Marvel’s potential return to glory can be attributed to the resounding success of the final chapter in the beloved Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy. Audiences worldwide are once again delighted with the franchise, and much of this resurgence is owed to the creative freedom bestowed upon writer/director James Gunn. Despite being initially fired due to controversial tweets from so many years ago, Gunn’s rehiring granted him the autonomy he always wanted to craft the concluding masterpiece of the Guardians saga.
The entire cast of Guardians owes a great deal, and in some cases their very careers, to Gunn’s discerning eye. He handpicked a motley crew of actors to portray the unconventional characters from Marvel’s extensive comic book archives, and Guardians was very much a comic book series that had faded into obscurity until Gunn dusted them off. Today, these once-obscure characters have catapulted their portrayers into Hollywood’s A-list. Take, for instance, the transformation of Chris Pratt, whose journey from a comedic actor and ensemble star in the workplace sitcom Parks and Rec to a chiselled leading man began with his portrayal of Peter Quill, the infamous Star-Lord.
Reflecting back to 2014, the year the first Guardians of the Galaxy film graced the big screen, Pratt shared his mental metamorphosis into a superhero during an interview with Panzer TV. He emphasised that merely looking the part wasn’t enough. Inspired by Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, he made a decision that resonated deeply. Pratt decided to run off with the film’s costume, reasoning that if the movie achieved the success he anticipated, he could follow Wilson’s example and visit sick children in hospitals.
In Pratt’s own words, “I stole the jacket and some of the wardrobe so that, if this movie comes out and does what everyone hopes it can, I can follow the example of someone – say, like, a Russell Wilson, you know – and go visit kids”. Such a heartfelt sentiment. Furthermore, Pratt added: “If it was a big enough movie, to where it would mean something to a kid who’s sick in the hospital for Peter Quill or Star-Lord to come visit them, I’ll do that.”
Pratt firmly believed that performing such a compassionate act and brightening the day of a sick child would give the film a genuine purpose. It is evident that from the moment he stepped foot on set, Pratt regarded the opportunity before him with deep respect. He recognised the potential for the franchise to touch the lives of millions around the world and approached his role with true dedication.
The impact of Guardians of the Galaxy extends far beyond its box office success. It symbolises a reinvigorated Marvel, a studio that maybe will continue to allow creative visionaries to flourish. James Gunn’s return as the guiding force behind the final instalment ensured that the series concluded with the same passion and ingenuity that had made it a fan favourite, to begin with. And Pratt shows that the entire cast’s appreciation for their roles on and off screen is such a key part of the franchise’s success.