James Gunn will finally begin production on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after he has finished with his Peacemaker series for HBO Max. At first, the movie was thought to have Christmas themes attached to it, due to the working title of “Hot Christmas,” but that might be literal as it was announced at Disney's Investor Day presentation that Gunn would also direct a special for the streaming service.
According to Kevin Feige, this special will be called, of course, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, which according to James Gunn, might be inspired by the terrible Star Wars Holiday Special. It's a wonder how James Gunn's pitch to Feige and the rest of Marvel Studios went, especially since this special will lead directly into Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, so that movie could be a literal Christmas movie.
When discussing pitches on his Twitter account, James Gunn actually explained how he pitched the very first Guardians of the Galaxy to Marvel Studios and its sequel.
What first began as a discussion with James Gunn about what movies not to mention during a pitch in mainstream Hollywood, one fan finally asked the logical question: “What movies DID you reference while pitching Guardians?” which Gunn graciously replied with a step by step answer:
I mentioned the fun & colors of space fantasy films of the 50’s thru 70’s - until the darker science fiction films Alien & Blade Runner came in & since then only “dark” science fiction films had mattered. Guardians was a colorful reaction to that. https://t.co/AewUsWo0zr— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) December 22, 2020
Gunn even mentioned British artist Chris Foss in his pitch, who eventually worked with Gunn on the film.
I also mentioned the Dirty Dozen & Wong Kar Wai films. I talked a lot about Chris Foss’ art, who later came to work for us. I did not mention Flash Gordon or Farscape, two other big influences (but there are so many).— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) December 22, 2020
Gunn also couldn't help but mention the galaxy far, far away, but not for the reason some may think.
I DID mention Star Wars. I said I didn’t want to make a movie that was like Star Wars, but wanted to make a movie that made kids & adults feel how I felt as a child when Star Wars came out - the novel magic of these odd characters & fantastic stories.— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) December 22, 2020
Gunn elaborated on the Star Wars comparison, drawing similarities between Rocket and Groot with C-3PO and Chewbacca.
In the 70’s I saw C3PO on the cover of People magazine in the grocery store & saw Chewbacca someplace or another & I wanted so, so badly to enter that world. I thought we could do the same with an angry bipedal raccoon & lovable talking tree.— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) December 22, 2020
Gunn reiterated that, much like Star Wars, he wanted Guardians of the Galaxy to be "its own thing."
But the vibe would have to be different than Star Wars. Because one of the cool things about the original Star Wars was that it was utterly novel & its own thing. THAT’S the aspect of it I wanted to capture.— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) December 22, 2020
Another fan thought to ask Gunn what his pitch was for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which apparently involved far less convincing:
My pitch for Guardians was a 19 page document on the visuals, a huge sequence I storyboarded (the escape from Morag) & a whole presentation with visuals & references & actors. My pitch for 2 was basically, “His dad is Ego the Living Planet!” Marvel was like, “Cool, go!” https://t.co/bltLnybdpA— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) December 22, 2020
WHAT THIS MEANS
It's funny how this interesting discussion began with James Gunn pleading to those pitching movies in Hollywood to never reference a movie “that isn't a massive hit.” He even used a movie he loves, The Thing, as an example of a great movie, but one that totally bombed at the box office when it came out and recommended to instead use another, a popular movie with a similar premise and tone, like Jaws.
Oh God please don’t. One of the things I learned early on in Hollywood was NEVER REFERENCE A MOVIE IN A PITCH THAT ISN’T A MASSIVE HIT. That means, not matter how much I love The Thing, and how much my movie will be influenced by it, reference Jaws instead. https://t.co/iVNCazMoSt— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) December 21, 2020
What's interesting about James Gunn's pitch for Guardians of the Galaxy is that he mentions these massive hit movies, while exemplifying how different it would be from them. This includes referring to Aliens and Blade Runner as “darker science fiction,” as Gunn wanted Guardians of the Galaxy to be “a colorful reaction.” It's also pretty telling how much Marvel Studios trusts its directors (or at least James Gunn) after already directing a hit movie for them.