James Gunn met with audiences for his World Building Panel at E3 earlier this week, where he revealed that Guardians of the Galaxy didn't smell like a good idea when it was first presented to him. The director's sentiment of hesitation may have very well been what ended up making the Guardians such a welcome surprise in the middle of the MCU. It is almost impossible to imagine the world of Guardians of the Galaxy without the direction of Gunn, so why the early skepticism?
"I know, for me, when I was first pitched Guardians of the Galaxy, it was something that I frankly (during) my first hearing of it, I thought it was not a good idea. I thought it was a talking raccoon, with these strange characters, I thought it was too weird. I thought it sounded to me, like when they first pitched it to me, as if it was Bugs Bunny in the middle of The Avengers. And I didn't think it was something that was going to work."
You have to admit that Gunn has a point. 5 years ago the whole idea of the cult comic book becoming a live-action MCU movie seemed pretty ridiculous to many at the time it was announced. And who knows? Maybe the franchise could have tanked under the direction of another director and set of writers.
Gunn's thoughts about the big screen adaptation changed after he did some questioning to himself and realized that the Guardians of the Galaxy is full of more complex characters than what the surface suggests. For Gunn, it seems that the emotional complexity of characters is what drove him to second guess the idea. He says this.
"I was going home, and I knew the Guardians from the comics and I really liked them, I just didn't think it was something that would fit into the Marvel Universe. But as I was driving home, I thought "OK, well, let's just take a moment to think about this." If there was such a thing as a talking raccoon, what would it be? How could it come to be?... and I actually found the answers to these questions were incredibly sad answers... to me that was the foundation of the entire Guardians of the Galaxy Guardians-Verse."
It's interesting to note that the talking raccoon that initially turned Gunn off from the idea of taking the project on was what ended up making him decide to sign on to direct. That early skepticism is exactly what helped Gunn craft the Guardians from one-dimensional characters into the massively successful, unlikely buddy action movie that it is today. Patty Jenkins was initially not sold on the idea of Gal Gadot portraying Wonder Woman and look how that all panned out. The act of second-guessing has served both directors well in creating comic book movies that don't feel like comic book movies.
Gunn is currently writing the follow up to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and again trying to find where the Guardians are going to fit into the ever-changing world of the MCU and the 616. A lot has changed since the first Guardians of the Galaxy and Gunn has a lot to take into account while writing the next installment and is considering "breaking the canon." Gunn apparently has a lot more sleepless nights to figure that dilemma out.