Put in that mix-tape, strap into your seat because Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 favs Star-Lord, Rocket, Gamora, Drax  and Baby Groot are all returning for another adventure.

This time around, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) aka Star-Lord finally meets his dad (Kurt Russell), an otherworldly being who wants to pass on some legacy to his (mostly) human son. The Guardians try to help out while also dealing with a supreme race (lead by Elizabeth Debicki), who are not happy with the Guardians. Nebula (Karen Gillan), Yondu (Michael Rooker) and Kraglin (Sean Gunn) are back for more, along with newbies to the cast, Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and Stakar Ogord (Sylvester Stallone). 

At the recent press day, we sat in on a great conversation with all the stars, director James Gunn and Marvel guru Kevin Feige. Here are 10 things we took away:


On any initiation for the new cast members:

Elizabeth Debicki: My first day on set was when we were shooting in the throne room, and I was obviously terrified of playing this extremely powerful creature. And, which is a great juxtaposition in your head, and I remember so sitting up on the throne for a long time and all the Guardians were in front of me. It was so intimidating, and it was about two hours before we spoke to each other, I think. And they all came up in this line to sort of come and say hello. And I was like, please come and say hello to me! Someone say hello. And then that was fine after that.

Sylvester Stallone: Oh, the kind of initiation, what, they kept us all up all night, snapped up some wet towels. You know, donate blood, things like that. Actually it was pretty painless. It was interesting because I love action films, but I haven’t ventured into the genre, so it was quite an experience. When I walked on the set, you know, you see robots and things and seven-feet woman, who is seven-foot tall and everything else, I thought it was great. It’s better than being up a tree in Burma. You know what I mean?

Kurt Russell: They do this weird thing. I didn’t quite know what to make of it. You have to do this thing, you have to go to Chris [Pratt’s] house… You have to bring over some food to begin… No, I was, listen, you know, the truth is that when I read the script I wanted to make sure I was kind of understanding it correctly and I hadn’t seen the first movie. I’m not much of a moviegoer, but I knew that everybody loved it. And I also knew that everybody all of a sudden, one day I was doing Hateful Eight stuff like this, and all of a sudden, boom, boom, boom, boom, my phone and the people around me are saying, “Are you gonna do? Oh that’s great, are you gonna be Star Lord’s dad? Are you gonna be Peter Quill’s father and are you gonna do Guardians of the Galaxy?” I just was like, “Guys, I don’t really know what they’re talking about.” And then I saw the movie and when I saw the movie, I immediately started getting it. I also immediately started wanting to do it. What you don’t want to do is do something that’s gonna make them not like the second one, right? I told James that. I said, “I don’t want to mess this thing up, so I need your help.”


On having Kurt Russell as a dad:

Chris Pratt: You know, there’s this thing that happens… when you meet someone who’s an icon, someone that you’ve known way longer than they’ve ever known you and you’ve seen all their stuff and you have this opportunity from time to time, if you’re lucky, to work with someone like Kurt Russell. You promised yourself you’re not gonna do the thing where you geek out and, but it’s a little inauthentic if you don’t because if you just go in there and you be like, “Oh what is it, Kurt? Hey, nice to meet you. Chris.” And I don’t acknowledge the fact that how much I love him and what a fan I am, if you don’t get that out of the way, then it feels a little inauthentic. So I think I did that immediately, and then that takes, it doesn’t really take that long to tell someone that you really love them, you really respect their work, and for them to go, yeah thanks. And then, that’s it. At that point, you move forward and there’s this really cool thing that is probably the one thing I never would’ve imagined looking for when I first moved to Hollywood, but like the greatest, the greatest part of it, the biggest secret is you, is you become somebody’s friend and somebody’s peer rather than a fan. And that’s really nice, and I think Kurt and I have become friends. We connected on a lot of things outside of just the movie. And you know, I have his cell phone number and I’ll give it to each and every one of you.

On Russell coming back to the Disney family:

Russell: I feel like I do have a special relationship with Disney, but the truth of the matter is, every time you go to work, you got to make the team. Doesn’t make any difference what movie, what television show, whatever it is. You have to go in there and hopefully make them feel good about the decision they made to hire you. That’s just the way it is. You can’t walk in there and go, hey. Done a bunch of stuff, you’ve all seen it, haven’t you? So we’re good, right? It’s like, so what? You have to, you’re only as good as your last at-bat. So I just wanted to make the team. I wanted to be helpful, wanted to be good, and I was very, very fortunate I ran into a team that had a terrific manager. He really knows his world. He also knows how to execute. He has cast these people perfectly. Perfectly. And it was gonna be hard for me to measure up to that, I knew that. And asked him a lot of questions, drove him a little bit nuts.

James Gunn: He does. He talks a lot. He’s got to discuss everything. It’s like wrestling with a playful bear every day on set.

Russell: A circus bear. Goldie said, “I’m stealing that one.”


On getting the sequel right:

James Gunn: I wanted to continue the film from the first movie, you know. It was, so many sequels are not good. The primary reason in studying them seemed to be that so many of them just kind of do the same thing the first movie did with different template, and so they say, oh people liked the dance-off in the first movie, so what’s our version of the dance-off? People liked “We are Groot” in the first movie, what’s our version of “We are Groot”? And instead of doing that, we really tried to let these characters grow and change. We want to watch them become new people and different people in every film that we come up with. And I think allowing them to be themselves and do their thing, I know that sounds strange because I’m writing what they say, but sometimes I’m just letting I happen inside my own imagination and letting the characters go where they wanted to go. I think the thing that I didn’t want to mess up was just trying to be a rehash of the first movie. I think people were surprised by the first movie, people have been surprised by the second film, and to give people something new and something different from what they already had.

On that adorable Baby Groot:

Gunn: Yeah, we had a statue of little Groot, so we had a nice maquette that we had made and you know, he was designed beforehand and so we kind of had him around and there were great times and moments on set. When we just have this adorable little statue we would have standing there, and we’d have the scene and all the stuff would be going on and these guys would be acting their butts off and really putting their hearts and souls, and all of a sudden Chris would look over at that little guy and go, “Damn it, he’s gonna steal the whole movie!” You know? And I would be like, “Oh let’s get a host over here because I think Groot’s gonna be trying to get a bug while the scene is happening.” Chris is like, “Really? Groot’s gonna be trying to get a bug while I’m crying about my father?”


On the makeup process:

Zoe Saldana: It can take a long time. I just, I talk my team to death. I’ve been saying this, I don’t shut up, from 2:30 in the morning until we’re on set and James says “Action!” I just keep talking and I feel like that’s how I get time to go by, because if not, I’ll just go crazy. There’s not much to do at 2:30 in the morning besides sleep, so you can’t eat, you can’t really move around that much because they need your hands and your face and your mouth needs to be shut because if you open your mouth you’re going to get a whole bunch of green paint sprayed into your mouth. So you just, you’re on your phone and you talk in between.

Karen Gillan: For me actually it’s sort of become of my like ritual of getting into character and it was quite interesting, like I did this rehearsal as Nebula one time, not under makeup and I just didn’t feel like her. It’s like, like an imperative part of the process for me now. It’s like, and I literally get to wear her skin, which is like the closest I can get to her, so that’s kind of cool.

Sean Gunn on channeling Rocket AND playing Kraglin:

Sean Gunn: Well, it’s interesting, you know, I mean… when you act there’s both the input and the output. The input is the work you put into it and what you do on set and then the output is what you see onscreen, so for me the input is very similar for both characters, but the output is, is totally different because it takes a whole team of people to make Rocket. So, you know, I’m just a member of that team. But yeah, it’s interesting in this movie because Rocket and Kraglin have a few scenes that they’re in together, juggling the two things was a very strange and challenging experience for me. But I love it. I love both characters and I, you know, I’m just really grateful to be a part of it.

Saldana: It’s amazing. I don’t think that, that people really understand that what Sean does just for the movie, like the references, like the intonation; he’s so limber as well, so he manages to get like to shrink and curl up and be this big, so he’s always like Rocket-size and he gives us all the passion and all the dynamic that we need to have from Rocket because Rocket is the sassiest character of the Guardians and I don’t think that we would be able to respond to Rocket and more, like more like Drax and Quill and you know, Nebula, too. Like nobody would be able to respond to Rocket the same way if Sean wasn’t playing him.


And I know that Sean serves as the perfect reference for Bradley [Cooper], because in post, I know for a fact that whatever you leave there behind for Bradley, it’s just what he needs to sort of catch up on everything that he’s missed when we’ve spent those four months shooting and James Gunn and I were talking about that last night that it’s just how like the Rocket of, the voice of Rocket in this second movie, it’s not that it’s been improved because it was wonderful in the beginning because you just, you leave it there for everybody to sort of pick up and it’s, I’m not saying that Bradley picks it up, but Bradley really has the perfect reference and then he paints over it, you know, as an actor and he adds his nuances and everything but still, it’s just Rocket is really composed of two very important people.

Kevin Feige: I’m happy to talk about how great Sean Gunn is, all day long. And in this movie Kraglin obviously does a lot more and there are a few moments where Kraglin brings the emotion and really sort of puts it over the top for me as I watch it. And although nobody else in this cast is allowed to talk about it, Rocket has encountered other Marvel characters and I will tell you all of the actors have had an amazing time with Sean, as he brings Rocket to life and they can start acting off of him. It’s really impressive.

Saldana on what other sci-fi movie she’d love to be in:

Saldana: Dune. I was Lady Jessica like every other Halloween, and when I wasn’t Lady, when I wasn’t a Bene Gesserit, I was a ninja. So I would love to be in Dune. And I heard that Denis Villeneuve is thinking, he’s revisiting and I hope he decides to do it, because I’m one of those people that think David Lynch did a great job, but I was six when I saw Dune.

Stallone on something out there he still wants to do:

Stallone: The only thing I haven’t done is really perform brain surgery on myself. I’ve been very, very lucky and you know, I’ve spared Shakespeare undue stress by not doing that. Yeah, I don’t think it works. You’ve got to know your strengths and your weaknesses, so this is definitely venturing into a new area which, and it takes a lot of skill to work in these films. It’s one thing to do kind of action movies I do, but this thing it’s… there’s a lot to it and I was very, very impressed by the patience and the professionalism and just the overall skill set that these people possess.


On the meaning of family:

Saldana: You know, the reason that I love Guardians is that all of these characters are, not only do they look different, it’s because whatever color of their skin or fur on their backs is sort of like describing to you how different they are in the inside from each other. Yet there’s this increasing desire to belong and be accepted and be loved and not be abandoned, you know, and I don’t see the Guardians as these awesome, kicking ass superheroes. I see them as these really delicate people that are just trying to get by day-by-day and the found ways through, by being like a-holes, that became like the [LAUGHTER] defense mechanism. So I’m very familiar with that sort of aspect of a family; people that survive so many things and they teach you to always give the benefit of the doubt, to keep looking within, because there is a very special person behind all that tough skin, all those walls, I guess.

Dave Bautista: For myself, I think family is the people you care about and people who care about you and just love you regardless, that don’t judge you and you don’t have to feel awkward and self-conscious about, around… and they don’t necessarily have to be your blood family. You’re not tied down to the people you’re born with and grow up with. I think anybody can be your family member, you make them your family members. You invite them into your lives and love them and care for them and even if, to me, like my dogs, my dogs are my children now. I love them more than, you know, most people in the world. But I think, that’s it. It just doesn’t have to be one definition to family. I think just the people you love in your lives, like these people up here are like, we’re a family, you know. I think that’s what it is and I think that’s the message of our film, that you know, even though families may be dysfunctional, it’s still at the end of the day, do you love this person? Do you care for this person? Would you do anything for this person? And if that answer is yes, then they are your family.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 opens wide this Friday.