with the Guardians of the Galaxy. At this point, he's sort of like their chauffeur. I don't know if you would exactly call him an official member.
Calling Kraglin a chauffeur feels like an incredibly appropriate description. After all, arguably his biggest contribution to the team in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is the ride he provides off of Ego the Living Planet. He has certainly proven helpful so far, but he hasn't fought alongside them enough to become a real member of the core team.
James Gunn's Facebook Live remarks on Kraglin's status as the Guardians' chauffeur seems to echo earlier statements made by the director about the Ravager's place in the cosmic Marvel universe. When pressed about Kraglin's involvement with the Guardians closer to the film's release, Gunn described him as an "adjunct member" in the sense that he helps out on a part-time basis, but he doesn't have any authority or power in a way that core members do.
One of the interesting things to note about Kraglin's tenuous connection to the Guardians team is the way in which it paves the way for heroes to come in and out of the lineup. James Gunn has made it clear that the current incarnation of the team will not last forever (possibly changing after the events of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3) which means groundwork needs to be laid for other heroes to step up to the plate. By establishing someone like Kraglin as an ally of the team without making him a core member, the franchise keeps the door open to eventually bring him (or someone else entirely) into the fold as a full-fledged member.
Of course, none of this means that Sean Gunn hasn't had the opportunity to portray a Guardian in his own right. Although Bradley Cooper provides the voice of Rocket Raccoon, Sean Gunn provides all of the physical performance on the set--which is later swapped out for a digital model. So while Kraglin technically isn't a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy lineup, Sean Gunn is.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is now available on Digital HD, Blu-ray, and DVD. Looking ahead to next year's adventure, make sure to catch the cosmic misfits when they team up with Earth's mightiest heroes in the battle against Thanos when The Avengers: Infinity War blasts its way into theaters on May 4, 2018.