Despite saving the universe and gaining a family, Rocket Raccoon, everyone’s favorite genetically engineered raccoon, still has a huge chip on his tiny shoulder in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5)
. “He’s a real jerk at the beginning of the film,” boasts writer-director James Gunn
of the computer-generated Marvel character (voiced by Bradley Cooper).
Apparently, Rocket’s not emotionally equipped to handle his new brood: Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista) and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel). “The first movie was about becoming a family,” says Gunn. “This movie is about being a family. It’s a lot more difficult.”
Behind the scenes, brotherly love came easier to Gunn, who beefed up his real sibling’s roles as both space mercenary Kraglin and as human stand-in for the four-foot-tall raccoon. Following the success of the original 2014 film, Gunn realized how helpful it was to have his brother Sean crouching around the set in a motion-capture suit.
“This time, we used Sean much more as an actor,” says Gunn. “I would do repeated takes with him as Rocket until we got it right because I knew we would use his performance. I was much stricter.”
While working on the sequel, Gunn had the most fun developing Ego, a living planet personified by Kurt Russell who also happens to be Peter Quill’s biological father.
Gunn explains: “Ego is an entity that has existed for billions of years. Over time, he has learned how to control the molecules around him to create mass, which has allowed him to create an entire planet around himself. From there, he can create even more lifeforms, including a physical form of himself. He's a very lonely character who has been alone for a long, long time. He went out in search of life and eventually found Peter Quill's mother and found some connection for the first time.”
Before a possible Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
, the characters will next swoop into next year’s superhero mash-up Avengers: Infinity War
, I come up with these ideas, then go away for seven months and write them in a cave. With [the Avengers
team], it's this big production where they're tying all this stuff together and figuring it out in a room.”
That’s fine, as long as Rocket lives to see another day.