Guardians Unite! A Fun-Filled Q&A with James Gunn, Chris Pratt, and Cast of the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’

As audiences around the world eagerly await the release of the latest installment, the passion and dedication of the team behind the film shines through, ensuring that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will be a fitting and memorable addition to the beloved series.

The anticipation for Marvel Studios’ GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3 is at an all-time high, and the recent global press conference offered fascinating insights into the making of this blockbuster. With a candid Q&A featuring director James Gunn, Chris Pratt and the star-studded cast, we were treated to an inside look at the creative process, the enduring friendships formed, and the lasting impact of these beloved characters.

A Trilogy That Transformed Lives

When asked about his journey with the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy and how it has changed him, Gunn shared, “I think it’s changed me in so many ways. I mean, everything I’ve learned from Kevin and Lou. I think also, in terms of just this family of people, I’ve been really good at hiring non-jerks. Not only non-jerks, but people who are actually positive, compassionate, loving, kind people.” The director emphasized that these genuine connections made the filmmaking experience even more rewarding, citing fond memories of goofing around on set and watching his casts’ incredible performances.

Gunn expressed a deep sense of sadness at the prospect of parting ways with the characters he has grown to love. He revealed that while he will undoubtedly continue to see the cast members as friends, he will miss writing the characters, especially Rocket. This heartfelt sentiment highlights the profound impact that these iconic characters have had not only on the audience but also on their creators.

(L-R): Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Dave Bautista as Drax, Karen Gillan as Nebula in Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

The Power of Music in the Guardians’ Universe

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Another hallmark of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise is its memorable soundtrack. Gunn discussed the process of choosing songs for the films, explaining that he keeps a list of potential tracks and selects the ones that best fit the scene. “You know, I want to give good music to people by good bands. But when I’m writing, I put the music in along with the script. I write it in. But sometimes I change it. You know, some things on this, it was very difficult choosing the music for this movie because in the first two movies, they were basically all am ‘70s pop hits. In this one, you know, Yondu gives Peter Quill a Zune at the end of the second movie. And it’s, you know, music from the ‘70s, ‘80s,‘90s, 2000s.” He also mentioned the responsibility he feels to showcase good music from deserving bands, a sentiment that has resonated with fans who have come to associate the Guardians’ adventures with an iconic soundtrack. 

This dedication to curating an unforgettable soundtrack has resulted in a distinct sonic identity for the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.

Chris Pratt Reflects on the Guardians Journey

Chris Pratt opened up about his character’s emotional journey and his experience working with the talented cast and crew. As the trilogy draws to a close, Pratt’s candid reflections on playing Peter Quill and working with director James Gunn provided valuable insights into the dynamics behind the scenes and the character development throughout the series. Pratt highlighted that Peter Quill’s emotional arc has been defined by his search for identity. From the loss of his mother to the discovery of his father and his relationship with Gamora, Quill has struggled to find his true self. Pratt explained that Quill is a “a guy who’s constantly been searching for who he is,” and now that he has been stripped of his previous connections, he must confront his own sense of self and find his place in the universe.

Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord in Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

During the Q&A, Pratt expressed his deep appreciation for working with James Gunn and the rest of the cast, sharing that both the journey and the destination have been “glorious” with this team. Acknowledging the importance of being present and savoring the moments, Pratt reminisced about the initial skepticism surrounding the first Guardians movie and how they defied expectations to become a beloved franchise. This close-knit group of actors and filmmakers have not only created memorable films but also forged lasting friendships that transcend the screen.

Nebula’s Evolution

Karen Gillan shares her thoughts on Nebula’s development post-Thanos, stating, “She’s starting to flourish a little bit more, and she’s a little more willing to show vulnerability.” This newfound sense of freedom allows Nebula to grow and embrace her lighter side, forming deeper connections with her newfound family.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3. © 2023 MARVEL.

Reuniting with the cast for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Gillan reflects on the joy of working with her fellow actors, both on and off the screen. She describes the experience as, “It feels like two families or something,” highlighting the special bond they share.

As an only child, Karen Gillan acknowledges the unique challenges she faced in portraying Nebula’s experience as a scapegoat sibling. Through her journey as Nebula, Gillan has gained a deeper understanding and respect for those who have lived through similar circumstances.

The Empathetic Enigma: Mantis

Pom Klementieff, the actress behind the lovable and enigmatic Mantis, shared her insights on how the character has impacted her life and career. Mantis, an empath, has become a fan favorite, winning hearts with her sincerity, purity, and unique moral compass.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3. © 2023 MARVEL.

When asked about the effect Mantis has had on her life, Klementieff remarked, “It’s not Mantis. It’s like, Mantis and James Gunn. James changed my life.” She continued to express her gratitude for the opportunity to portray Mantis, who allowed her to explore deep, profound emotions and showcase her “super weird” side. Mantis’ empathy, she said, is a beautiful message in a world that often lacks understanding and compassion.

Discussing the evolution of Mantis from the comic books to the big screen, Klementieff highlighted the importance of creating a different version of the character. Mantis, in the films, brings more comedy, awkwardness, and depth, standing out from other female superheroes.

James Gunn chimed in, emphasizing the significance of Mantis’ superpower being rooted in emotions and empathy. This alternative perspective on power challenges the traditional macho, action-packed norms of superhero films. Mantis’ emotional strength, as seen when she nearly defeated Thanos, speaks volumes about her impact.

Mantis has been dubbed the “glue” that keeps the Guardians together. Klementieff acknowledged the importance of diversity in the team, stating, “They all need each other.” Mantis’ unique qualities and empathic abilities are essential to the team’s dynamic, proving that even in a galaxy far, far away, the power of emotions and empathy cannot be underestimated.

Kraglin’s Evolution in Guardians of the Galaxy

Kraglin, portrayed by Sean Gunn, has evolved from a plucky comic relief to a dependable foundation of support for the team. Sean Gunn explains how Kraglin, much like the other Guardians, had to determine his role within the group. He draws a parallel between the journey of the cast and that of their characters, sharing how he initially felt like an outsider being the director’s brother, just as Kraglin was on the periphery of the team. However, over time, both Sean and Kraglin found their place within their respective families.

Sean Gunn as Kraglin in Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2023 MARVEL.

Kraglin’s growth into a responsible and competent member of the team has led other characters to lean on him more and more. As his skills and dependability increased, Kraglin has emerged as an essential figure the team can rely on in times of need. Kraglin’s transformation throughout the Guardians of the Galaxy series showcases not only the power of character development, but also the ability of an individual to find their place within a group.

Diving into the Darkness: The High Evolutionary

Fans can expect to be thrilled by the introduction of a new villain, the High Evolutionary. Played by the talented Chukwudi Iwuji, this character promises to be an unhinged genius who experiments on living creatures in the name of science.

Chukwudi Iwuji as The High Evolutionary in Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2023 MARVEL.

To prepare for the role, Chukwudi immersed himself in classical music, particularly space opera, as the High Evolutionary is often depicted listening to this genre. Iwuji shared, “I thought of someone that doesn’t sleep, that’s obsessed with it, listening to this music. He needs the music as he wanders through his castle at night.” By connecting with the character’s love for classical music, Chukwudi sought to explore the depths of his personality and motivation.

To further develop his portrayal, Chukwudi drew inspiration from a speech in Shakespeare’s Henry IV, “Heavy is the head that wears the crown.” He reflected on the concept of a tortured soul, burdened by the weight of their actions, and the responsibility they carry. By considering these deeper elements, Chukwudi aimed to bring a sense of humanity to the character, allowing audiences to glimpse the person behind the villainous façade.

Will Poulter Joins Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Entering an established team can be daunting, but for Will Poulter, joining the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 cast was an exciting adventure. As the “new kid on the block,” Poulter shared his experience of being warmly welcomed by his fellow cast members. Despite being nervous about joining the team, Poulter expressed his gratitude for the hospitality he received from the cast. As a fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy, the opportunity to be a part of it was exhilarating. The support from the cast made the experience enjoyable, and the fun environment on set helped ease his nerves.

(L-R): Will Poulter as Adam Warlock in Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Photo by Jessica Miglio. © 2022 MARVEL.

James Gunn’s commitment to creating a fun and positive atmosphere on set played a significant role in making Poulter’s experience an enjoyable one. Surrounded by wonderful people from various departments, Poulter found the transition into his new role smooth and stress-free.

Introducing Cosmo: The Marvelous Canine

Maria Bakalova shared her enthusiasm for her unique role in the film – a dog named Cosmo. Embracing the challenge with open arms, Bakalova discussed her approach to portraying the energetic canine character. When asked about her initial reaction to playing a dog, Bakalova admitted that she was even more excited about the role. Taking on this character allowed her to be more “over the top” and tap into the limitless energy of a puppy. Upon landing the job, Bakalova was eager to explore the boundless possibilities of embodying Cosmo.

Cosmo (voiced by Maria Bakalova) in Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2023 MARVEL.

James Gunn praised Bakalova’s performance as Cosmo, noting that her talent and dedication shone through from the very beginning. The actress’s passion for her work was evident in her commitment to being on set even when she wasn’t filming. Bakalova spent countless hours observing and learning from her fellow actors, becoming an invaluable part of the Guardians family.

A Trilogy Apart: Kevin Feige Reflects on Guardians of the Galaxy

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige shared his thoughts on the impact of the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy during the global press conference for Vol. 3. He revealed how this trilogy has distinguished itself from other Marvel franchises, largely due to James Gunn’s unique vision. Feige discussed the significance of the Guardians trilogy in the MCU, emphasizing that it was the first film series to venture beyond the usual realm of superheroes. While still connected to Thanos and the Infinity Stones, the movies didn’t focus on the Avengers or other well-established characters. This bold decision to explore new territory stemmed from Marvel’s desire to diversify their content and not just produce superhero-centric movies.

(L-R): Sean Gunn as Kraglin, Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), Dave Bautista as Drax, and Pom Klementieff as Mantis in Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2023 MARVEL.

Kevin Feige attributed the trilogy’s success to James Gunn, who wrote and directed all three installments. Feige expressed immense pride in the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy, highlighting its unique place within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Bidding Adieu to the Guardians

As the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy concludes, Pratt reflected on the bittersweet nature of saying goodbye to the franchise, comparing it to the last day of summer camp when you’re unsure if you’ll see your friends again. Despite the uncertainty, Pratt expressed gratitude for the experiences and friendships gained throughout this journey.

(L-R): Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Dave Bautista as Drax, Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), Karen Gillan as Nebula, and Pom Klementieff as Mantis in Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2023 MARVEL.

Leaving a Lasting Legacy

As the curtain closes on the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy, fans can look back on a decade of thrilling adventures, iconic characters, and unforgettable music. With a talented cast, a visionary director, and an unforgettable soundtrack, the final installment of this beloved trilogy is sure to leave a lasting impression.

The cosmic voyage is about to begin, so grab your popcorn and get ready for a blockbuster experience that will rocket you to the far reaches of the Marvel Cinematic Universe!

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” opens today in theaters nationwide. Buy your tickets here.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3
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