The Guardians are back. And they brought backup.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 director James Gunn tweeted this amazing piece of concept art last night:

And here’s a bigger version of the piece to admire in all its detail.

Guardians 2 concept art

All of the original guardians are back: Drax (Dave Bautista), Groot (now in baby form), Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), and Gamora (Zoe Saldana). But in this photo they’ve got three new members. There’s Yondu (Michael Rooker), who previously chased Star-Lord and his buds across the galaxy, Nebula (Karen Gillan), Thanos’ daughter and another former Guardians antagonist, and a totally new character to the franchise, Mantis. Played by Pom Klementieff, she’s described by executive producer Jonathan Schwartz in Entertainment Weekly as an “acquaintance” of the team. More on Mantis:

She has never really experienced social interaction. Everything she learns about dealing with people, she learns from the Guardians of the Galaxy, which is a very weird group to learn your social intricacies from.

Schwartz also talked about Groot, who “died” in the last movie but was regrown from one of his twigs. This Baby Groot “doesn’t have the wisdom and experience” of the old, he said, so you can expect a Groot who’s more “rambunctious.” “The question is,” he added, “is he the same Groot, just smaller? Or is he a different Groot that’s sprung up from the seed of the first Groot?”

Either way I don’t think you should expect his vocabulary to change any. I’m more interested to find out just how literal this concept art is. Do Yondu and Nebula fight alongside the Guardians this time out? What sort of threat could make these characters join forces? Or is this just a lovely image (which will be given out by Marvel at San Diego Comic-Con, by the way) and that’s it? Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 opens in theaters on May 5, 2017.


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