Every filmmaker has those projects that go from development to the reject bin without seeing the light of day, and James Gunn has confirmed that the stories about one such project involving the Guardians of the Galaxy is not only true but began shooting before it was canceled. Among the revelations made in the new book, The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Kevin Feige talks about how the Guardians of the Galaxy almost had some short prequel films, which would have introduced many of the characters and their backstories prior to the first movie’s release in 2014.
In the book, Feige says, “We toyed with the idea of doing short films on Drax, on Rocket and Groot, and on Gamora, leading up to Guardians. This One-Shot series would have led into the Guardians movie proper — which would have also been directly preceded by a fourth self-contained short film about a mysterious kid who loved fantasy things. Then you’d start Guardians. And half-way through, we would reveal that big space hero is the kid from the short. We thought that would be clever, but it was too much.”
Posting on his Twitter account in response to an article by Screen Rant, James Gunn acknowledged the lost prequels and went on to reveal that he had even shot part of the Rocket and Groot story before the idea was dumped.
“I forgot about this, but this is true. Not only did we plan it, we shot footage for one of the scripts (Rocket & Groot) – part of which was the first shot of Rocket shooting a machine gun on Groot’s back that we showed at San Diego Comic-Con.”
Gunn continued, “There were going to be 4 [spinoffs] – Rocket & Groot, Gamora, Drax, & Star-Lord. Only the Rocket & Groot script was fully finished, but it was also completely storyboarded. It was the story of how they met & I still think it’s true in my head canon. Also I wrote a role for Alan Tudykin it!”
“We didn’t end up doing it because I realized it was ridiculous for me to be writing & directing 4 short films at the same time as I was prepping an enormous world-building movie,” Gunn went on. “The 3 shorts were going to play before the 3 movies coming out before Guardians – which seemed like a good idea to get people to know them since everyone was telling us these unknown characters were going to be ‘Marvel’s first bomb.'”
He ended saying, “The 4th short was going to be Quill’s backstory which is really what’s at the beginning of Guardians now. It was really hard for me to admit it was too much for me & I was sad deciding I couldn’t do them (especially Rocket & Groot). But, you know, maybe someday!”
Considering James Gunn is thought to be ending his Guardians legacy with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, it certainly doesn’t sound like he has completely convinced himself of that, and if he was asked back to tell some short individual stories about the crew then he would clearly be on board. Having given almost a decade to the gang of ragtag heroes by the time the final film in the trilogy is released, who would blame him for having a hard to time leaving them behind for good.With Disney+ now becoming the home for many short films, it would surely be a perfect way to return to the franchise without the pressure of having to come up with a whole new movie plot.
Filming is already underway on the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, and will flow straight into Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which are due for release on Disney+ in December 2022 and in theaters on May 5th, 2023 respectively.