What happens when Disney takes you On Set of Guardians on the Galaxy Vol. 2? Behind-the-scenes sneaks and spoilers with 50 Things I Learned On Set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. #GotGVol2 This post is sponsored by Disney. All obviously awesome opinions are my own
50 Things I Learned On Set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
This may not look like much, but this is basically the coolest souvenir I own. And for months, the only proof that I was actually there – on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. It’s hard to believe, but about 1-year ago I was in Atlanta, Georgia, the filming location of Marvel’s next amazing movie, Top Secret Guardians 2 Mission. And I was about to take an amazing journey into the movies and behind-the-scenes. To say I learned a lot would be an understatement. There’s 50 Things I Learned On Set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Warning, LOTS of fun spoilers in this post!
First Thing’s First
Marvel takes secrecy very seriously. The first thing we did when we walked through the doors of the set was sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement and take a head shot (yes, Marvel now has my picture in their records) – basically promising that we weren’t going to spill the beans on anything Guardians. I couldn’t even imagine the ramifications of Guardians spoilers. Signing my life away, we were ushered into an elevator for our next stop.
The Storyboard Room with Producer Jonathan Schwartz
Talk about an entrance. We walked into the Storyboard room, covered wall to wall with these intricate pictures, drawings and illustrations. It was incredible, so much to take in. And in under 12 minutes, we were given a breakdown of the movie from Marvel Producer Jonathan Schwartz- following along with the storyboards. I couldn’t take notes fast enough. Here’s the fast facts:
We got to watch the sizzle reel, before it was released to the public. So. Flipping. Cool. Then Jonathan Schwartz got right into the storyline.
It’s been a few months since Guardians 1. Opening scene is of the Guardians saving a planet from a huge tentacle beast (remember from the ugly monster from the trailer?) – as mercenary work to pay the bills.
Spoiler, we’re going to see that tentacle beast a lot.
On this planet are people called The Sovereign, led by new character Ayesha (whom is rumored to be the main villain of the film).
Unfortunately, one of the Guardians falls back into bad habits – eventually causing a big chase/action sequence with The Sovereign and a huge rift between our super heroes.
The chase scene results in the Guardians on a forest planet, called Berheart at the time of this interview.
It’s on this planet that we meet Kurt Russell’s character, who they called “Jayson,” an intergalactic adventurer.
It’s here that we find out that Jayson is Star-Lord’s biological father, who has been searching for Quill for a long time.
The Guardians split up, some going with Jayson and Quill to Jayson’s home planet. Some stay behind. Whether the Guardians will reunite by the end of the film is one of the BIG questions that will be answered.
We will see A LOT of Jayson’s planet, according to Schwartz, a colorful space environment made of frattilized mantel bulbs – organic algorithmic drawings and mathematical formulas creating a big graphic images.
Yondu returns to the film. Also a father figure to Quill (a BIG father-themed history thread through the film), Yondu and his crew end up on Berheart as well, of course, meeting up with the Guardians.
More of Yondu’s history (sins, redemption, etc.) and relationship with Quill (past and present) will be answered in this film.
Because Yondu let Quill go at the end of movie 1, The Ravengers mutiny against their captain. Now led by Taserface (from the sizzle reel), The Ravengers take Yondu, Rocket and little Groot captive.
There is an eventual escape from the Ravengers’ ship, The Eclector, another huge action sequence that results in Yondu’s new fin look (and a really cool ode to Guardians 1 with a slo-mo walk of Groot, Rocket and Yondu down the ship hallway).
New character Mantis is introduced. She works for Quill’s father and ends up forming an “interesting” relationship with Drax over the course of the movie.
And of course, Schwartz ends the Storyboard room plot reveal to an empty space on the wall – filled with special sequences, spoilers, “herrings and unexpected character evolutions.”
The Awesome Mix 2 promises to be more awesome and will play directly to the story line of Guardians 2 versus Guardians 1.
From costumes, we moved to Props with a grand tour with Property Master Russell Bobbitt. This had to be one of the coolest parts of our set visit. I mean we touched the props used in the movie – and super cool Marvel weapons, I might add.
A little history on Bobbitt, he’s worked on Marvel props for Iron Man 1, 2 and 3, Thor, and a few Captain America movies on top of Guardians. That’s a pretty awesome resume.
Bobbitt got started in the film industry because his mom was dating a set decorator at the time. Bobbitt’s house burned down in a fire. So he ended up working for the set decorator – just to earn money for essentials like clothes and underwear. And that was right out of high school, non-union job – getting paid $1,000 a week. Since then, Bobbitt has barely had any time off since – in 34 years.
Bobbitt has never gone to school for his trade. He was kid that loved to take complicated things apart (like his mom’s record player) and put it back together. And he uses his learned skills all of the time. “We are all high paid carnies, really.”
Bobbitt is given a script. He then has to figure out what props the characters need and how they fit in the Marvel Universe. That’s a tall order.
For a movie like Guardians, all weapons need to be designed, engineered and manufactured in-house. There’s no “outer space prop rental store” that Bobbitt can use.
The weapons then get designed and approved by the director. Illustrators will come up with about 20 drawn versions, narrowed down to 4-5 for the director to choose from.
Once approved, the next step is to get with the actors to determine size, shape and use.
The Guardians weapons come in two forms – a really cool “close-up” version that’s real, heavy and great for those zoomed in shots. He then passed around Drax’s Laser Cannon of us to hold. HEAVY! Made of metal and had a drill motor inside to allow the barrel to spin while you pulled the trigger, this thing is massive to hold for even a few seconds. My arms hurt.
There’s also a lightweight version of the weapon made – with rubber, paint (metal Asla paint that costs $1k per gallon!), and a few movie tricks – so the actor can act without worrying about the weight of the weapon they’re holding.
He then showed us cases and cases of props. For the background characters alone, over 300 blasters/cannons were made for the film.
Does any props get reused? Definitely. Drax’s Knives and Gamora’s sword are reused from Guardians 1.
Remember that Walkman Quill wears? While finding replica cassette players is easy, the original Walkman headset posed a big problem. Allegedly Sony had a fire in the warehouse and all of the models were burned to the ground – leaving Bobbitt to search on eBay for headsets used in the first Guardians movie. 2 pair – $8,000 each – and they were not even the originals used in the movie, just models. Bobbitt ended up manufacturing his own – which ended up costing more than $8,000 to make $12 headsets. But now we have a cool headset story.
After holding a ridiculously heavy laser cannon, we walked over to the Ravengers belt collection, hanging up on display. Almost all of the 150 belts are cut, handmade and according to Bobbitt “steampunked the heck out of them.” Each one unique, like a piece of art – has a handmade holster for each, covered in gears, motherboards, 80s cell phone pieces, and odd electronics from surplus stores.
Color palettes of Guardians weapons were really important. Lots of research went into lasers, metals, coppers and heat – creating a palette of blues, reds, purples on the weapons.
Where to the weapons go post-filming? According to Bobbitt, there’s a “magical Marvel warehouse.” There new movies will borrow weapons from old movies. Crates of weapons for characters get shipped out to the next movie – saving money on props in the process.
Remember Ayesha from the storyboard room? Bobbitt happened to show us her carpet that gets rolled out by her chambermaids – because she’s a high priestess that “doesn’t walk on the ground.” Great story with that25 yard carpet. While Bobbitt showed the director lots of reasonably priced fabrics to use, the Production Designer wanted to use a carpet swatch from a piece in his office. So Bobbitt called the company and got 75 yards – so he could have backups. He didn’t even think about pricing since James Gunn approved it. The bill came later – $180 per yard – $13,500 bill for carpet. WOAH.
You bet, I touched that carpet. Velvety softness, all sewed, hemmed and rolled.
The next prop was a silicone looking plant, with very intricate details. In Guardians 2, Kurt Russell interacts with the plant and the camera moves up close to get the details – ventricles and veins and berries, hence the prop. Spoiler from Bobbitt – the plant ends up being its own life form that plays a big part in the storyline for the audience to figure out.
To end our props tour, Bobbitt takes out Baby Groot. All silicone and bendy, Bobbitt uses this model on-set as a reference piece for the computer graphics added later – posing him for scenes. There’s only 2 models, each with aluminum structure inside. Yes, we took pictures holding him!
James Gunn is very attached to Baby Groot, because he designed every piece of moss and sprout for this model. During filming, Baby Groot’s hip “broke.” James Gunn stopped shooting, so concerned about Baby Groot that he had to be sent to “Baby Groot hospital” to be repaired. Bobbitt had to carry the fixed Baby Groot over to Gunn to ensure that he was all better. “True story,” Bobbitt said.
The last prop we see is a bug. And I’m thinking “ok, it’s a bug.” But this bug was a really big deal to Bobbitt. Used in a scene where a Ravenger crushes and eats the bug, this little prop required weeks of design, a 3D printer, chocolate, black food colored honey and a lot of patience from the props department. Of all 12 bugs made at different stages of eating, only 1 whole bug survived the filming process.
For Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, props budget was $1.3 million. “Average” according to Bobbitt for a Marvel film.
From the Storyboard Room we moved into the costumes trailer. Yes, there’s an entire trailer dedicated to rows and rows of beautifully made, intricately designed costumes.
Costumes are upgraded for the Guardians – with a bit of a rock n’ roll/Rolling Stones kind of look. Lots of red leather.
The Costume department thinks of everything, down to the underwear, which I may or may not have touched Chris Pratt’s. Just saying.
There’s a back-up for every outfit. There’s even back-ups for those back-ups.
All of the leather costumes are extremely heavy. Case in point – a Star-Lord jacket weighs at least 50 lbs.
All costumes are organized by character, with exact measurements of every person nearby.
Lunch with the Crew
After a fun time at the props department, we got to eat lunch with the crew. It was surreal, hanging out and being “one of the folks that works on Guardians of the Galaxy.” There were tons of food – so many choices and so many people. You really got to appreciate the amount of people it takes to make a film.
The Coolest Interviews Guardians Interviews Ever…Obviously
Like all great movies, this exclusive behind-the-scenes look of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ends with a cliffhanger. My short time in Atlanta does not end with just this post. Stay tuned all this week as I get really up-close and personal with the actors (in full costume!) and the director in our exclusive Guardians 2 interviews:
- Chris Pratt – “Peter Quill/Star-Lord”
- Zoe Saldana – “Gamora”
- Dave Bautista – “Drax”
- Michael Rooker – “Yondu”
- Karen Gilian – “Nebula”
- James Gunn – Director
So be sure to check back daily on more spoilers, Guardians insider info, pictures of the cast in full costume and more!
Photo courtesy of Disney/Marvel
Filming The Most Awkward Scene
And for a final note, be sure to stay tuned this week as I share the most awkward scene filmed right before our eyes. I’ll give you my perspective from the set – and what Awesome Mix 2 song I may have overheard during filming.
Did you count everything up?
That should be at least 49 things I learned on set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. What was the last thing that I learned? Making a Marvel film is exhausting! Spending all-day on the film set of Guardians 2 was exhilarating and completely overwhelming for a mom that has never ever been to a live set. It was a dream come true. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – in the action as it’s being recorded for all of movie history. And I was there. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is in theaters May 5, 2017. You’re not going to want to miss this adventure.
What was the most awesome thing you learned from my on-set experience at Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2?
I was invited to attend an all-inclusive press trip to the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in exchange for this posting. All Marvel-loving opinions are my own. Be sure to follow Raising Whasians via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube for more of your of the latest Disney movie updates!