To modern film audiences, a cameo is a recognizable character popping into the frame for a cup of coffee and a seismic theater pop to boot. Fan favorites like Captain America and Yoda made brief appearances in Thor: The Dark World and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, respectively, adding minimal contributions to the plot but giving movie-goers something to smile about.
That said, cameos stretch beyond familiar faces. More often than realized, A-List talent make uncredited appearances in friends' films. Daniel Craig had a single line of dialogue in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as a stormtrooper. Neil Degrasse Tyson popped by to address the Man of Steel's integration into human society in Batman v Superman. Matt Damon gave his hilarious rendition of Loki in Thor: Ragnarok (and will be returning to the role soon).
The Guardians of the Galaxy franchise is home to too many cameos to count. Everyone from Rob Zombie to Miley Cyrus has lent their vocal talents to the franchise, with others like Sylvester Stallone and David Hasselhoff actually appearing physically.
Unfortunately, for most of James Gunn's cameo choices, many meet their end before they can blossom into their own characters.
Nightbooks Director Details His Hilarious Guardians Cameo
Don't get too attached.
James Gunn captioned his The Suicide Squad casting announcement with those exact words, but the director has been on a character-killing spree long before he took on Task Force X.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Direct, Netflix's Nightbooks director David Yarovesky revealed his credited cameo as "Goth Ravager" in 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy met his end in that film:
"I die in that movie. Nebula gets on a ship, gets in the cockpit, and throws me. You can't see me, but it is my scream. I get thrown out of the ship and I fall. No one knows, but they have such respect for the mythos for the universe that, despite the fact that there's not a single person on planet Earth besides my mom who can tell that I'm the person in that cockpit that gets ripped out and killed. That being said, in the reality of their universe, I'm dead. I can't come back, at least as Goth Ravager."
Yarovesky and Gunn have been friends for over a decade, with the latter even officiating Yarovesky's wedding. For that reason, Yarovesky's inclusion in Guardians was simply an excuse to "hang out with [his] friends" for the day:
"It's so funny that me being in Guardians comes up so often because everything else you mentioned took like years of my life to achieve, and Guardians, I went down the street from where I lived and filmed for a day to just hang out with my friends who were all in the movie."
While he was expecting nothing more than a fun, unrecognizable appearance, Yarovesky revealed he was surprised to see his name in the Guardians credits:
"First of all, I'm called 'Goth Ravager.' That was a way of James making fun of me. He always teases me as his Goth friend (laughs). So, calling me 'Goth Ravager,' that was a surprise at the premiere when the credits came up and I was a named character: 'Goth Ravager.'"
Goth Ravager may not have a future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but that's not to say Yarovesky can't return as a director. If he were to hop into a Marvel Studios director's chair, Yarovesky said he needs a project that only he could do:
"What's the movie that only I could do at Marvel? I think that Guardians is a home run because James made a movie that he's the only person that could make it. And you know that's true, because after Guardians came out, there were a ton of movies that tried to be Guardians in some way or another, tried to follow the tone, tried to crack James' formula. They couldn't crack it because it's not a formula, it's just incredibly good writing, really great characters, and a ton of his personality coming through."
Yarovesky admitted the dream Marvel Studios project "probably has a foot in horror or something dark:"
"There's a bunch of characters I love. I often think that within me is a really cool, like... Actually, I'll keep it a secret."
RIP Goth Ravager
A certain Wakandan Star-Lord once said "a ravager never flies solo," and as evident by Yarovesky's MCU fate, that's because they will meet their demise if they try.
In all seriousness, the reason why the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been such a fan-pleasing theatrical juggernaut for over a decade is because of how much fun everyone involved has making these films.
It's a tall order to find a picture of James Gunn on a Guardians of the Galaxy set without a smile on his face. Including his friends like Yarovesky, even as an excuse to hang out and throw in a playful jab in the credits, is a big reason why fans have such a good time at the theaters.
MCU Future for Yarovesky?
Beyond his cameo, Yarovesky's interest in directing a Marvel Studios picture is noteworthy. As he mentioned, taking on an MCU film is a no-brainer given the franchise's ability to act as "a grenade in the center of pop culture that will affect peoples' lives on such a profound level."
That said, it's Yarovesky's particularity that stands out. 2019's Brightburn was a full-blown superhero slasher movie that took Superman's mythos and flipped it on its head, but Nightbooks proved he could do scary while retaining family-friendliness.
Considering Marvel Studios leans heavily on the House of Mouse's PG-13 limitations, Yarovesky stands out as a director that can balance horror within the confines of the age-appropriate MCU. With films like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and an upcoming Disney+ Halloween Special diving further into the scary side, Marvel Studios might just have a project up its sleeve that is a perfect match for Yarovesky.
As for what character that could be? As Yarovesky himself said, we'll just have to wait and see.
Yarovesky's latest film, Nightbooks, is streaming now, exclusively on Netflix.