Now that the hype and dust of Guardians of the Galaxy has settled somewhat, we can take the time reflect on just how good a movie it was and wonder why that might be. Is it because it felt like Star Wars? For this writer, it may have been the best fun he’s had at the movies since he saw Roger Rabbit or Return of the Jedi as a child so maybe there is something there.
Before we go through the Star Wars influences on Guardians, we should note the first comic form of Guardians of the Galaxy was published in 1969, some 8 years before Star Wars hit the silver screen. So this writing is about how the Star Wars films influenced the Guardians movie.
To clear up any doubt about whether the influences are real or just imagined by rabid Star Wars fans, the film’s director James Gunn was quoted as saying:
“This was intentionally my version of Star Wars. When I was first considering doing the movie, the chance to make something like that was one of the things that got me on board. Not just Star Wars, but Raiders Of The Lost Ark, and other movies like that. The stuff I loved as a kid. I wanted to make a movie that made people feel the way they made me feel.”
- The duo of Groot and Rocket Racoon pretty much stole Guardians from Star Lord. They were very funny did some cool things and they had a great personal relationship. Did you notice how Rocket translated everything Groot said for their fellow Guardians? That’s unmistakably a Han Solo and Chewbacca type friendship right there. Han spends a lot of the Star Wars films sharing what Chewie thought or responding. C3PO totally does with R2D2 so this would seem an obvious Star Wars influence on GoG.
- While Peter Quill (Star Lord) is arguably of the Han Solo mold, Groot is effectively Rocket’s version of Chewbacca. How is Quill like Han Solo? How about his quips for every situation he’s in, his sexual tension chemistry with Gamora mirrors Solo and Leias and he turns out to be a hero after struggling a bit.
- Evil Fathers. As Luke and Leia had Vader as their evil father, sisters Gamora and Nebula had the world conquering Thanos as their adopted father.
- There's a puppet master pulling strings. Ronan the Destroyer takes the part of Vader in this film and like Vader serving the Emperor, Ronan served Thanos.
- Thanos even kills an underling who annoyed him which mirrors Vader’s force choke moves.
- George Lucas also managed to have a random influence on the post credits seen – Howard the Duck makes an amusing appearance. While Howard is a Marvel product, it was Lucas who directed the movie version. You could argue that a lot people (such as myself) would only have known who Howard was from having seen the movie (as a child, many years ago!).
So Guardians is not exactly a copy of Star Wars it certainly has been influenced by it. This is not to say that Guardians was not influenced by other things as well. The movie has a multitude of references to icons of the 1980s such as Troll Dolls. Star Lord is also arguably based on Indiana Jones (which was based on a million of other things but is actually another Lucas influence). At one point Quill even makes a passing reference to the Ark from Raiders.
It's nice to see Star Wars and George Lucas having an impact on movie making in a great way - it's returning the favour after all...