James Gunn’s 2014 sci-fi epic “Guardians of the Galaxy” was no slouch in the visual effects department, but the sequel is looking to outdo the original. According to the director, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” will feature the biggest visual effect of all time in the form of Ego the Living Planet, a character new to the film franchise played by Kurt Russell.
Russell and Gunn recently sat down with Empire to discuss the new character and what his introduction means for the film. Gunn recalled how it was Pratt who originally suggested Russell for the role during a casual conversation with the director. Gunn liked the idea and started writing the role for Russell before the actor had even signed on. When he did, the chemistry was apparent.
“The baggage I bring from some of the movies I’ve done is the right kind of baggage to bring into this one,” said Russell, whose ’80s action movie credits include leading roles like Snake Plissken in “Escape from New York” and Jack Burton in “Big Trouble in Little China.”
The father of Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord character, Ego the Living Planet debuted in “Thor” #132 in 1966. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the character is the result of a science experiment in which a planet was merged with a star in the process of going supernova. Ego is typically depicted as a massive planet with glowing eyes and a beard, but has been known to produce organic vessels for his consciousness. While Russell will likely play one of these vessels, the sequel film will also render Ego in all his planetary glory.
“We have over a trillion polygons on Ego’s planet,” said Gunn. “It’s the biggest visual effect of all time. There’s nothing even close to it. Which is cool.”
Gunn said Ego’s look was inspired by the fractal designs of Hal Tenny, an artist who was also hired on to help design the living planet’s environment. The results of Tenny’s work has already been seen in trailers, where the environments surrounding the “Guardians” cast are based on the naturally occurring shape.
Debuting in theaters on May 5, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is a production of Marvel Studios directed by James Gunn and starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell.