Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a 2017 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team Guardians of the Galaxy, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and the 15th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Written and directed by James Gunn, the film stars an ensemble cast featuring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Sylvester Stallone, and Kurt Russell. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the Guardians travel throughout the cosmos as they help Peter Quill learn more about his mysterious parentage.
The film was officially announced at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con International before the theatrical release of the first film, along with James Gunn's return from the first film, with the title of the sequel revealed a year later in June 2015. Principal photography began in February 2016 at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Fayette County, Georgia, with many crew changes from the first film due to other commitments. Filming concluded in June 2016. James Gunn chose to set the sequel shortly after the first film to explore the characters' new roles as the Guardians, and to follow the storyline of Quill's father established throughout that previous film. Russell was confirmed as Quill's father in July 2016, portraying Ego, a departure from Quill's comic father.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 premiered in Tokyo on April 10, 2017, and was released in the United States on May 5, 2017, as part of Phase Three of the MCU. It grossed more than $863 million worldwide, making it the eighth-highest-grossing film of 2017, while also outgrossing its predecessor. The film received praise for its visuals, direction, soundtrack, humor, and performances (particularly those of Rooker and Russell), though some critics deemed it inferior to the original. It received a nomination for Best Visual Effects at the 90th Academy Awards, but lost to Blade Runner 2049. The sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, will be released on May 5, 2023.
In 2014, months after the events of the first film, Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Baby Groot are renowned as the Guardians of the Galaxy. Ayesha, leader of the Sovereign race, has the Guardians protect valuable batteries from Abilisk, an inter-dimensional monster, in exchange for Gamora's estranged sister Nebula, who was caught attempting to steal the batteries. After Rocket steals the batteries for himself, the Sovereign attacks the Guardians' ship with a fleet of drones. A mysterious figure destroys the drones, and the Guardians crash-land on a nearby planet. There, this figure reveals himself as Quill's father, Ego, and invites Quill, Gamora, and Drax to his home planet. Rocket and Groot remain behind to repair the ship and guard Nebula.
Meanwhile, Ayesha hires Yondu Udonta and his crew, who have been exiled from the greater Ravager community for child trafficking, to recapture the Guardians. They capture Rocket, but when Yondu hesitates to turn over Quill, whom he raised, his assistant Kraglin Obfonteri questions his objectivity, and his lieutenant Taserface leads a mutiny with help from Nebula. Taserface imprisons Rocket and Yondu aboard the latter's ship and executes his loyalists by releasing them into space. Nebula leaves to find and kill Gamora, whom she blames for the torture inflicted on her by their father, Thanos. While imprisoned, Rocket and Yondu bond. Groot and Kraglin, the latter having never intended to start the mutiny, free Rocket and Yondu, and they destroy the ship and its crew as they escape, but Taserface warns the Sovereign before dying.
Ego, a god-like Celestial that manipulated the matter around its consciousness to form his "home" planet, explains that he projected a humanoid guise to travel the universe and discover a purpose, eventually falling in love with Quill's mother Meredith. Ego hired Yondu to collect the young Quill after Meredith's death, but the boy was never delivered, and Ego has been searching for him ever since. He teaches Quill to manipulate the Celestial power. Nebula arrives at Ego's planet and tries to kill Gamora, but the pair reach an uneasy alliance when they discover a cavern filled with skeletal remains. Ego reveals to Quill that in his travels, he planted seedlings on thousands of worlds that can terraform into new extensions of himself, but only the power of two Celestials can activate them. To that end, he impregnated countless women and hired Yondu to collect the children, but killed them all when they failed to access the Celestial power. Under Ego's influence, Quill helps him activate the seedlings, which begin to consume every world, but Quill fights back when Ego reveals that he gave Meredith the tumor that killed her due to the distraction she posed.
Mantis, Ego's naïve empath servant, grows close to Drax and warns him of Ego's plan. Gamora and Nebula also learn of the plan as Rocket, Yondu, Groot, and Kraglin arrive. The reunited Guardians find Ego's brain at the planet's core as they come under attack from the Sovereign's drones. Rocket makes a bomb using the stolen batteries, which Groot plants on the brain. Quill fights Ego with his newfound Celestial powers to distract him long enough for the other Guardians and Mantis to escape. The bomb explodes, killing Ego and disintegrating the planet. Quill loses his Celestial powers soon after Ego's death. Yondu sacrifices himself to save Quill and dies in the vacuum of space. Meanwhile, Quill realizes that Yondu kept him to spare him from the fate of Ego's other progeny. Having reconciled with Gamora, Nebula still chooses to leave and resume her quest to kill Thanos by herself. The Guardians hold a funeral for Yondu, which Kraglin and dozens of Ravager ships attend, acknowledging Yondu's sacrifice and accepting him as a Ravager again. During the funeral, Gamora admits she loves Peter, and they become a couple.
In a series of mid-and post-credit scenes, Kraglin takes up Yondu's telekinetic arrow and control-fin; Ravager leader Stakar Ogord reunites with his ex-teammates; Groot has grown into a teenager; Ayesha creates a new artificial being with whom she plans to destroy the Guardians, naming him Adam; and a group of uninterested Watchers abandon their informant, who is discussing his experiences on Earth.
The half-human, half-Celestial leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy who was abducted from Earth as a child and raised by a group of alien thieves and smugglers called the Ravagers. Pratt, who returns as part of a multi-film contract with Marvel, said Quill is now famous throughout "the galaxy for having saved so many people... He feels like he's part of this group, a leader of this group. He's a little more responsible and trying to stay out of trouble, but not necessarily doing the best job." Pratt stated that working on the film forced him to come to terms with the death of his own father. Wyatt Oleff once again portrays a young Quill.
A member of the Guardians and an orphan from an alien world who seeks redemption for her past crimes. She was trained by Thanos to be his personal assassin. Saldana described Gamora's role in the team as "the voice of reason", saying, "She's surrounded by all these dudes who are so stupid half the time," and added that she is the "Mom" of the team, saying that she is "just a meticulous, detailed, professional individual. "Regarding Gamora's relationship with Nebula, Saldana described it as "volatile" and added, "we're starting somewhere very crazy but appropriate given where we had ended things off in the first installment".
A member of the Guardians and highly skilled warrior. Bautista waited for the final version of the script to not take "away from the magic", which he felt had happened when he read early drafts of the first film. He added that "I wasn't crazy about my part [in Vol. 2, initially]. It went a different direction than what I thought they were going to go with Drax," noting he did not "think Drax was that significant in the film". The part "clicked" for Bautista after the table read with the other cast. Bautista called Drax "more funny, driven" than in the first film, and having "a sense of innocence and heartbreak about him", despite "most people's first perception of Drax [that] he's just a big, muscly brute". Bautista's makeup took only 90 minutes to apply, down from four hours for the first film. He would have to sit in a sauna at the end of the day to get the makeup off, after his makeup test was found to be too "abrasive".
A member of the Guardians who is a tree-like humanoid and the accomplice of Rocket. The character began growing from a sapling at the end of the first film, with James Gunn intending for him to be fully grown by the sequel. Gunn eventually decided to keep him as "Baby Groot", which was one of the reasons the film is set only a few months after the first. Gunn described Baby Groot as the son of Groot from the first film, with Diesel explaining that "we're going to see this goofy, adorable, baby Groot [just] kinda learning as he goes." Prop master Russell Bobbitt created a 1:1 scale model of the 10-inch (25 cm) Baby Groot for filming, to use as a lighting reference and sometimes as a puppet for the actors to interact with. As Groot only communicates with the phrase "I am Groot" in different inflections, Gunn created a "Groot Version" of the script for himself and Diesel, which contains each of Groot's lines in English. Diesel used a higher register of his voice for Baby Groot, which was pitched up by seven to nine semitones depending on the take. He also delivered lines slowly to avoid any time stretching issues. Diesel recorded Groot's voice for sixteen foreign-language releases of the film (up from six in the first film). Sean Gunn provided on-set reference for adolescent Groot in the post-credit sequence.
A member of the Guardians who is a genetically-engineered raccoon-based bounty hunter, mercenary, and master of weapons and battle tactics. Sean Gunn once again served as the stand-in for the character during filming, with Cooper's performance also referenced. Sean Gunn said that "Rocket has the same sort of crisis of faith [that he had in the first film] about whether or not he belongs in this family", with James Gunn adding, "this is really about Rocket coming to terms with accepting his place within a group of people, which probably seemed like a good idea" when they were heroes together at the end of the first film, but now "he's just not very comfortable with the idea". Feige stated that the relationship between Rocket and Groot has changed, saying, "Groot was Rocket's protector in the first movie, [and now] Rocket is Groot's protector."
A blue-skinned buccaneer of the Ravagers who is a fatherly figure to Quill and member of the Guardians. He is also the former deputy to Ayesha. Yondu has a larger head fin in the film, to look closer to his comic counterpart, and Rooker worked with the prosthetic department to add gaps to his prosthetic teeth, "just like real teeth", to aid him in whistling as the character. Rooker explained that, for the sequel, Gunn "wanted people to experience more in-depth what Yondu was thinking and how he's feeling—a more serious Yondu." Rooker noted the complex relationship between Yondu and Quill where "we don't agree on things...they are constantly at each other's throats [but] Yondu truly cares about this kid." Gunn was reluctant to kill Yondu in the film, but ultimately felt that "this is a story about a father's love for his son, his ultimate love, so much love that he sacrifices himself for that, and that's what Yondu is. He is 100 percent Peter Quill's father" despite Ego being Quill's biological father. Before the release of Vol. 2, Rooker spent time on the set of Avengers: Infinity War (2018) to counteract rumors that the reason his character would not appear in that film was that he would die in this one.
An adopted daughter of Thanos who was raised with Gamora as sisters and reluctant member of the Guardians. Gillan stated the film would further explore the sisterly relationship between Nebula and Gamora, including their backstory "and what happened to these two girls growing up and actually how awful it was for them and how it has ruined their relationship", adding "we're [also] going to start to see how much pain [Thanos] actually caused [Nebula]... we really start to see the emotional crack in her character". While Gillan had to shave her head for the first film, she only had to shave half of her head for the sequel, taking away the underneath part and leaving the top. Gillan's makeup took two and a half hours to apply, down from five hours for the first film.
A member of the Guardians with empathic powers who lives with Ego. Executive producer Jonathan Schwartz said the character "has never really experienced social interaction", and learns about "social intricacies" from the other Guardians.Klementieff added, "She was really lonely and by herself, so it's a completely new thing to meet these people and to discover new things", comparing this to a child making awkward mistakes in social situations. Mantis and Drax have an "interesting" relationship in the film due to both being "complete odd balls". Steve Englehart, Mantis' co-creator, was disappointed with the character's portrayal, saying, "That character has nothing to do with Mantis ... I really don't know why you would take a character who is as distinctive as Mantis is and do a completely different character and still call her Mantis."
- Elizabeth Debicki as Ayesha:
The golden High Priestess and the leader of the Sovereign people, a genetically engineered race who are "gold and perfect and wanting to be physically and mentally impeccable." Gunn was "very specific" when writing the character, and after casting director Sarah Finn suggested Debicki, Gunn "knew right away that she was the one". Gunn highlighted the actress' beauty and 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) height. Debicki wore platform shoes to increase her height to 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)l
- Chris Sullivan as Taserface:
The leader of a mutinous group of the Ravagers. Gunn originally posted a photo of the comic book character on his social media after landing Guardians of the Galaxy, calling him "the dumbest character of all time" and saying he would never feature the character in a film. After eventually deciding to use the character in the sequel, Gunn felt the character had given himself the name Taserface and is "a real dumbass". Sullivan's makeup took two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half hours to apply each day.
- Sean Gunn as Kraglin Obfonteri:
Yondu's second-in-command in the Ravagers. Kraglin has an expanded role compared to the previous film—Sean Gunn explained, "In the first film he did a lot of just saying yes and being at Yondu's side, but in this movie things take a little bit of a different turn as Kraglin has a little bit of a crisis of conscience and has to decide whether he's going to stick with Yondu or join forces with the growing faction of mutineers."
- Sylvester Stallone as Stakar Ogord:
A high-ranking Ravager who holds a grudge against Yondu. Stallone likened his character's relationship with Yondu to a father-son relationship, and called the confrontation they have in the film "pretty intense". For Stakar's acceptance of Yondu as a Ravager at the end of the film, Gunn asked Stallone to channel the "That'll do, pig" line from the film Babe. Gunn described Stakar as "very important to the Marvel Universe", and said that "it's our plan to see more of Stallone" in future MCU films, though he was not sure then if that would include Vol. 3.
- Kurt Russell as Ego:
An ancient Celestial who is Quill's father. Pratt was the first to suggest to Gunn that he consider Russell for the role; he portrays an avatar of Ego who is more traditionally seen in the comics in his "Living Planet" form. Russell appreciated why he was wanted for the role after seeing Pratt's performance in the first film, feeling "That's my kinda guy. I know where that kind of goof comes from." He added, "I bring the right things [from previous roles]...I connected the dots from some of the things I've done in the past." Ego replaces Quill's original comic father of J'son, and was allowed to be used in the film after 20th Century Fox reached a deal with Marvel Studios to return the film rights of Ego for changing the power set of Negasonic Teenage Warhead, whom Fox wanted to use in Deadpool (2016). Gunn originally thought Marvel held the rights to the character, and stated that, had the deal with Fox not been made, there was "no back up plan, and it would [have been] nearly impossible to just drop another character in," given the extensive work done surrounding the character.For the film's opening sequence, set in 1980 Missouri, Aaron Schwartz served as facial reference for the young Ego.
Additionally, reprising their roles from the first film are Laura Haddock as Meredith Quill, Gregg Henry as her father, Seth Green as the voice of Howard the Duck, and canine actor Fred as Cosmo. Members of Yondu's Ravager crew appearing in the film include Evan Jones as Retch, Jimmy Urine as Half-Nut, Stephen Blackehart as Brahl, Steve Agee as Gef, Mike Escamilla as Scrote, Joe Fria as Oblo, Terence Rosemore as Narblik, and Tommy Flanagan as Tullk, as well as Charred Walls of the Damned drummer and Howard Stern Show personality Richard Christy in a cameo appearance. The other members of Stakar and Yondu's old team, based on the comic's original incarnation of the Guardians of the Galaxy, include Michael Rosenbaum as Martinex, Ving Rhames as Charlie-27, and Michelle Yeoh as Aleta Ogord. Also included in the team are the CG characters Krugarr and Mainframe, with the latter voiced, in an uncredited cameo, by Miley Cyrus. Rosenbaum had previously auditioned to play Peter Quill in Vol. 1. Gunn cast Yeoh because of his love of 1990s Hong Kong films, and Cyrus after admiring "the tone of her voice" while watching her as a coach on The Voice. He added that the team would return in future MCU films alongside Stallone's Stakar.
Stan Lee appears as an informant to the Watchers, discussing previous adventures that include his cameos in other MCU films; he specifically mentions his time as a FedEx delivery man, referring to Lee's cameo in Captain America: Civil War (2016). This acknowledged the fan theory that Lee may be portraying the same character in all his cameos, with Gunn noting that "people thought Stan Lee is a Watcher and that all of these cameos are part of him being a Watcher. So, Stan Lee as a guy who is working for the Watchers was something that I thought was fun for the MCU." Feige added that Lee "clearly exists, you know, above and apart from the reality of all the films. So the notion that he could be sitting there on a cosmic pit stop during the jump gate sequence in Guardians...really says, so wait a minute, he's this same character who's popped up in all these films?" Lee filmed several different versions of the scene, including an alternative where he references his role in Deadpool, which would have been the first acknowledgment of the X-Men film series by an MCU film. Gunn later admitted that the Civil Warreference is a continuity error, given Vol. 2 is set before the events of Civil War, saying, "I screwed up; I wasn't thinking. But I'm going to say that probably Stan Lee used the guise of a Fed Ex guy more than one time."
David Hasselhoff makes a cameo appearance as himself, when Ego shape-shifts to his likeness, while Rob Zombie once again has a Ravager voice cameo. Footage of Jeff Goldblum dancing as the Grandmaster from the set of Thor: Ragnarok (2017) is used briefly during the end credits, with Feige explaining that Marvel "thought it would be fun to put it in there" especially since the comic version of Grandmaster is the brother of the Collector, who appeared in the first Guardians film. Ben Browder, the star of the series Farscape, of which Gunn is an avid fan, cameos as a Sovereign Admiral. Molly Quinn appears as Howard the Duck's date. Jim Gunn Sr. and Leota Gunn, parents of James and Sean Gunn, also make cameo appearances in the film as an elderly couple on Earth.Jimmy Kimmel Live!’s Guillermo Rodriguez has an uncredited cameo appearance as a police officer on Earth when the seedling was terraforming.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 grossed over $389.8 million in the United States and Canada, and over $473.9 million in other countries, for a worldwide total of $863.8 million. The film had earlier surpassed the first film's gross ($773 million) by Memorial Day weekend, three weeks after release, with $783.3 million worldwide, and became the fifth-highest-grossing MCU film a week later. Deadline Hollywoodcalculated the net profit of the film to be $154.7 million, accounting for production budgets, P&A, talent participations, and other costs, with box office grosses, and ancillary revenues from home media, placing it ninth on their list of 2017's "Most Valuable Blockbusters".
Since tickets went on sale on April 24, 2017, the film was the number one seller on Fandango, and surpassed the advance sales of Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) in the similar time frame. Over 80% of sales on MovieTickets.com were for the film ahead of its release. Vol. 2 earned $146.5 million in its opening weekend in the United States and Canada, with IMAX contributing $13 million. The $17 million that came from Thursday night previews was the highest preview amount of 2017. The film had previously been projected to earn upwards of $160 million in its opening weekend,with Deadline Hollywood predicting it could reach the $179 million debut of Captain America: Civil War. It remained at number one in its second weekend, and fell to second in its third, behind Alien: Covenant. Vol. 2 remained at number two in its fourth weekend, this time behind Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, and crossed $337.6 million, surpassing the domestic gross of the first film. By its fifth weekend, the film fell to fourth, and in its next, fell to fifth. Vol. 2 continued to remain in the top 10 for two more weeks, placing ninth in its seventh weekend, and tenth in its eighth weekend.
Outside of the United States and Canada, the film earned $106 million in its first weekend from 37 markets, becoming the top film in them all except Portugal, Turkey, and Vietnam. IMAX contributed $5 million to the opening-weekend gross. The film also outperformed the original's opening weekend in all markets except Belgium. In its second weekend, the sequel opened as the top film in South Korea, China, and Russia. It had the highest opening for an MCU film in Austria, the second-highest in Australia ($11.8 million), the Netherlands ($500,000), Germany ($9.3 million), and the United Kingdom ($16.9 million), and the third-highest in New Zealand ($400,000), Italy ($1.4 million), and Russia ($11.6 million). The New Zealand and Netherlands openings were also the highest of 2017 for the countries, while Germany and the United Kingdom's were the second-highest. In South Korea, it had the biggest opening day ($3.3 million) and second-best opening weekend ($13.3 million) of 2017, the latter surpassing the original's entire earnings in the country. It also had the biggest May opening day and the third-highest opening day for an MCU film there. Ukraine had the second-largest opening ever, while in Puerto Rico, the film had the largest IMAX opening. More markets saw their gross for Vol. 2 surpass the total gross from the first film in its third weekend, with China following in its fourth. The next weekend saw Vol. 2's gross outside the United States and Canada ($451.1 million) surpass the international gross of the first film ($440 million). Vol. 2's three biggest markets in total earnings were: China ($99.3 million), the United Kingdom ($51.3 million), and Germany ($28 million).
The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported an 85% approval rating, with an average rating of 7.3/10, based on 415 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's action-packed plot, dazzling visuals, and irreverent humor add up to a sequel that's almost as fun—if not quite as thrillingly fresh—as its predecessor." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 67 out of 100, based on 47 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it a 93% overall positive score and a 77% "definite recommend".
In November 2014, when Gunn said he had the "basic story" for Vol. 2 while working on the first film, he also said he had ideas for a potential third film. Despite this, Gunn was unsure in June 2015 if he would be involved with a third Guardians film, saying it would depend on his feelings after making Vol. 2. In April 2016, Feige said the future MCU films are "still a big chess board for 2020 and beyond, but certainly I would say Guardians 3 is [one film that's] up there. I don't know what exactly the order will be." In March 2017, Gunn stated there would be a third film "for sure. We're trying to figure it out," also adding, "There are no specific plans for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. But we know unless something goes horribly—which is always possible, you never know—I think that Marvel would want to make another movie." He also reiterated he was still unsure if he would be involved with the film, and that he would figure out his involvement and his next project "over the next couple of weeks." The following month, Gunn announced he would return to write and direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
However, in July 2018, Disney cut ties with Gunn following the resurfacing of old, controversial tweets from Gunn. Pratt, Saldana, Bautista, Cooper, Diesel, Sean Gunn, Klementieff, Rooker, and Gillan issued a statement in support of Gunn. Pratt, Klementieff, and Bautіsta are expected to reprise their roles for a third film, though Bautista threatened to leave if Gunn's script was not used. Filming had been expected to begin in 2019, for an expected release in 2020. In early August, Variety reported that Disney was in no hurry to find a replacement director for Gunn, and was waiting for an A-list filmmaker to become available, even if it meant pushing the film's original February 2019 production date. Later that month, production was put on hold. In March 2019, Disney and Marvel Studios reversed course and reinstated Gunn as director. Filming of Vol. 3 will commence once Gunn has completed his work for the Warner Bros. film The Suicide Squad (2021). Chris Hemsworth has expressed interest in reprising his role as Thor in the film, after the character joined the Guardians of the Galaxy at the end of Avengers: Endgame. At the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con, Feige confirmed the sequel is in development.
By November 2020, Gunn confirmed that the script was finished. Principal photography is expected to begin in November 2021. Industrial Light & Magic's StageCraft virtual production technology will be used for some of the film. Vol. 3 will be released on May 5, 2023.