It cannot be denied that the feat of creating a decade-long cohesive movie universe with the work of many individual filmmakers is a gargantuan and finely tuned endeavour. Whether you’re a Marvel fan or not – the vast technical achievement of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is, at this point, a simple fact. One of the drawbacks of such a process, however, is the constant stream of speculation about the level of studio involvement and interference required to ensure the smooth transition of narrative between franchise instalments – and that speculation is never more apparent than when individual chapters are about to segue into a massive team-up story. Enter James Gunn, and his comments about Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 and Avengers: Infinity War.
The reason for the speculation is that his Guardians sequel – released earlier this year – is one of three Marvel solo films that we know will feed almost directly into the highly anticipated Infinity War – the culmination of the entire franchise so far. Along with the recently released Thor: Ragnarok, and 2018’s Black Panther, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 delivered plot threads that would weave closer into the fabric of the series than ever before.
The Guardians sequel and Thor: Ragnarok are specifically connected by their respective final moments, in which Thor lands on the windscreen of the Guardians’ ship – a moment that we know, from footage screened at the San Diego Comic-Con, will lead to the Guardians being brought into the Avengers fold ahead of a Thanos-based showdown.
So, the question is, what is the process of cohesion, behind the scenes, for these individual film projects? Thankfully, Gunn has now shed some light on his own part of that process.
7 The studio suggested no changes to make it more amendable to Avengers 3 or 4. I did, however, give Markus & McFeely and the Russo Brothers the script in October 2015 so they knew where the Guardians ended up while they were writing.
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) November 21, 2017
Evidently, the events of Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 were essentially locked before Avengers: Infinity War writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely had finished their script – so, if anything, the Guardians sequel informed the giant team-up instalment, rather than it being the other way around. This is important information to note, because it provides interesting insight into the way this franchise is constructed.
Crucially, it confirms that – while there is clearly a loosely structured plan for when Phases begin and end – it’s largely the solo films that dictate where the overall story goes, in terms of the narrative. The result is undoubtedly greater excitement for Avengers: Infinity War, as it’s a true nexus within an organic series – as opposed to a fixed point around which everything must fit.