We knew several months ago that production on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was set to begin sometime in February, with principal photography taking place in Atlanta. Earlier today, Marvel confirmed that principal photography has started, while the studio also confirmed the long-rumored casting of Kurt Russell, along with two more franchise newcomers, Elizabeth Debicki and Chris Sullivan. Unfortunately, the announcement wouldn't confirm what characters these new cast members are playing quite yet, but there is speculation that Kurt Russell will have a pivotal role.

Back in January, a report surfaced that claimed Kurt Russell was being sought to play the father of Chris Pratt's Peter Quill/Star-Lord, but his character's identity has still not yet been confirmed. Writer-director James Gunn has said in the past that Peter Quill's father will not be the same person from the comics, J'son, and that fans will learn the mysterious father's identity in Guardians 2. The announcement also didn't reveal who Elizabeth Debicki and Chris Sullivan are playing, but they will be joined by the first new cast member to be added, Pom Klementieff, who has since been confirmed as the Marvel character Mantis.

The original Guardians, including Chris Pratt (Jurassic World, Guardians of the Galaxy) as Peter Quill/Star-Lord; Zoe Saldana (Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Trek Into Darkness) as Gamora; Dave Bautista (Spectre, Guardians of the Galaxy) as Drax; Vin Diesel (Guardians of the Galaxy, Furious 7) as the voice of Groot; Bradley Cooper (Joy, American Sniper) as the voice of Rocket are set to return. Other returning Guardians of the Galaxy stars include Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy, Jumper) as Yondu; Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy, The Big Short) as Nebula; and Sean Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy, Gilmore Girls) as Kraglin. Unfortunately, we recently learned that another iconic character from the original movie will not be returning.

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Last month, Benicio Del Toro, who played The Collector in Guardians of the Galaxy, confirmed that he will not be reprising his role in the sequel. The news isn't terribly surprising, especially when you take into consideration that the actor was recently confirmed as one of the new cast members in Disney's Star Wars: Episode VIII, which also started filming this week. No plot details have been revealed quite yet, but a report from last month claimed that both Yondu and Nebula will be joining the actual Guardians of the Galaxy team.

Kurt Russell is coming off a strong year in 2015, after starring in the blockbuster Furious 7 and a pair of critically-acclaimed Westerns, Bone Tomahawk and The Hateful Eight. The actor is expected to reprise his role as Mr. Nobody from Furious 7 in Fast & Furious 8, which is expected to start filming this spring. Who do you think Kurt Russell is playing in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2? While we wait for more details, take a look at director James Gunn's tweets below regarding this sequel.