Just in case this whole “filmmaking auteur” thing doesn’t work out for James Gunn, he seems to be building himself a decent back-up gig as a viral movie marketer. Ever since he took hold of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” reigns, Gunn has exhibited masterful oversight on his social media, engaging fans in fun games, casting announcements and trivia breadcrumbs. As filming of the sequel kicked into high gear, however, he’s been attempting to keep a tighter lid on plot points for the highly-anticipated film.
Nevertheless, Gunn has figured out a way to keep things as light-hearted and fun as a shotgun ride alongside Star-Lord on the Milano. If you’re smart enough, who knows? You might just be able to piece together the plot of the movie.
Over the last several weeks, the director has crafted what he calls #WhatWeShotWednesday. Here’s how it works: Each week, he posts one of his “thumbnail storyboards” for a scene, but won’t tell fans what the scene is. Of course, part of the fun is that Gunn isn’t exactly Bob Ross when it comes to his art — his storyboards are extremely basic, sometimes with little more than stick faces and arrows.
“I draw every single shot in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ before we ever shoot a frame. I’ll spread whole scenes over my office floor or all around the walls, sometimes hundreds of shots, and it will give me an idea of how the scene flows, what’s smooth, what’s jumbled, and even what works comedically,” he says on Instagram of the sketches. “Over the entire film I draw thousands of these thumbnails. Many of them are messy and it’s impossible for anyone other than me to tell what they are.”
“Your (almost always incredibly far off) guesses as to what it is are always appreciated,” he teases fans.
The guesses are nearly as fun to read through as the actual movie will probably be when it comes out next year. For instance, beneath a picture of one figure standing under what seems to be a mountain, a commenter guesses: “After a long treacherous journey, Groot has finally arrived to the Eye of Sauron where he plans to take a selfie and return home safely.”
“It’s a metaphor that explains the marginalization of African countries in the global economy,” guesses another.
On a different Wednesday, Gunn posted what appears to be one person banging the head of another on a table.
“Rocket is changing a baby racoon’s diaper,” guesses one fan.
“I’m guessing it’s either Star-Lord kicking his father’s butt,” says someone who is clearly up on the Kurt Russell news. “Or, someone from Nova Corps doing some serious work.”
Another fan thought the shot might reveal a subplot that has Dave Bautista packing a few pounds onto his buff frame: “Clearly, it’s Drax during one of his fits of depressive overeating.”
Below are several more of Gunn’s posted thumbnail images. So, can you guess the plot of one of the most eagerly-anticipated films of 2017?
It's already #WhatWeShotWednesday. We've had an amazing week on #GotGVol2 – in fact I'd say the past two weeks may have been some of the most fruitful of my life. @pomin8r and Kurt Russell have been bringing it hard, and our DP Henry Braham has been killing it as well. It's wonderful having a great cast and crew, all one hundred percent committed to the cause. Today we shot this little piece. A certain new character may be somewhat obvious, the others not quite so much (and, I should add, please don't mistake my storyboard character shorthand for actual character design – another character in the film is presented throughout with a stovetop hat just so I know who he is!)