Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2: Characters–Chris Pratt

CHRIS PRATT as Star-Lord-Peter Quill

Chris Pratt reprises the role that propelled him into Marvel fandom and leading-man status.

Having now saved the galaxy once, the half-human intergalactic adventurer known as Star-Lord is newly famous and keenly aware of it.

When the Guardians’ newfound notoriety brings Quill’s long-lost father back into his life, his bond with the other Guardians will be put to the test.

On casting Chris Pratt as Star-Lord-Peter Quill, James Gunn says, “When I was auditioning StarLord the first time around I was looking for somebody who’d come in, do everything that was on the page, do it well, do it in a funny way, but also give that a little something extra that made Peter Quill a little bit of a different character. And Chris came in and did that immediately. Chris is a very unique movie star in that he is a combination of being a big, masculine guy but also a very vulnerable guy. He has a vulnerability that the classic movie stars hint at, whether it’s Humphrey Bogart or Gary Cooper. Chris really brings that to life on the screen, and I think that’s what makes him a truly modern-day movie star.”

For Pratt, “Guardians of the Galaxy” afforded him the vehicle to showcase both his comedic and physical talents in a way that he had not been able to do on film. “What appealed to me the most about this character was the opportunity to add my own personal brand of humor into it,” comments Pratt. “This was something that I knew I could do that was unique to me, and I had been dying for an opportunity to do that. I wanted to do something that was both comedic and physical. This role is a comfortable space to do that. What is so exciting to me is that I can just do the best version of my best stuff with Star-Lord.”

Describing where we find Peter Quill in the new story, Gunn relates, “As you know, the first ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ is about Peter’s relationship to his mother and coming to terms with that. The second movie is about Peter Quill’s relationship to his father and his other fatherly figures. Yondu is obviously a fatherly figure to him. And then he meets his actual father, Ego, played by Kurt Russell, who is in a lot of ways everything he wanted. He is coming to terms with things. His feelings of abandonment, how he feels about his real father’s life, which is very different from his own, etc.”

Pratt offers insight on the importance of Peter’s quest to find his true parentage. “Quill is desperate to know who his dad is and dreamed his whole life that his dad was somebody special, somebody important, somebody cool,” says Pratt. “So when Quill finally meets his

bigger-than-life father, who’s been searching for him, it fills this giant void that he’s had in his heart his whole life.”

In the course of the film, Quill finds himself reexamining his relationship with Yondu as well. “Of course, he’s always looked at Yondu, who abducted him, as being the guy who threatened to eat him or was hard on him,” Pratt says. “But he learns through the course of this film that the relationship is more of a father/son dynamic than he could’ve ever expected to get from anyone else.”

And what can audiences expect from the evolving relationship between Quill and Gamora? Pratt hints, “There is chemistry there and an attraction and this second movie doesn’t ignore that. It picks up where it left off. We realize that there is something more going on between Quill and Gamora than any of the other Guardians know, or any of the audience has ever known.”

He adds, “Gamora’s not the most vulnerable person and not super open to being vulnerable. So Quill is trying to get her to emote and to express her feelings. Through the course of this movie, that happens, and we get to see that relationship come together in an amazing way.”

ZOE SALDANA

Reformed assassin Gamora hopes that her heroic deeds with the Guardians will help her atone for the sins of her past.  Gamora must grapple with her own demons and the consequences of her flight from Thanos’ employ when confronted by her adoptive sister Nebula.

Zoe Saldana returns to the role of the deadly, green-skinned assassin Gamora, another character dealing with family issues related to the fact that her adoptive father is Thanos and her sister is Nebula. “In the first film, it seemed like Gamora was a good person and Nebula was a bad person and almost a villain of sorts,” explains executive producer Louis D Esposito. “In this movie we learn it’s a much more complex relationship than that. Gamora’s beginning to come to terms with her own sins, her own fears, and her own way of pushing people away, which is really what this movie’s about.”

“Gamora is surrounded by these idiots, the Guardians of the Galaxy, who are making her life very difficult,” adds Gunn. “She loves them. She knows she loves them. She’s aware of that. But then she has one guy, Peter Quill, who’s saying he’s in love with her, which she’s not that comfortable with. The boys are fighting constantly, and they’re all a pain. She doesn’t have any female companionship. She’s in a spot, since it’s only a couple months after the first movie, where they’re all having growing pains and sophomoric moments in their relationships. Then she comes face-to-face with her sister Nebula at the beginning of the movie. For Gamora there’s an emotional part of this. She has a fair amount of spite for her sister and on the other hand her sister says she just wants to kill her. And that is where we start Gamora’s story.”

Saldana explains her character’s arc in the new film. “In the first ‘Guardians’ she’s on a mission to be free or die because she’s over it. There’s a selfish essence to her, and it makes prerogative very personal. Versus like in this one, she’s on a path of redemption, so she wants to be very present in trying to do good. And that also means, on a very personal and uncomfortable level, that she has to try to just let go of whatever animosity existed between her and her sister.”

“The challenging part of Gamora’s evolution is getting to that place as an older sibling of accepting and being the one to let that younger sibling know their true powers,” adds Saldana. “So that’s part of her arc in trying to make peace with her sister is a part of her redemption because she is starting to realize that she is the only family member she’ll ever know, and she’s worth the sacrifice, work and the pain.”

DAVE BAUTISTA

Having taken his revenge on Ronan for the death of his family, the taciturn warrior Drax is now a stalwart member of the Guardians. While Drax’s friendship is never in doubt, his literalminded nature can make him a less-than-ideal teammate.  Drax still has a lot of learning to do, even as the desire for more vengeance burns within him yet.

Dave Bautista is back as the physically intimidating, tattoo-covered Drax.  Drax is a complex character who is as menacing as he is lovable and is blissfully unaware of his extreme literal nature in perceiving the world around him.  “I think that we know very clearly that Drax is not very good at picking up on social cues,” reminds Gunn. “He doesn’t quite understand what everyone around him is talking about all the time. He finds amusement in things that he should not find amusement in. But I think at the beginning of the movie, in a lot of ways, Drax is the happiest member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. He finds everything funny but he can be a little bit mean-spirited.”

Bautista explains where we find Drax now and what to expect from him this time around. “We pick up not too long after where the last movie left off, says the actor. “So it’s not too far in the future. But in this one you definitely get to know Drax a little bit more. He’s more visible in this film and has a lot more of the witty dialogue.

He adds, “It’s so great because Drax is the vehicle for James Gunn’s twisted, witty sense of humor. I love when I’m shooting and delivering stuff that I can hear James off in the distance laughing because I know that it is what he wanted. That it is what he was expecting out of the dialogue that he wrote. That in itself makes me feel really good because I love giving him what he wants.”

In the film, Drax develops a friendship with a new character, Mantis, played by Pom Klementieff.  “It’s hard to think that Drax would have some innocence to him but he really does,

and it comes out in this film,” Bautista relates. “That’s in the connection he has with Mantis. There’s a lot of innocence in both characters. They’re almost like two kids who find each other and become playmates. They just connect on a certain level that they can’t connect with anybody else. They’re both suffering from some pain and learning new things and new feelings, new experiences. They’re going through that together and that’s where the connection is.”

According to Bautista, there is much to like about his character. “What I really love about Drax is he’s not what you’d expect from reading the comics,” says Bautista. “Everybody was expecting one thing, and we gave them another. It makes it more interesting. It’s easy just to be the big guy who’s always growling at people and intimidating people. We’ve seen it a million times. But when you get the same guy who looks the same way but just says the most ridiculous things that make you laugh, it makes him more interesting. And he’s also got that side to him that’s just all heart. He’s still heartbroken over the loss of his family. And I love that dynamic, man. I love playing with that. It’s challenging. It makes it’s interesting. It makes the character loveable and it makes people connect to him.”

BRADLEY COOPER (VOICE)

The cybernetically and genetically augmented mechanical genius/woodland creature known as Rocket is an invaluable, though sometimes reluctant, member of the Guardians. With his best friend Groot now just a sapling, Rocket is uneasily thrust into the role of caretaker. He may yet prove to be the heart of the Guardians if his less sociable impulses don’t drive the team apart first.

When it comes to voices, James Gunn knows Rocket’s better than anyone as the director has many times professed that there is a little bit of himself in the character. Rocket, a tortured little beast who’s been torn apart and put back together, is still incredibly funny and heartfelt at times, particularly as voiced again by Academy Award® nominee Bradley Cooper.

Four-time Oscar® nominee Bradley Cooper is delighted to be back to voice the frenetic, cybernetic Rocket in Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” “Initially, the thing that got me excited about the movie was completely James Gunn,” Cooper says. “We talked about it, and he had this idea for who Rocket could be. And it was his excitement and his vision that really inspired me and continued to. I’m so happy that we’re doing a second one.”

Cooper acknowledges that both he and the filmmakers learned a lot about Rocket from doing the first movie and following the character’s journey. “We have a better understanding of who Rocket is,” Cooper says. “With the technology evolving, I think also the character has evolved. That’s been a fun process to be a part of. I’m just a small part of Rocket—so many people go into who Rocket is.”

Explaining where we find Rocket in the new film, Cooper says, “Rocket is the forever martyr. But he has a pack now. It’s not just Groot and him. So he’s got other people to contend with and harmonize with and battle with. I think at the end of the first one you just can’t wait to see how this dynamic is going to play itself out.”

“Of all the Guardians, Rocket has the furthest to go in terms of personal development,” explains executive producer Jonathan Schwartz. “Over the course of movie he learns that being a jerk all the time may not be the best thing for him. So in that way, Rocket has the most emotional maturation to go through over the course of the film. This is embodied by his relationship with Groot as he is now Groot’s caretaker even though he’s not great at it.”

VIN DIESEL (VOICE)

After Groot made the ultimate sacrifice, Baby Groot was born from his splinters. Although completely adorable, he struggles with anger issues and has a love/hate relationship with the other Guardians. He may need to grow up quickly to prove his worth.

A scene stealer in “Guardians of the Galaxy” with only the same three words of ‘I am Groot,’ was the wise, old, talking humanoid tree creature Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel. Despite his unique appearance and extremely limited communication skills, Groot embedded himself in the heart of audiences around world with just those three little words. A valuable ally and a loyal friend to Rocket and the Guardians, the character makes the ultimate sacrifice and returns in the sequel as a baby Groot.

Voiced again by Diesel, the little Groot is a totally different character. “He doesn’t have the memories of adult Groot and he is a baby,” explains Gunn. “He’s completely adorable, but has a lot more anger issues than adult Groot did. All of the other characters react to Baby Groot in different ways. Drax doesn’t like him. Rocket yells at him a lot, but he is okay with him.  Gamora definitely has motherly instincts towards him, and Quill barely acknowledges his existence.”

The director continues, “They all have different reactions to what is basically a child in their midst and how they deal with that. Baby Groot wants to prove himself and be part of the group. He tries to learn how to do that throughout the process of the movie.”

Describing Groot in the new story, Diesel says, “We’re seeing Groot’s transformation. Just to be a character that could regenerate is already cool but to be able to chart that over multiple pictures is super cool. I don’t think we have seen the full-fledged Groot yet. But to see this resurrection and watch this character regenerate itself and go through the various stages of development is fun for us to watch as an audience. It’s going to be a real fun ride with Baby Groot. It’s such a cool thing to be able to breathe life into such a unique character like Groot and through his story audiences can see the different stages of this character. This film represents the toddler stage of this incredible and fascinating character Groot.”

All of the Guardians watch out for Baby Groot but Rocket is definitely his primary protector. “That’s what’s so endearing about Rocket and Groot’s relationship,” Diesel says. “I think their relationship is one of the best combos we’ve seen on film. And I think Bradley Cooper does such a great job voicing Rocket.”

According to producer Kevin Feige, the ending of the first film came from the comic books where Groot is implanted in a little pot and is a little version of Groot, so making Rocket his caretaker and protector was a natural fit. “We always thought that if we got to do another one of these movies, it would be funny to flip it,” the producer says. “Rocket is tiny compared to Groot in the first film. He sits on Groot’s shoulder when he fires the machine gun. Groot is very protective of him. How fun would it be to flip that in the next film? We talked about that on the first movie a little bit and when James went off and came back with an amazing, very lengthy treatment for this movie, he nailed it in terms of Baby Groot and in terms of that new dynamic between Rocket and Groot.”

For Zoe Saldana and her cast mates, seeing how cute and adorable the diminutive Baby Groot is, made it easy to see how the character’s popularity will continue to rise.  “I can already hear the audiences say ‘aww’ every time Groot comes on the screen,” laughs Saldana. “I can just hear the ‘awws’ like 70 times during the movie. Mark my words. We can bet money.”

As to what audiences can expect in the sequel, Diesel offers, “James Gunn was really successful in taking this off-planet comic world and creating this family of misfits in a really great way. And I think he delves deeper into that this time. We learn a lot more about Peter Quill. There are strong father/son themes that are played out in this story as well as sisterhood themes that are played out.”

MICHAEL ROOKER

Since being outfoxed by Peter Quill, the unscrupulous Yondu Udonta’s control of his band of marauding Ravagers is tenuous at best.  After one concession too many, Yondu must fend off a mutinous challenge to his leadership and fight alongside the Guardians of the Galaxy to reclaim his Ravager honor.

While “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” chronicles the journey of Peter Quill following the discovery of his biological father Ego, it also is the story of his adopted father Yondu, played by Michael Rooker.

“The character of Yondu is an extremely important one and we laid a lot of track in the first film in terms of who Yondu was,” explains James Gunn. “I have a fascination with multifaceted characters who are good in certain ways and bad in other ways. Michael Rooker is the best at playing that type of character because you don’t know if he’s going to punch you or if he’s going

to hug you and that’s a beautiful thing. He brings that dynamic to life in Yondu, who is crazy, but also has quite a soul, which we saw at the end of the first movie when he was ripped off by Peter Quill, but he was proud of him. In a lot of ways, Peter Quill and Yondu’s friendship is the central relationship of this movie.”

Explaining where we find Yondu at the beginning of the film, Rooker says, “Yondu has his hands in everything! His whole career has been set on making money and growing his Yondu Empire, so to speak. But, we as viewers come to find out that some of the things Yondu has done are coming back to haunt him. Star-Lord’s real father, who we see is back in the picture, may pose an issue to Yondu in the future.”

As fans of the franchise know, the relationship between Yondu and Quill is very complex. “It’s somewhat of a father/son relationship, where we don’t agree on things,” offers Rooker. “When the movie opens, we haven’t seen each other in a few months, so our relationship is very intense and conflicted, to say the least. They are constantly at each other’s throats. Of course, we find that there are deep-rooted feelings for one another that exist and eventually that comes out in our storyline. You discover that Yondu truly cares about this kid.”

With Yondu’s expanded role in the film the character is much more defined and explored, which was something Rooker was pleased about. “In this one, James Gunn wanted people to experience more in-depth what Yondu was thinking and how he’s feeling—a more serious Yondu. There are things from Yondu’s past that audiences find are much darker and more sinister; those feelings and emotions are rearing their heads and affecting Yondu.”

When work on “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” came to an end, Rooker admits it was a “real downer.” “I really had such an amazing time with everybody’ he says. “It was one of those movies that you wish would go on forever. I loved going into work and couldn’t wait to get on set. I couldn’t wait to get in, put on the Yondu makeup, see my friends, work on the movie, and make it great.”
KAREN GILLAN

Last seen fleeing from the battle over Xandar, the galactic fugitive and cybernetic warrior known as Nebula still harbors a deeply-seeded grudge against her adoptive sister Gamora.  When the two cross paths once again, Nebula sets out to extract revenge.

Another character with a much bigger role in the film is Gamora’s adversarial sister Nebula, played by Karen Gillan. A supreme bad-ass, Nebula will not rest until she has destroyed Gamora and anyone or anything that gets in her way.

Director James Gunn speaks on the character’s evolution from the first to second film. “At the end of the first movie, we see Nebula very distinctly decide that everyone around her is crazy,

says Gunn. “This is her own reaction to knowing other people. She decides Gamora’s crazy, Ronan’s crazy, Thanos is crazy. We know she hates Thanos. We know she wants to kill Thanos in the first movie. And she just detaches herself from it all. We pick it up when we find her a few months later and life has not been good to her.”

Continuing, he adds, “She has a crappy claw hand, in replacement of her hand that she had before. She’s in tatters, her clothes are bad, and she’s been caught trying to steal some batteries for money. So she hasn’t done too well for herself. In a way she’s like somebody who’s just moving away from home for the first time and doesn’t have their support base anymore. There was always something about Nebula that’s been like the 13-year-old Goth girl at heart. She’s rebellious and unnecessarily surly at times.”

For Gillan, playing Nebula in the first “Guardians of the Galaxy” film was rewarding as she got to explore the characters intense dark side and villainous ways. When she received the script for the second installment she was pleased with the development of her character. “When I read the script, I was just so excited because she has a much bigger role, and we get to understand her much more,” Gillan says. “She’s just become a more layered, interesting character.”

There is no doubt in that Nebula was a bad guy in the first “Guardians of the Galaxy” film, but Gillan admits, “That’s what I love about her, to be honest. I love that she has this real dark side, and I get to explore that, which is really cool. In terms of the second film, she’s still a bad guy. But we’re going to get to understand her motivations for being a bad guy a little bit more.”

Elaborating, she adds, “I feel like Nebula’s a little misunderstood, like a lot of villains. She’s a bad guy, but she has a real valid reason for it and it’s because of an even bigger bad guy, Thanos. She has so much pent-up anger and so much sibling rivalry inside of her that is just bursting out. I just feel really sorry for her, actually. Whenever you’re playing a villain, you have to become their lawyer and understand why they did the things that they did and sort of justify it. And through doing that, I really began to care about her. I think she’s a great interesting character.”

During the production of the film, when asked which actor is the most different from the character they play, the immediate response from the cast and crew is Karen Gillan. Upbeat, jovial, silly and periodically clumsy off the set, Gillan is able to flip the switch and turn into one the fiercest characters in the Marvel Universe. “In the first one, Karen had a few lines and a couple little funny things she had to do, and that was it for Nebula,” says Gunn. “In this movie she has an incredibly key role. It is as much Nebula’s story as it is Gamora’s story. So, I needed to make sure Karen would be fully Nebula in this one. And she brought it. She really, really brought it. She’s an exceptional actress. In real life, Karen is a total goofball. I say ‘Hello Kitty’ off screen, but Clint Eastwood on. When she transforms, it’s instant; she just goes there instantly. It’s a cool thing to see.”

KURT RUSSELL

Peter Quill’s long-lost father Ego is a celestial being and intergalactic explorer.  Finally reunited, Ego forms an instant fatherly bond with his son and begins making up for lost time by recruiting Peter for his most important mission yet.

Feige and Marvel Studios’ approached the casting of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” by following their unique style. “Casting for us is never about just name value or marquee value. It’s about who we think could bring something fresh and unique to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Who could embody this character?” explains Feige.

And that thinking led them to Kurt Russell to play Ego, Peter Quill’s long-lost father. “In the case of Ego, Quill’s father, it’s a very unique character,” Feige says. “You want the audience to have the same sort of rush as Peter does when he learns who it is. So when you have Disney legend, film icon Kurt Russell step out of that ship and announce himself to Peter, even when it was just a green screen on a small set on a sound stage, it was a chill-inducing moment. And that’s why you get Kurt Russell.”

For veteran actor Kurt Russell, the decision to join the cast of Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” was a process that he enjoyed.  “After I read the script, I watched the first movie,” Russell says. “I remember that six or seven minutes into the movie, Chris Pratt is walking along. Then the music starts up, and he kicks off one of those alien rats or whatever they were. And I immediately liked the movie. I liked the atmosphere. And I liked his character.”

He continues, “I began to see things that reminded me of some things in the past that related to things that I had been involved with and characters I had played. Then as I watched it unfold, I got it. I read the script again and began to look at it and understand what was being asked. I started looking forward to it because I thought it was going to be an interesting project. There was a father/son relationship here that I thought was very relatable and very interesting that 20, 30 or even 40 years from now will sustain more than just the entertainment value of what the viewer is watching.”

The casting of Kurt Russell to play Ego was exciting for Chris Pratt, who says, “When I found out that Kurt Russell was playing Quill’s father, I was just thrilled. It was like sitting at the poker table with a great hand and then getting another ace dealt to you. It was just perfect casting and it couldn’t have worked out better. On top of the fact that he’s an exceptional actor, he’s also a really great guy.”

James Gunn explains the character’s backstory.  “Ego is an intergalactic adventurer in his own way who has gone to many different worlds and many different planets and had his own kind of adventures, not dissimilar to what the Guardians have gone thorough. He also has been looking for his son for a very long time and he wants a relationship with him in the same way that Peter

wants a relationship with his father because it fills this giant void that he’s had in his heart his whole life. Since he was a child, Peter has carried around a photograph in his pocket of David Hasselhoff, which he told the other kids at school was his dad. Yondu of course was supposed to deliver Quill to Ego and didn’t for some reason and audiences are going to see the reveal behind that mystery.”

Working with writer/director James Gunn was a positive experience for Russell, who says, “It’s always fun when you’re working with somebody who is the writer of it, who really understands it better than anyone ever will. I have been fortunate, as I have had many opportunities to do that with directors/writers/filmmakers who were creating their stories.  And James Gunn is that guy. He knows it completely. You can always ask. You can always question. You can always create with him, corroborate, collaborate, do all of those things. But the reason you can do it comfortably is because he’s the father of it. It’s his baby. And it’s fun to be a part of the world that James Gunn is creating here. It’s really cool.”

POM KLEMENTIEFF

A strange insect-like alien, Mantis was raised alone on Ego’s planet.  Mantis’ empathic abilities help ingratiate her with the Guardians, who may not be the best examples of refinement and socialization.

To cast the role of Mantis, the filmmakers auditioned many actresses and ultimately decided on Pom Klementieff, who takes on her biggest role to date. “We auditioned a lot of actresses for that role,” Gunn says. “We had four actresses screen test and each of them was completely amazing. Pom Klementieff just happened to be the best in terms of being very emotional, which the character has to be. That by her nature is her super power, so to speak. She is an empath.”

Gunn explains why he decided to have the popular comic book character cross over into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “I like the character Mantis quite a bit in the comics. I always thought she was an interesting character, the celestial Madonna. The act of creating Mantis was a great one as I felt that character quite a bit. I wanted to add a female character who as goofy and silly and strange as the other male characters, namely Drax and Rocket and Groot, who are all just goofballs. I wanted to have a female character that had that same oddness as those other characters.”

For Klementieff, getting the part of Mantis in Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” was the beginning of an exciting experience. “When I had the audition, I had no idea how big the character would be and that it would be a really fun and moving and special character,” the actress says. “She makes me think of a kid who had a difficult and lonely upbringing and then meets people who open a new world to her. It’s a beautiful arc for the character.”

Describing Mantis, Klementieff says, “Mantis is an alien; she has some insect elements in her. She grew up pretty much on her own and hasn’t had much interaction with people.”

But over the course of the movie, Mantis develops a friendship with Drax, played by Dave Bautista.  “I think they get along because they both have a weird sense of things, and they don’t really have the same sense of humor that everyone else has,” the actress comments. “I think what is interesting is that they’re just friends. There is nothing romantic about it. They just get along.”
Mantis is an empath and in the first scene that Klementieff shot with Drax, a moment is shared that impacts Mantis. As Klementieff explains, “When they talk and when she touches him, she sees what he went through in his life and the people that he lost. She feels all that, and she is really moved by it. It just changes her perception of the world when she understands how someone can love someone else.”

On set, Klementieff worked closely with Kurt Russell, who plays Ego, and she found that working relationship to be very rewarding. “Kurt’s amazing and really funny,” says Klementieff. “He’s generous, down-to-earth, and really easy to work with. We had a great time. It’s amazing to work with a legend. We hung out when we were not working, and he taught me how to play Pétanque, which is a French game. It’s inspiring to work with people like that who are amazing actors and who are also good people.”

ELIZABETH DEBICKI

The high priestess of a genetically perfect and singularly arrogant alien race known as the Sovereign, Ayesha hires the expendable Guardians to protect her planet and citizens from an interdimensional menace—a decision that very quickly backfires.

For the part of Ayesha, the filmmakers chose the stunning and beautiful Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki, whose 6’3” frame was perfect for the leader of a planet of beautiful beings. James Gunn explains why Debicki was the obvious chose to the play the role.  “When I first wrote the role, I was very specific in the way that Ayesha was written,” says the director. “Our casting director, Sarah Finn, read the role and suggested Elizabeth Debicki. I didn’t know who she was but when I looked up pictures I thought she looked great. Elizabeth came in for an audition and I knew right away that she was the one. I’m usually not like that but she was Ayesha.”

Debicki admits that she was “ecstatic” when she learned that she was tapped for the role of Ayesha. “I completely didn’t expect it,” Debicki says. “I loved the first movie. I thought it was hilarious and clever and heartwarming. And I loved the characters. I had spoken to James Gunn a few times. He’s a lovely man and a brilliant director, so I was just so happy to be involved.”

Describing her character, Debicki says, “Ayesha is the high priestess of the Sovereign planet. She’s a very powerful woman within this planet. She runs everything with an iron fist. Her people are a genetically engineered race of aliens, and they’re all gold and perfect and wanting to be physically and mentally impeccable. Ayesha has hired the Guardians to protect the planet’s precious batteries from an interdimensional beast.”

The contrast between the perfection of the Sovereign people and the rag-tag Guardians creates an interesting dynamic between peter Quill and Ayesha. Debicki explains, “Because the Sovereign think they are so superior, they’re highly judgmental of anyone. Everybody, as far as they’re concerned, is sort of inbred and disgusting and filthy and sort of scraping the barrel. The great thing about the interchange with Quill is that Ayesha’s intrigued by him, but she’s repulsed by him at the same time. Even though she feels that they’re inferior and disgusting, she still thinks he’s really good looking. That leads to an interesting exchange.”