As the hosts assured, the only reason for people to be in the Main Hall late in the afternoon at Emerald City Comic Con would be if they were fans of Guardians of the Galaxy. The crowd agreed. With songs from the Awesome Mix playing, a party atmosphere was clearly breaking out, even more than already existed at ECCC on a Friday.
Michael Rooker and Sean Gunn were given a dance hall welcome. The two were asked when they first met, since they’ve been on screen a lot together. Gunn said that Rooker did get skunked on his front porch once, and Gunn said the Skunk must have known his work.
Rooker had done Slither with Gunn’s brother James, and James and Gunn went to the same drama school in Chicago. James Gunn reputedly created Yondu just for Rooker, they said. Rooker knew the comics but didn’t see how he could be an action hero based on the comics, but was relieved when the part was a bit different. There’s a fine line you walk with a character like Yondu, when you don’t know whether to slap or kiss him, Rooker said.
In the first Guardians film, Yondu doesn’t have much of a “fin” on his head, but in filming Guardians Volume 2, it suddenly appeared. Rooker didn’t know why and the director wouldn’t tell him why, and said it would be revealed in the movie.
Volume 2 takes place only a couple months after the first movie, Gunn said. He said some of the Ravagers are wondering where Yondu’s allegiances lie, whether with his men or with Quill.
Yondu is in a quandary, and doesn’t know which way he swings, Rooker said, to laughter.
Gunn plays Rocket on set so the actors will have visual reference and for VFX creation. Rooker praised Gunn for being the hardest working actor on set, and said he was very proud of himself for being the laziest actor on set.
Rooker staged a call to James Gunn, arguing with Siri to make the call, but James missed a great opportunity to take part in the panel, Rooker said.
Asked what they thought when asked if they’d be in a movie co-starring a tree and raccoon, Gunn said he just said yes at “will you be in a movie”, since he was looking for work. To audience laughter.
When asked 67% dance off questions, Rooker challenged Gunn to a dance off. A DJ obliged and the crowd went wild. It nearly happened, but sadly, the moment passed.
Asked how he feels when people say they “love him” in serial killer or violent roles like Henry, Rooker said it made him feel people were really strange, but re-watching things years later, he had to admit these were good roles. Merle Dixon was a great part, he said. When asked if he liked playing Merle because he was a character who redeemed himself, Rooker said that Henry redeemed himself too, in his own way.
Asked about stepping stones in their careers, Rooker said getting a job, then getting a job and getting paid, then actually making a living doing it. Gunn said learning how to approach the profession as a job is part of the craft of acting. He had baby steps, working in commercials and then on shows, Gunn said. As his career progressed, he actually went back to taking classes, and he thinks it’s good to do it now and again. Rooker said no, he never liked classes, even when he was there.
Gunn says it’s like having a coach if you’re an athlete—Rooker assured the world that he has never needed that.
Many of the questions directed at Gunn concerned playing Kirk in Gilmore Girls. Rooker pretended he hated Gilmore Girls, but let slip he was a secretly obsessive fan. Gunn was asked if he would have a pig as a pet and he said he would.
Asked about the creation of Merle just for the show, since he wasn’t in the comics, Rooker said it didn’t matter to him and didn’t factor into the developing of the role. It was a great series for him, and it ended up being a great part to develop, he said.
Gunn praised Rooker for answering the question with a “complete thought” in their continuous undercutting of each other that kept the panel rolling.
Rooker exclaimed that none of the questions were about Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, to hilarity, considering it’s only 2 months away.
Another film coming out with both even sooner is The Bellco Experiment, which is about an office in Bogota, Columbia, where one day the Americans who work there are alone and a voice comes over the loud speaker, announcing that they must kill eachother or be killed. It’s mayhem and a moral dilemma from there on out, Rooker and Gunn said. It’s an uncomfortable and cool film, they said, and only a tad violent.
Asked which part he preferred, Merle Dixon or Yondu, Rooker joked that he was paid less money on The Walking Dead, so that’s an influential element. Walking around in the woods without air-conditioning gets old, he laughed, and it’s so nice to be in a nice green-screen room with only fake explosions. Filming Guardians 2 was wonderful, so he likes not running and coming upon rattle snakes three feet from his face. It’s way better being Yondu, he said.
Asked if there’s any info about Guardians Volume 3, Gunn said “nope”. Rooker said sure, you can say something. Like volume 3 would be the third in the series. If it were to happen, it would be the third in the series. “Look, there should be 15 of these things”, he said, to applause.
Asked what crossover in the MCU they’d like to see for Guardians, Rooker said that Yondu seems to like earthlings, but Gunn said that the Guardians think earthlings are peons. Rooker said that his love for earthlings clearly resulted in having a slight Southern accent, to laughter.
Asked what their favorite scenes to film were in Guardians Volume 1, Gunn said that hearing the score playing over loud speakers and operating in a giant space of at least 1000 yards was great. Rooker recalls being told there were paparazzi but it was so far away that he couldn’t even see them. They looked like ants. When he looked through binoculars, he could see giant lenses being used. And some of the first shots of Yondu were grabbed, from at least 700 feet away.
Asked if Merle had been introduced to the Governor and Negan, whose side he’d be on, Rooker said Merle would be up doing batting practice and friends with Negan, no doubt.
Asked about how the makeup and latex must have felt playing Yondu, Gunn answered for him, saying it’s some serious work, that takes some serenity to sit there for hours every day. And then to have to go out in that makeup and perform. Rooker said Slither took 7 hours of makeup, whereas Yondu took 2 to 3, with 6 layers of paints and colors to create that look, he said. The feel of real skin is hard to create, he said. He was able to sweat through the makeup, which was important, and it was something they tested to see if he could, which was healthier, and also to look more natural.
Asked how it felt to be a green-screen stand-in, Rooker answered for Gunn and said he enjoyed being a prop. Sometimes you’re a large prop or a smaller hand prop, he joked.
Asked about the Awesome Mix Volume 2, Gunn says he expects it to be quite good. Rooker said “there’s music”, teasing the audience.
Asking if there will be end-credit scenes in Guardians 2, and Gunn said that whenever he sees a Marvel movie, he knows to stay to the end of all the credits. It’s just a good idea.
Asked what their favorite MCU film is, Gunn said the first Iron Man. Rooker said he’s digging the Guardians series so far. Of course.
Asked what his favorite song from the 80’s was, Rooker said that he remembers no part of the 80’s, to laughter.
Rooker also weighed in on insisting that Yondu was a good father to Peter Quill and rescued him from earth, and didn’t actually abduct him as everyone seems to think. Having a kid around was good for Yondu, since Peter Quill could be used to crawl into small spaces to steal things, like a little rat.
Asked if there was a hero he’d like to play sometimes, Rooker said no, that he’s actually a hero in real life. To applause.
Rooker hosted an amazing rapid-fire question round in the last few minutes of the panel by going down to the lines of folks waiting to ask questions and making them shout their questions sudden-death match style. Those were some happy fans, treated to hugs and that one-on-one interaction at Emerald City Comic Con.