James Gunn Doesn't Agree With The Choice To Have Star-Lord Doom The Universe In Avengers: Infinity War

In Anthony and Joe Russo's 2018 superhero flick "Avengers: Infinity War," a genocide-focused space alien named Thanos (Josh Brolin) was hellbent on acquiring six all-powerful stones that, when assembled, could essentially grant any wish. Thanos, a military man, was deeply concerned about over-population and poor resource allocation throughout the universe. Because he was raised as a soldier and wasn't terribly imaginative, Thanos' only solution for said problems was to kill off half of the universe in a single instant. Hence his need for Infinity Stones. 

Because the stones were ineffably mystical, acquiring them took some work. One of the stones would only be given to him, for instance, if he made a blood sacrifice by throwing a loved one off a cliff. He chose to murder Gamora (Zoe Saldaña), his adopted daughter. This angered and dismayed Peter (Chris Pratt) a.k.a. Star-Lord, the kind-of leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy, who had recently fallen in love with Gamora. 

Star-Lord learned of Gamora's death at a crucial moment in the movie. A group of superheroes, using all their supernatural resources, had managed to temporarily hypnotize and incapacitate Thanos. If Star-Lord managed to pull Thanos' Infinity Stones off of his hand, then the day would be saved. When Thanos, even hypnotized, let slip that Gamora was dead, Star-Lord winced in pain and punched Thanos in the face instead. That only woke him up and made him mad. Thanos fled and continued to gather up his gems. If Star-Lord had focused on the task at hand, the movie would have been over and the audience could have gone to get Johnny Rockets that much sooner.

James Gunn, the director of Star-Lord's 2013 debut film, "Guardians of the Galaxy," recently revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that he hated what the character did. 


Gunn, as the originator of Star-Lord's cinematic form, had different ideas as to what the character's behavior might have been in such a scenario. Gunn had nothing to do with the making of "Avengers: Infinity War," so other directors and screenwriters got to dictate Peter's reactions to Thanos. It could be argued that Thanos was so large and scary that Star-Lord wasn't entirely in character, but Gunn disagrees. "They did some things that I wouldn't have wanted," he said in the Hollywood Reporter interview. By Gunn's estimation, Star-Lord would certainly have killed Gamora first, if she had asked and he knew it was for the good of the universe. He certainly would not have punched Thanos in the face at a crucial juncture. 

Of course, if Star-Lord had behaved as Gunn would have wanted, all kinds of "What If...?"-like scenarios being to emerge. What if the heroes had the Infinity Stones earlier in the film? What if the power corrupted one of them, and they began rewriting reality willy-nilly? What if Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) went mad and became an even worse villain than Thanos? Or what if the heroes tried to destroy the gems, only to find they were the eggs of living godlike creatures? Would it be ethical to murder them? Gunn was not asked how he would have told a similar "Infinity War" style story, however. 

Should I ever get a chance to bend his ear, perhaps I will ask. 

Calling up James

The cast of "Guardians of the Galaxy" was also interviewed by the Hollywood Reporter, and they admitted that they weren't wholly comfortable without Gunn on set giving them direction. This was the first time they had played their "Guardians" characters with another director, and they missed their first boss. Pom Klementieff, who plays the Guardian Mantis (the psychic character who hypnotized Thanos), admitted she even called Gunn from the set to make sure that Anthony and James Russo were doing it right. She said:

"I can't imagine playing Mantis with someone else writing the words. [...] I was being given directions, and I was like, 'I think I'm going to call James.'" 

Gunn also said that Pratt reached out to him from the "Avengers" set. No one said that their faith in the Russo's was worthy of concern, just that they wanted a familiar voice on the phone when playing these particular characters. 

James Gunn's "Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3" will be in theaters on May 5, and will be the final cinematic outing for the characters for the time being. It will be the 32nd film in the MCU. It will be followed by "The Marvels" in November, "Captain America: New World Order" the following May, "Thunderbolts" the next June, and "Blade" in September of 2024. Gunn, meanwhile, is currently running production on the nascent DC Universe, and preparing to make "Superman: Legacy," the first film in a brand new cinematic continuity.