3:00 pm EDT, February 19, 2014

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ trailer deconstructed by director James Gunn

Fans of Marvel’s upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy were treated to a dream-come-true of a trailer late last night, and today director James Gunn has gone on record to talk about his favorite moments.

Fans and non-fans alike were attracted by the odd-ball teaser, no doubt wondering how a genetically altered raccoon with guns and a sentient tree could fit in the same universe. Jeff discussed the guardians on HeroHype a few years back, before it was announced as the MCU’s next venture into the cosmic side of the universe. In those days, it certainly seemed that Guardians would be too goofy of a project for Disney/Marvel’s blood.

By the look of the trailer however, James Gunn’s vision was exactly what the team needed to get off the ground. Gunn spoke to Total Film about his vision, the trailer, and when we can expect to see more.

Is Chris Pratt’s Star Lord influenced by Indiana Jones (with a little bit of Han Solo for good measure?)

Plenty of those shots from the beginning of the trailer look awfully familiar to fans of Raiders of the Lost Ark and according to Gunn, that’s no accident.

“There is probably no film that influenced me more as a child – no film that excited me more or that I loved more – than Raiders Of The Lost Ark,” said Gunn. “It not only influences how I see Guardians, it influences how I live my life.”

On Karen Gillan’s Nebula and Zoe Saldana’s Gamora


When asked how the two fiercest forces in the universe get into character, Gunn had a ball comparing the badass heroines to the incredible actresses that play them. “Zoe is about as un-intimidating as you can imagine! She gets in the zone the moment that cameras start filming – but before that she’s basically her loud, brash, completely lovable and goofball self.”

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It’s clear that neither Zoe Saldana nor Karen Gillan actually possess the skin color that they sport in the trailers, and that came after hours and hours of work from the makeup department.

“[Zoe] got it easy with the makeup – it only took about four hours to put on, whereas it took Dave Bautista and Karen Gillan six hours or more.” Of course, they only realized the full extent of Nebula’s makeup after they premiered the Comic-Con trailer.

“Well, a lot of shots in the Comic-Con trailer were simply shots from make-up and camera tests before we ever filmed, said Gunn. “I knew I wanted to add some shots of Nebula, as she’s super badass (we only had one make-up test of her in the Comic-Con trailer – and it wasn’t even Karen Gillan!)”

On not hearing Rocket’s voice and about Groot being his intergalactic partner in crime


Many fans noted that their only disappointment came when the trailer ended and they hadn’t heard Bradley Cooper’s Rocket Raccoon voice. Gunn has an explanation ready for those fans. “We’ve recorded most of Bradley’s dialogue already,” said Gunn.

“I suppose you would expect me to tell you he’s fantastic and his characterisation of Rocket will blow your mind – so don’t believe me and just wait to see (or hear) it for yourself. In all truth, we hired Bradley because he’s able to do both comedy and drama – it’s the thing I look for most in the actors on all my films – and to truly sell Rocket – for you to believe a Raccoon can talk (and blow up and shoot tons of stuff) we need a well-rounded actor.”

He went on to discuss how the creation of CGI characters can take time, even for a quick cameo shot in a trailer. “The shot of Groot in the trailer took a few weeks to create,” said Gunn. “But the development of his look and how he moves took the better part of a year. To create the line-up shot for the trailer, 15 people worked on Rocket and 15 people worked on Groot. That’s 30 people. For one shot.”

All the effort is worth it for Gunn’s favorite character, the humanoid plant named Groot.

“I love Groot so much I get teary eyed when I think of him sometimes. Essentially, all the Guardians start out the movie as bastards – except Groot. He’s an innocent. He’s a hundred percent deadly and a hundred percent sweet. He’s caught up in Rocket’s life, really.”

The subject of Rocket and Groot as intergalactic partners in crime came up again when Total Film asked him what his favorite scene to shoot was.

“There is no doubt that the cinematic pinnacle of my career is our cameras circling around a maniacal raccoon shooting a machine gun on the back of a living tree, and I say this with as much modesty as I can muster – because certainly it is not me, but the hand of God guiding us all as we make this film – but it just may be the pinnacle of cinema in general. When we shot it we were twirling around an empty space in a giant set. But I think all of us could see the raccoon and the tree in our minds. They were already starting to form. I can’t wait to share them with everyone in August.”

On using an edgier form of comedy in the trailer


Although the Nova Corps machine censored Chris Pratt’s middle finger for us, we’re pretty sure this is the furthest that Marvel has pushed the envelope, at least upfront in the very first trailer. “The movie has a lot of edgy humour,” said Gunn. “Unusual for a comic book movie. But we were encouraged by Marvel to take risks, so we did.”

“The ‘bunch of a-holes’ line is still in the trailer, which I love. That was an ad-lib I threw to Peter Serafinowicz on the day we were shooting. He wasn’t sure he wanted to say it – it’s not something British people say – but it works perfectly in the trailer.”

Although the trailer is fraught with tongue-in-cheek tunes and light censored swearing, Gunn wants the audience to know that it won’t be the focus of Guardians. “We never wanted the humour to get in the way of the fun or the emotional heart of the film – those things came first.”

On why they only included brief shots of Benecio Del Toro’s character and zero shots of Glenn Close’s character (HINT: It has to do with when the next trailer comes out!)


Marvel fans that knew to stay through the credits of Thor: The Dark World already got a good look at Benicio Del Toro’s character The Collector, but there are several other characters that didn’t get too much trailer time, and according to Gunn, it’s because he wants them in the next trailer.

“It’s important to add that we left out some of our coolest characters – Lee Pace’s Ronan the Accuser, Michael Rooker’s Yondu, and Glenn Close’s Nova Prime – because we want to save them for the full trailer in a couple months.”

To see the rest of the behind-the-scenes quotes from director James Gunn, check out the full article over at Total Film. If you’d rather rewatch the trailer over and over again until you have the whole thing memorized down to the last ooga chaka, we’ve provided it for you below. Enjoy!

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