For the early part of 2014, most fans saw Guardians of the Galaxy as a giant gamble for Marvel. It was a sprawling space epic with little known characters and a director mostly beloved for his cool, hip cult movies such as The Specials, Slither and Super. But Marvel and Disney knew they had a hit earlier on, announcing a sequel at last year's Comic-Con before the movie even opened, confirming a May 5, 2017 release date. Thing is, they had no idea just how big of a blockbuster hit Guardians of the Galaxy would prove to be, or how prophetic that news was. Guardians of the Galaxy turned Chris Pratt into one of the biggest stars in the galaxy. And it excelled at giving us a group of characters who all 'stole' the show. Now, more than possibly any other Marvel movie planned to hit over the next five years, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (the official title confirmed by James Gunn) is the most anticipated. But what do we really know about it Guardians 2 so far? Quite a bit, actually!

Marvel and Disney are very good at keeping secrets. They let just enough information sneak out gradually as the movies near the multiplex. The really big reveals are saved for the big screen, when an audience is sitting in the theater, watching the movie. That seems nearly impossible in this day and age. But it helps to have a director who is as suave as James Gunn. He lets us know just enough to keep us satiated until that Guardians of the Galaxy 2 release date hits. And he is a master at social media manipulation. Over the past two years, he has left a trail of bread crumbs, making the anticipation something that is interactive and worthwhile for fans. He knows how to keep the home fires burning, so fans don't forget about the movie, and move onto the next big thing. It's a giant puzzle. One that is fun to see come together. Each piece will slowly shift into place as photos are revealed. The trailers will offer more insight. Soon, we'll be watching the movie for ourselves, with a comfortable sense that we know what is coming. But for now, the only thing we know for certain is that the entire main cast is coming back. And so is the director, James Gunn. First, let's take a look at the three main captains of the ship.

The Release Date

<strong><em>Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2</em></strong> Release Date

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will arrive in theaters this coming summer. It hits screens across the world on May 5, 2017. In fact, some countries will even be getting it earlier than most, which is true of most Marvel movies nowadays. The film is essentually kicking of the summer movie going season of 2017. Other studios are so afraid of this movie, nothing else is being positioned against it. There is not one other big movie hitting in this arena at this time. And it doesn't even have much competition in the following weeks, which means it should stay at #1 for most of May. In the meantime, we're sure to get plenty of trailers, TV spots and special Disney sneak peeks to keep us tide over.

Star-Lord

Star-Lord

Chris Pratt channels equal parts Han Solo and Mal Reynolds to create a unique new space pirate that audiences immediately gravitated too. This, despite the fact that he is a thief and womanizer known by many to be a straight up 'asshole'. As a young child, he was abducted by aliens shortly after his mother died from cancer. And the big arc of Guardians of the Galaxy 2 will revolve around finding out just who Star-Lord's Dad is. Throughout the first film, Quill experiences some major growing pains, as he learns to be a better person without losing his edge. He also learns how to become a leader, and what it means to make a sacrifice. The rest of the Guardians look up to Peter, and will follow him on many further adventures. While the search for his dad will definitely come into play, it isn't known what his next space quest will entail. During Comic-Con 2016, the idenity of Star-Lord's Dad was announced as Ego the Living Planet, who will be played by Kurt Russell. How he ties into the overall arc of the movie, though, is something that is being saved for the Guardians 2 premiere next summer.

Gamora

Gamora

No stranger to epic space odysseys, with three Star Trek movies under her belt, Zoe Saldana trades her Blue Na'Vi skin from Avatar in for the green hue of Gamora, a badass alien whose parents were killed in front of her as a young child. She's led a pretty rough life, being raised by the psychotic alien who murdered her mother and father. She's found a new home as part of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and is now pursing something that she never though was possible. And that is her own happiness. Even though she is trying to leave her past life behind, she has accumulated a number of enemies over the years, any of which might come looking for her. She is Thanos' favorite daughter. The most evil being in the galaxy will surely not be pleased to see she's decided to become a superhero. She also left her 'sister' Nebula fighting mad. It's more than likely that both of these forces will be back for revenge in Guardians of the Galaxy 2. How or why that happens, and how it pertains to the story is anyone's guess at this point.

Drax The Destroyer

Drax

It would be easy to say Dave Bautista stole the show as Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy. But then there's Groot, and Rocket Raccoon, and Howard The Duck...And that only scratches the surface. Whoever may be your favorite, Drax is easily one of the funniest ass-kickers in the galaxy. Even if he doesn't know it. That doesn't mean he has a hilarious backstory. Far from it. The man's family was killed. And he got his revenge. But helping kill Ronan only helped curb his blind rage and hatred. He's still not over the death of his wife and daughter. With Ronan out of the way, Drax is now gunning for Thanos. And it promises to be an epic showdown. While the Marvel characters most certainly do have a history in the comics, it's not yet clear if their ultimate battle will come in Guardians of the Galaxy 2, or perhaps their feud will stretch into Avengers: Infinity War Part 1. What ever happens with Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy 2, James Gunn has hinted that we will get to know more about his guarded personality and his former life as a loving husband and doting dad.