The ‘Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2’ Trailer and James Gunn’s Lush, Vibrant, Mysterious Planets

Which one looks like Kurt Russell’s head?

Once you’re making the sequel to critically and popularly beloved (superhero) movie, you don’t really to tell much in order to sell the big number two. In fact, a few trailers in, we know remarkably little about what actually goes on in the probably two hour entertainment that will reach our screens in May. But as any geek will tell you if you listen to them long enough, the mysterious of the universe are very beautiful indeed:

Kurt Russel! Looking like James Gunn told makeup that he wanted a badass Jeff Bridges, capable of fatherly love and destroying expensive property if scene demands it. And Russel’s repping some expensive property: Ego the Living Planet, a Marvel character that Stan Lee created for Thor to stop once. A B-character, of sorts, Russell will the first personage to play Ego, who has taken on narrative capacities as Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) long lost and mysterious father. But is still, like, also a planet. In a chat with io9 last year, about why he decided Quill’s father needed to be a planet and not, like, a person who regularly walks the earth while not being the earth, Gunn said:

I like the idea of Quill’s father being an ancient, cosmic, incredibly powerful being who, just like Rocket, has problems connecting to other people because […] there’s nothing else like him.

While Gunn has, elsewhere, long reiterated that Russel will be playing a human-looking incarnation of the planet, it would be hella lame for Russel to not also appear as, in some form, as an actual lonely planet that our ragtag galaxy guardians land on at some point. Especially because Russel’s role in the movie as Pratt’s father is large:

And really, how can you have a guy called “Ego the Planet” in most of your movie and never show him in his natural and floating-in-space state? (especially since the decision to make Quinn’s actual father be Ego is entirely Gunn’s.) Gunn is a longtime fan of the badass performances that Russel has pulled off over the years and has described, elsewhere, Russell’s role in the movie as “Kurt Russell in his full glory expressing himself.” Considering how tame our first introduction to Russell’s Ego (that’ll be fun to type, come May) is, it’s safe to assume that Gunn has a few, maybe planet-sized, shockers in store for us.

While the new trailer tells us nothing of, you know, details, it is visually gorgeous, namely because Gunn has thrown in a hell of a lot of cool planets that we know nothing about. Could they be the caverns on top Kurt Russel’s sweet badass skull? For no reason at all, I imagine him chatting with Pratt, Mufasa-like, in the sky before setting corse straight ahead. Let’s take a look!

What a vividly luxuriant shot, something that Drax seems to have on the mind as well. If Guardians of the Galaxy betrayed a love of large and metallic Blade Runner-looking cities in between soaring through space, Vol. 2 appears to be setting corse for more earthy terrain. It also kind of looks like Dagobah, Yoda’s home in The Empire Strikes Back which I bring up in order to draw attention to the hella cool Star Wars-esque movie poster that Gunn let go of on twitter last night. Its getting mad retro-love, much like that gizmo that appears, earlier, in Chris Pratt’s hands:

The elderly dweebs of the world wide web have already identified it as an amply modified Mattel Electronic Football device, circa 1977. Pratt, however, does not appear to be using it to get any pre-Madden NFL action. The latest trailer shows him using it to monitor the arrival of a scheduled Abilisk fight that, if Gunn’s always-popping twitter isn’t lying, probably takes place in the first fifteen minutes of the movie. The nice pre-internet toy is probably among the many relics sitting in Quill’s bag of 1988 goodies which we can only assume a prime nostalgist like Gunn will be easter egging all throughout Vol. 2. Here’s to watching Drax crush a Cabbage Patch Kid and finding a Dukakis ’88 bumper sticker on the back of a spaceship.

The Abilisk, of course, has been getting lots of hype from Gunn and others and will probably figure as something like the initial action to gets Quill’s crew to hop along into the deeper caverns of space only “a couple months” after doing just that. It’s been plugged into every trailer so far, but here’s a nice snap of what to expect from the many tentacled beast:

TBH, all the chatter about the Abilisk just makes me think that it’ll be forgotten about midway through the actual movie and, hence, is something savvy to hype up now but it’ll give us a nice jolt when it does all those trailer-things, come May. Probably not atop Kurt Russel’s head but equally cool or creepy are the visuals Gunn has whipped up to give us some idea of of Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), Vol. 2’s other big addition, who will be the primary antagonist of the sequel. While stills have been passed around for the past month, its nice to see how, say, Rocket (Bradley Cooper) will antagonize her:

Another and even more retro-throwback, Gunn’s version of Ayesha is positively Fritz Lang-esque which is an interesting aesthetic mold for a contemporary superhero movies to be working in. Whereas, your average Zack Snyder joint hasn’t really quite moved out from under the dark and mean ’80s. Speaking of colorful aesthetics, here’s another neat and brave new world that Gunn also let loose last night:

Part Oz, part delicious Katy Perry-dream, it’s one hell of a landscape. Can totally see it dramatically turning into the gorgeous locks that once adorned Kurt Russell’s head. Who says we can’t keep it retro?