On Friday, April 26th, the cast and crew of Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 – stars Chris Pratt, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Will Poulter, Chukwudi Iwuji, Sean Gunn, and Maria Bakalova; director James Gunn; and producer Kevin Feige – sat down for a virtual press conference moderated by actor Nathan Fillion to answer questions about the conclusion of the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy and what makes this movie the rousing and supremely sentimental success it is. Below, we summarized the five most important things we learned.
1. This is James Gunn’s swan song.
It should go without saying given that he’s now the co-CEO of DC Studios, but Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will indeed be writer-director James Gunn’s last film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the time being. “I’m not gonna be writing the characters again, at least not in the near future,” Gunn said. “And so, that’s a real sadness, yeah.” Still, a title card at the end of the film indicates that at least one Guardian is set to return, so never say never…
2. Star-Lord remains in search of “who he is.”
In Avengers: Infinity War, the Gamora who had been traveling the galaxy with her fellow Guardians is murdered by Thanos. Another Gamora returns in Avengers: Endgame, but this Gamora has no memories of her time with the Guardians – or Peter. Despite Peter’s attempts to “win her back” in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, he has to accept that he can’t look to other people to define himself.
“He’s a guy who’s constantly been searching for who he is,” Pratt said. “And then he found it again in his relationship with Gamora. And so, when that’s stripped away from him, he’s a guy who’s realizing that all of these various people that he’s found that are “Quill,” none of them have been the real him. And so he’s lost.”
3. This film features a “new”(ish) Nebula.
Karen Gillan’s Nebula has gone on quite the journey since debuting in the MCU in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, evolving from villain to anti-hero to full-time member of the Guardians. “I think, you know, post-Thanos being eliminated from her life, she’s starting to flourish a little bit more and she’s starting to have a lighter personality and she’s a little more willing to show vulnerability,” Gillan said.
Gillan also noted how playing Nebula helped her grow her understanding of what it’s like to be a “scapegoat sibling,” as she’s an only child. “Nebula was definitely [a scapegoat sibling],” Gillan said. “She was never the golden child… and so, that was a really sort of interesting exploration for me, [and] I just have so much respect for people who have gone through that.”
4. The reason the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy stands out? James Gunn.
This isn’t Marvel’s first trilogy – Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, and most recently, Ant-Man, have come before – but it is perhaps its best, and Kevin Feige got to the heart of why that is. “You know, we’ve had trilogies before,” he said. “We’ve had a number of them actually. And I was thinking, why does this feel so different and so much of a passage of some sort? And it’s because Guardians really was the first movie that was completely outside of the realm… it was really out attempt of saying, ‘we don’t just wanna do superhero movies.'”
Ultimately, his praise was for Gunn directly. “It worked entirely because of James Gunn,” he said. “It just feels like this trilogy, and James writing and directing all three of them, represents something unique within the pantheon of the MCU, [and] that I’m very proud of.”
5. How did Gunn follow up two hit soundtracks for Awesome Mix Vol. 3?
The Guardians of the Galaxy franchise has been known for its needle drops since the first film, and both Awesome Mix Vol. 1 and Awesome Mix Vol. 2 were huge hits. So how do you follow those two and also craft a soundtrack that sends this entire trilogy out on a high?
“You know, I want to give good music to people by good bands,” Gunn said. “[And] when I’m writing, I put the music in along with the script… [and] I mean, I keep a list of like hundreds of songs that would be ‘Guardians Three’ type songs. But mostly it’s just like ‘what fits the scene.’ And often times it’s a song I don’t know very much.” And even with no clear method to his madness, he’s still delivered another banger.