At this point, most observers of Marvel’s sprawling Cinematic Universe know that secret keeping (and eventual revealing) is a big part of the formula. The powers that be know that twists and reveals are a big part of the universe’s appeal. Also, the secrecy can sometimes create artificial hype and publicity. Now every little reveal is a big part of the journey of an MCU film coming to the public. During their visit on set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, slashfilm shared a few details about how the secrecy machine works on set.
The working title for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is “Level Up.” There were multiple funny flyers posted all around the Guardians offices warning crew members not to feed director James Gunn’s dog Wesley, with a photo of the dog looking almost like a Wanted poster. Signs around the set show an illustration of a Hellicarrier crashing into Earth with the words “Loose Lips Sink Ships, Keep Our Secrets Safe!” The posters include a phone number for Marvel’s security team for anyone working on the movie to report something that doesn’t seem right.
While the posters have a bit of levity to them, it’s also clear that keeping secrets close to the vest is important to the creative team. James Gunn has been clear that he wants a lot of control over what gets revealed and when it gets revealed, in part so that he can know that information will come from him to fans, not via a leak. The “if you see something say something” type rhetoric (including the security team’s phone number) would make for an environment where no one would want to be the one to slip and share something publically that they aren’t allowed to share. One secret that was well kept was that working title. (Other reports had it as “Guardians 3000.”)
One particular secret which Gunn was careful to reveal in his own way (in this case at San Diego Comic Con) was the name of Star Lord’s father, Ego the Living Planet. During the set visits, which happened in the spring of 2016, the production team worked hard to make sure that information was not available to the media, even though they were embargoed from sharing details anyway.
In the art room, there was concept art for a planet called “J’son,” which is the name of Peter Quill’s father from the comic books. When we asked producer Kevin Feige about this, he would only say “You know, this room was scrubbed before you guys came in. It’s a very good question. You should ask James.” Another producer told us that the planet would not be called “J’Son” in the final film. But Kurt Russell’s chair on set even featured that character name “J’Son.” Later, James Gunn assured us definitively that “there is no J-son in the MCU.”
This is a brilliant move by the team at Marvel. J’Son, the comic father of Star Lord, is an obvious placeholder name on set. But it also is the one character that Gunn promised fans would not be Star Lord’s dad. One has to wonder if any of the journalists on hand put together the clues and figured out the Ego surprise, but it hardly matters now. All along Gunn has said that the name is far less important than the story that he is going to tell. Also, notice Kevin Feige talking about “scrubbing the room.” Clearly, these guys are serious about keeping all the secrets under wraps.
Do you like Marvel’s secrecy? Does it make it more fun to watch the movies and shows? Or would you like a little more information? Share your thoughts in the comments below!