I'm not saying that "Avengers: Age of Ultron" isn't a massive success by most movie standards ($1.3 billion at the global box office and still going). But I think we can all agree that the film had its flaws. Most notably, there was just too much going on, too many characters and storylines for any one arc to receive its proper due. As a result, the movie felt somewhat unfocused.
But give Marvel Studios credit. They learn from their mistakes.
"Guardians of the Galaxy" writer and director James Gunn recently completed the first draft of the sequel script and said his excitement for the film, on a scale of 1-10, is a "72." Due to its cosmic setting, "Guardians of the Galaxy" isn't required to have as many tie-ins to the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe. This frees Gunn up to put forth original ideas without many restrictions from MCU overlord Kevin Feige.
This also allows him to focus his story more than other entries in Marvel's shared movie landscape. While "Age of Ultron" was forced to share screen time equally among a group of A-listers while simultaneously introducing a handful of new characters and setting up Phase 3 of Marvel's movie slate, "Guardians of the Galaxy 2" is concerned with further developing its existing characters.
"It's a very moving script," Gunn said. "Listen, one of the main things with Guardians of the Galaxy is not to add a bunch of characters, not to make it bigger in that way but to go deeper with the characters. And yeah, there's going to be the big things we've come to expect from those big battles and action sequences and things like that, big colorful locations and beautiful set pieces, and wonderful designs by visual effects artists and all of us, but what really matters to me is going deeper into the characters and getting to know them more emotionally. And I think we have a story that's really, truly true for everyone and it just happens to be about aliens.
"People ask for so many characters to be in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and they ask for so many actors who they want to be in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 but we actually have less characters in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 than we have in Guardians of the Galaxy 1 because everything is just getting too sprawling and too crazy for me in these superhero comic book movies," Gunn said. "And also in superhero comics in general. There's just too many characters so you can't concentrate on one and really get to know that character, and I really want to get to know the character that we know better, and yeah, we will be introducing a new character..."
A smaller cast and a more centralized story has to be welcome news for Marvel fans who were somewhat underwhelmed by "Age of Ultron." But what should they expect in the next installment? We already know that a few iconic villains will not be present due to copyright laws. We also know that Gunn followed through on a wholly original idea, one not based on pre-existing material which caused Marvel Studios to label it as a "risk," for the upcoming sequel.
"I did not get any help with the first draft of Guardians of the Galaxy 2 other than I wrote a scriptment which I've been working on for nine months, and I wrote that very, very in-depth scriptment which is a 70-page combination of a script and a treatment and it goes through every beat of the movie, everything, and I've been going through that and showing that to [Marvel Studios Boss] Kevin [Feige] and getting feedback and seeing what worked and what didn't, what characters work, what didn't. I mean, people will be disappointed - at some point I'll release - but I had another big character in my original draft and it was just getting too busy. I took that character out. And it's a character I like a lot and hope to work with in the future but I just didn't have room for that person, that character."