The Guardians of the Galaxy ending you saw wasn’t the original take. The conclusion originally filmed was cut out for being too sad. If you haven’t seen the film, keep in mind that there are spoilers below.
The film gained its popularity despite being about a not-so-popular team of misfits because it managed to maintain a light-hearted sense of humor throughout its run time. From Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) forming an emotional attachment to a mix tape, to Groot’s comical quotation of three words over and over (I am Groot), James Gunn knew he had to keep everything high energy.
The tone wasn’t really the director’s choice, as the comic books it was based on were written in the same comical way. GotG was almost a spoof on superheroes, with the only character on the team using any superhuman abilities not even being human. Technically, he was classified as a house plant owned by the loud-mouth raccoon (but don’t call him one), Rocket.
— CINEMABLEND (@cinemablend) November 13, 2014
The Guardians of the Galaxy ending you saw involved Groot protecting his friends from obliteration, and sacrificing himself to do so. You might think that the original ending was Groot being completely destroyed in the process, not even a twig remaining, but that wasn’t it. As Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” played, it showed Peter Quill’s grandfather (Gregg Henry in heavy makeup).
James Gunn was worried the audience wouldn’t recognize him, according to Cinema Blend.
“He has this photograph of Meredith (Peter Quill’s mother) and Peter as a little boy and he looks up at the stars and we go up to the stars and it was really sweet. It means that he must have seen Quill getting abducted at the end of that day and is still waiting for him to return but it was freaking sad so we took it out.”
Gregg Henry wasn’t the only one left mostly on the cutting room floor with the original Guardians of the Galaxy ending. Benicio Del Toro’s The Collector and Karen Gillan’s Nebula also found their roles cut to maintain the fun energy the ending needed. They were both major problems for the team of misfits-turned-heroes, but the tone would have changed too much.
The alien who had abducted Peter Quill, Yondu (Michael Rooker), eventually ended up fighting alongside his team, so he wasn’t cut, says James Gunn.
“It was a real joyous experience with that finale so we thought we’d keep it to the characters that were part of ‘the good team’. Which includes Yondu. He did fight on the good guys’ side. So we thought we would keep it to them.”
Do you think the original Guardians of the Galaxy ending might have been better left in, or did James Gunn make the right decision removing it?
[Image via Movie Pilot]