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A Close Read of the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Trailer

Since Star-Lord, Gamora, and the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy are occupying their own remote section of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s been quite a while since we’ve seen them in action: They don’t get to take part in avenging, and they’re a little too far away to engage with superhero civil wars, which is why today’s teaser trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was such a delightful reintroduction to the gang. But what can we glean about their coming adventures from this short clip, and what was left out of the trailer that’s even more promising? I was lucky enough to see a whole hell of a lot more Guardians 2 footage this past summer at Comic-Con, so below, I’ll try my best to contextualize the trailer for you as we move through it nearly shot by shot.

First, we float through a spaceship hallway, which provides one of the many circles we’ll see in this teaser trailer. Are they all meant to evoke the shape of a planet? Or do circular things just look cooler?

This scrawled space-suit addendum (which has got to be from Rocket, right?) immediately reestablishes Guardians’ irreverent sense of humor.

We catch a brief glimpse of Drax (Dave Bautista) from behind before we get this shot of Gamora (Zoe Saldana), which I’m including because her lace-front has got all sorts of flyaways. (You all know I love a superhero wig, and I’m not going to apologize for it.) This shot comes from the same wrecked-forest sequence we see later in the trailer, and if I remember correctly from the Comic-Con footage, it’s in this setting that we first meet Kurt Russell as Star-Lord’s father, though the character isn’t introduced in this trailer.

This evocative intro reestablishes Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) as he stands at a circular precipice. I wonder if this is meant to provide a clue to the character’s parentage, since this image of a man contained in a planet-like circle nicely foretells Russell’s role as Ego, a living planet that can take the guise of a man. (Or, once again, it could just be because circles are dope.)

Now, some action. This look at sword-wielding Gamora comes from what I’m pretty sure is the first scene in the movie, as the Guardians pursue a dangerous bounty by taking down a many-tendriled space beast. We got to watch the first half of the sequence at Comic-Con, and it begins with the Guardians waiting for the interdimensional monster to show up and passing the time by cracking jokes at each other’s expense.

These two images come from a later sequence we saw nearly in full, as Baby Groot helps engineer a prison break for Yondu (Michael Rooker) and Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper). The Ravager captain has been betrayed by his own mutinying men, and he gets his revenge by coaxing Baby Groot to find a deadly fin stashed somewhere on his ship. Once it’s found, Yondu sends his fin-arrow on a circuitous path to take out every remaining Ravager, and their bodies fall in slow-mo as he, Rocket, and Groot walk out unscathed (a sequence set to Jay & the Americans’ song “Come a Little Bit Closer” in the actual film).

Here, the Guardians discover Nebula (Karen Gillan), who exited the last movie on pretty sour terms with her sister Gamora. The two continued to clash in the additional footage I saw, but director James Gunn has implied that Nebula will become a full-blown member of the Guardians by the end of the film.

Took a little while before we got to see Chris Pratt’s handsome face, huh? This is another shot from the film’s potential first sequence, as Star-Lord suits up to take on the giant beast hovering above what looks for all intents and purposes like a giant, galactic sundial.

It’s getting harder and harder to be a working member of Blue Man Group. The trailer chooses this moment to really crank up “Hooked on a Feeling,” the song now inescapably associated with the first Guardians film, though the very different trailer I saw at Comic-Con was scored to “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac, a likely track on Star-Lord’s new Awesome Mix.

As Star-Lord pilots the Milano, you may notice that he’s rocking sideburns like an original cast member on Beverly Hills 90210. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your personal grooming, Star-Lord!

Remember our first tantalizing shot of Gamora from earlier in the teaser? It’s from this sequence, as the Guardians arrive at a wreckage site and greet both Ego and his companion Mantis (Pom Klementieff, playing another new Guardian).

This shot, too, seems to be the reverse look at our first glimpse of Star-Lord from earlier in the trailer. Note the circle.

Can a non-dancer like Gamora ever truly find love with a dance machine like Star-Lord? Cutely, that is the subject of the trailer’s only run of dialogue.

Secret weapon Drax attempts to console an unlucky-in-love Star-Lord, a moment that’s quite wonderful for several reasons: Not only is that hug a funny beat, it’s a reminder that for all their razzing, the Guardians really care about each other deep down. That heart, I think, was one of the reasons the first film was such a success.

Or, maybe it was because of Baby Groot. If you advanced that theory, I certainly wouldn’t argue with you.

A Close Read of the Guardians Vol. 2 Trailer