At the Fan2Sea Comic Con Cruise, there was a poolside panel centered around Guardians of the Galaxy 2 featuring stars Sean Gunn (the on-set Rocket Raccoon, as well as a Ravager) and Michael Rooker (Yondu), with Hall of Justice podcast host Seth Everett moderating.
Everett started on the subject of Yondu, the snarky, intimidating bounty hunter, and asked Rooker how much did he get to take liberties with in establishing that character as it’s completely different from the comic books.
“I always take liberties,” Rooker joked. “Whenever possible, I am the liberty taker.”
Gunn chimed with how Rooker is “all liberties”.
Everett brought up the point that a few years ago, mainstream audiences were unfamiliar with the Guardians and its universe and now Groot and Rocket are pop culture icons. He asked Rooker and Gunn why the movie was so popular and what it did for these characters.
“First of all, it’s an all-ages movie,” Gunn said of the PG-13 film. “My brother wanted as wide of an audience as possible. I think that’s where the movie really succeeds. I think also when you’re talking about this kind of fandom who love movies like this that a movie about outsiders who come together is a little bit of what we all do when we come to these conventions. So I think it spoke to a lot of people.”
Everett talked about how the first Guardians of the Galaxy was a perfect example of an entertaining comic book movie that didn’t need to be Superman, Batman, or any well-known character to be successful.
At that point, Rooker’s drink spilled over because of the heavy winds.
“I guess I won’t drink tonight,” he mused.
Audience Q&A opened up after a brief moment of cleaning up and readjusting seats.
A fan asked if Rooker and Gunn saw the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise going as long as the Star Wars saga.
“We’re just actors, man. We go where they tell us to go,” Gunn replied. “I think it’s hard for us to answer that question. If the demand is there and creative spirit is there to make something out of it, sure, I’ll be there.”
“That would be cool though,” Rooker added.
Another fan asked if they could have dinner with one historical person, who would it be and what would they talk about. Rooker decided to have a little fun.
“One hysterical person, huh?”
Gunn’s answer came after some debate. “I think I would have to choose Abraham Lincoln. I mean, how can you not choose Lincoln?”
A fan asked how much they follow their character counterparts in comic books and if they were influenced by any of that.
Rooker said that he doesn’t even look at Yondu and wants to keep doing his own thing within reason. “I knew of him, and started reading and digging up things about, but James had his own idea about the character, but I was hoping and praying they didn’t want me to wear a loincloth.”
“I get most of my character’s information from my brother,” Gunn said of his roles. “So he fills me in, but I don’t read a lot of comic books myself.”
Everett asked for a crowd reaction asking how many in attendance read the Guardians of the Galaxy comic books before the movie hit which garnered a surprising amount of noise.
A fan then wondered about Gunn’s reactions to Gilmore Girls coming back since he acted in the original, and does he remember where he was when he got the phone call about it.
“It wasn’t a phone call, it was a lunch, but that’s not important. I was very happy actually. I took that role originally when I was younger and focused on different things in my career, but it was a pleasure to take that job. To go back to this character and the great writers in this world was really a gift.”
Gunn and Rooker exchanged barbs about Gilmore Girls being Rooker’s favorite show.
A fan in a swimsuit and Stormtrooper helmet asked what song would they add to the soundtrack if they could. The question was slightly muffled and Gunn joked “You know that thing’s removable, bro”, but he admitted the whole look was funny. Gunn said he would put some 80’s hip-hop on it.
Another fan asked if their characters could meet any other character from the Marvel Universe, who would it be and why.
“It’s hard to say that Rocket wouldn’t want to meet Black Widow, that’s for sure,” replied Gunn.
Then a fan talked about their action figures and if they had to add muscle or not in the sculpt.
“Well they certainly couldn’t take more away,” joked Gunn.
Rooker chimed in with how “svelte” Gunn in underneath his sweater. Gunn fired back with how Rooker looks great for an “85-year-old man or how ever old he is.”
A fan asked Gunn about his experience crawling around as Rocket on-set so the actors had somebody to interact with.
“So basically my job was to work with the other actors so they were acting with another actor and not a blank space. A lot of my movements were reference point for the special effects team so they can go in and begin the animation process. It’s an interesting job, but I approach it as I do any role,” Gunn replied.
Another fan then asked Rooker about his role in Tombstone playing Sherman McMasters and if that was his favorite role.
“I enjoy horses and riding and I like shooting guns. Boy, oh boy, I don’t know if I have a favorite though, but if people appreciate the work that makes it all the better.”
Gunn agreed on the difficulty of picking a favorite role, comparing it to picking a favorite child in some ways.
“You get close to the characters you play, even the unsuccessful ones but it’s like I know Rooker hasn’t had any unsuccessful ones. It’s hard to tell what is going to be successful and what isn’t though.”
Before the next question, Gunn brought up the recent passing of actor Miguel Ferrer, listing some of his favorite movies by him including Robocop and Justice League: New Frontier.
“Let’s give a big round of applause.”
A young fan asked the question about what was their favorite part of working on set. Gunn replied that they had many funny days and how the jokes in the script made everybody laugh, but added some cheeky commentary about his costar.
“Rooker would show his ass every now and then. It was funny to him, but not to the rest of us.”
A fan had a question about the level of improvisation there was on the script, but Gunn replied that there was very little and they stuck to the script for the most part.
“Most lines that are improvised came from the director’s chair, but it didn’t happen very often.” Rooker added that when James Gunn had an idea to change a line or if somebody else suggested something, it inspired him more to make the scene work better that time around.
To wrap things up, Gunn and Rooker took a huge selfie with all the attendees of the panel.