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Guardians of the Galaxy 3 Director Reveals Which Character Is Most Important to Him

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 had the chance to shine at San Diego Comic-Con 2022, with director James Gunn giving fans a taste of what’s coming in the second movie of the MCU’s Phase 5. The threequel will revisit the franchise’s classic team of a-holes while adding thrilling new heroes and villains, completing this chapter of the Guardians’ MCU saga.

While the threequel is still nearly a year away from its theatrical debut, fans at Comic-Con got to enjoy a first look at what’s to come in Vol. 3 as the space adventurers return for more mayhem. However, one of the biggest questions moving forward is which member of the team will be the central focus, especially with Chukwudi Iwuji’s High Evolutionary out for vengeance.

Part of the plot will revisit Zoe Saldana’s Gamora and Karen Gillan’s Nebula as they try to figure out what their lives are like without their father Thanos in the picture. On top of that, during a recent press outing at Comic-Con, James Gunn shared who the movie’s most important character is while fans get ready to find out what this third adventure has in store.

James Gunn on Guardians 3’s Biggest Character

Marvel

Speaking with Entertainment Weekly at San Diego Comic-Con, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 director James Gunn revealed who the movie’s most pivotal character is.

When asked about what was most important for the trilogy’s end, Gunn was emphatic in saying that it was “being true to these characters,” even noting that that’s why he came back to Marvel Studios to make sure Vol. 3 was done right:

“1000%, it’s being true to these characters. A lot of people know I left for a while, I wasn’t gonna do this movie. Then I came back, and the reason that I knew I needed to come back was to tell the story…”

Gunn pinpointed Rocket Raccoon as the character to who he has a “special closeness,” indicating that Rocket motivated him to finish his Guardians trilogy despite the behind-the-scenes controversy:

“And in some ways, in particular, I have a special closeness to the character of Rocket, and I knew I needed to finish telling his story. I knew that that was what started me on this journey, was seeing who he could be and who he was, where he came from. And the thing that grounded me initially in the Guardians, which, like you said, was 10 years ago this week, I went and pitched the Guardians to Kevin [Feige] and Lou [D’Esposito], the heads of Marvel, down in Wilmington, North Carolina.”

After initially being worried that Rocket was going to come off somewhat cartoon-ish in the movie, Gunn was interested in figuring out where Rocket came from and how his backstory developed, especially with the trauma behind it. And in Vol. 3, that all comes to fruition when Rocket realizes how special his family is after seeing it develop for so long:

“The thing that made me really want to do it was, when they told me about ‘You know, they were wanting to do this thing, Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s a talking raccoon.’ And I knew him from the comics, but it seemed as a movie, it was gonna be stupid. It seemed like it was gonna be like Bugs Bunny in the middle of the Avengers. Even though my career was not a big thing at the time, I wasn’t gonna do it, because I don’t wanna do something that doesn’t interest me. And I was driving home, and all of a sudden, I was like ‘Well, okay. Let’s say there is a talking raccoon, where does he come from?’ And I realized that, to tell the story honestly, he’s the saddest person or character in the universe, and that he was unlike anybody else and he was created in this horrible way, and we’re gonna learn a little bit about him as the story goes on. And then this film tells that story along with that family that he’s created along the way, and the jerky father he has back there.”

Rocket’s Journey Comes to a Head in Guardians 3

The story of Rocket Raccoon has been one of the MCU’s biggest untold mysteries for years, dating all the way back to his first appearance in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Both of the first two solo movies have referenced the horror he went through before he became the Rocket fans know and love, and now, that history will become part of the MCU’s expanding story.

This origin story was even cut out of the original Guardians movie in Phase 2 in order to make the film feel less bloated, which gave more room for other heroes like Star-Lord and Gamora to shine. Thankfully, after fans and the Guardians team alike pictured what that story could hold for Rocket, he became the sequel’s most important character and was placed front and center.

In the comics, Rocket was actually built by the High Evolutionary, who is now confirmed to be a part of the cast after being rumored for an appearance for most of the past couple of years. Now, the snarky trash panda will finally have the opportunity to literally meet his maker and come face-to-face with his past in dramatic fashion.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will arrive in theaters on May 5, 2023.

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