Why James Gunn Nearly Passed Up Guardians Vol. 3

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, in theaters now.

After success of 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy and its sequel, which has already earned more than $600 million, it's difficult to believe director James Gunn was initially reluctant to sign on to the third film in the franchise.

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Gunn previously discussed how difficult it was to say goodbye to Yondu in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but it turns out the ramifications of that creative decision nearly extended beyond the story itself.

“Let me tell you, there was nothing harder for me than the choice to kill Yondu in this movie,” Gunn said said over the weekend in a Facebook Q&A. “Michael Rooker, for all the crap I give him, is one of my closest friends in the world, and the last thing I wanted to do was to make a movie without Michael Rooker in the future. I almost didn’t do Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 because there was no Michael Rooker in it, and I couldn’t see making the movie without him. He means that much to me and I love him that much.”

Gunn explained his reasons for killing off Yondu, characterizing it as “the hardest choice I’ve ever had to make from a storytelling perspective."

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“I wrote a bunch of treatments where Yondu did not die," he continued. "There were other endings — he was saved at the last minute after taking the sacrificial stance, and I wrote many drafts like that. And I realized I was being dishonest. That was not what this story was. For me, the most important thing in making a movie is to tell the truest and most honest story possible, and that’s whether you’re making a $500,000 indie film or a $200 million spectacle film. And the truth of this story, this was about a father’s true and ultimate love for his son. This is a movie about, Who really are our fathers? Who really are our siblings? And the only way for it to be an honest story was for Yondu to die, and anything else would have been half measures, and would have been me backing out because I was afraid to tell the truth. And so that’s why Yondu dies.”

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 stars Chris Pratt as Star-Lord, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer, Vin Diesel as Baby Groot, Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon, Michael Rooker as Yondu Udonta, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Elizabeth Debicki as Ayesha, Chris Sullivan as Taserface, Sean Gunn as Kraglin, Glenn Close as Irani Rael and Kurt Russell as Ego.

(via Entertainment Weekly)

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