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James Gunn Wants You to Know He’s Worked Real Real Hard on ‘Guardians Vol. 2’


Dangerous business, making trailers these days. When a beloved franchise unveils the first look at its latest installment, they can be sure that the devoted fanbase will go through each and every frame with a fine-toothed comb, on the hunt for any context-free images that may hint at a new character, location, or plot development. In the worst cases, a trailer becomes a maddening game of keep away between the editor cutting it and the fans itching to strip-mine it for spoilers. James Gunn, as he’s readied the first trailer for his upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy sequel, has had to learn this the hard way.

A new item from The Hollywood Reporter recounts the frustrations Gunn has faced as he’s pieced together the first look at his hotly anticipated next film. “With Guardians, people really go through every single little shot and try to figure out what the movie’s about,” Gunn told THR. “And there’s a lot of mysteries in Guardians 2… We were talking about how much to give away — and we’re not going to give away very much.”

Ensuring that the clip contains no snippets of any material that might ruin the many secrets of the film took care and attention. Gunn’s side project as screenwriter and producer, corporate horror film The Belko Experiment, recently debuted its first trailer, and Gunn saw a clear contrast between the two experiences. “You can show all sorts of stuff happening [with The Belko Experiment] and it doesn’t really give away who lives, who dies, what the outcome is, what the mystery is,” Gunn said. “With Guardians, it’s such an emotional and physical journey, going to all these different places. It’s like, ‘God, do I really want to show this planet we go to in the middle of the movie?’ … Those are always hard choices to make.”

In fact, the well-beloved trailer for the original Guardians of the Galaxy — the feel-good clip scored to “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede — almost didn’t make it:

That trailer tested not very well. We had another trailer that was very cheesy that sold the movie as something different than what it was — that tested a little better […] And at the end of the day, the [marketing] guys were like, ‘This is what the movie is. We are selling what the movie is. Not something else. You’ve got to sell the movie for what it is, and that’s what they did. They really bought my trust with that on the first movie.

The good news is that this heavily labored-over trailer will be released, to quote THR, “soon.” Now, all that’s left to do is wonder which super hits of the ‘70s will soundtrack this one? “Hooked on a Feeling” leaves big shoes to fill. What’s the licensing fee for “Move on Up” by Curtis Mayfield, I wonder?

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