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Aug
19
2014

Guardians of the Galaxy: Behind the scenes with Agent M!

Guardians of the Galaxy

Agent M in the hoooouse.

When the fine folks at ThinkGeek asked me to write a guest blog for them, I had a few immediate ideas for the piece:

  • Make it nothing but animated gifs.
  • Write 4,000 words on why M.O.D.O.K. is the greatest character in all of fiction.
  • Devise a series of haiku based on the Infinity Gauntlet comics.
  • Talk about some of my experiences visiting the set of Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" film.

While the first three options were pretty great, I'm going with the giving the ThinkGeek Nation (is that a thing? If not, I declare it a thing!) some of my patented #seeeekrits.

First, you all saw Guardians of the Galaxy already, right? It's the number one movie in the galaxy, and everyone has a favorite character, moment, and song. Rocket, Ronan's turn against Thanos, and Cherry Bomb, respectfully for me. If you haven't seen it yet, sorry for spoiling things, and go get your tickets!

Time for me to dig into my trusty Twitter notebook, and pull some details I scribbled down while on the set in September of 2013. I had to steal some tape from the set to keep said notebook in one piece, so that's authentic Guardians of the Galaxy tape right there.

trusty Twitter notebook

As soon as I got to the set, I spent some time with Guardians producer Jonathan Schwartz, who walked me through the war room--a room filled with concept art and models and other planning info that breaks the film down from beginning to end. You can hear my podcast with Jonathan here, but suffice to say it was pretty cool. I even learned that Cosmo, the awesome Russian canine cosmonaut, made it into the film.

I walked around the Dark Aster set, which was still being built. It's Ronan's massive ship in the film, and super cool and creepy. And then, I got to see some of the Milano--Star-Lord's sleek ship. Both were impressive in the level of detail and attention given to their construction.

The Collector's lab was elsewhere, and I arrived on set just a few days before Benicio Del Toro. Bummed I didn't get to see him in full garb. But I did get to walk around the lab, as the crew finished construction. We only catch a few quick glimpses of Taneleer's collection in the film, but I spotted: some slithery slug creatures; a weird fin with a skeleton; a giant butterfly; a cocoon; lots of digital screens; a live dark elf; the pink girl; a 2-headed raccoon; some sort of dissected creature; and much more.

In the film, The Collector's base of operations is on Knowhere, the enormous severed head of an ancient Celestial being, and I got to walk around the dirty streets of the mining colony a bit. The outdoor set was very industrial, with big structures and a general layer of grit and grime. There were many signs posted across Knowhere, in what seemed to be a variety of alien languages. I also have a note here about looking inside a really cool junk shop vendor, and seeing some skulls and pyramids. So many small details!

The establishment in which Drax, Groot and Rocket do some gambling, some drinking, and some fighting was a very cool club set. It had a sort of metal/industrial vibe, but with a bit of a Middle Eastern feel. There are numerous rooms and alcoves in that set that you don't even get to see in Guardians.

I also got to chat with cast and crew while there. You can listen to my interviews with Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista and James Gunn on the This Week in Marvel podcast. I will say that all four of them were super friendly and obviously having fun. Long days, lots of makeup and things to do--but they were all having a blast.

Ryan Penagos

I need to sign off and do some Marvel work, but maybe next May you'll read something like this when I recount my time visiting the Avengers: Age of Ultron set.

Your Spy Inside the House of Ideas,
Agent M aka Ryan Penagos


Ryan Penagos is Marvel's Executive Editorial Director for digital media. That's a silly title which basically means he has the coolest job. Seriously. He (and his desk) were in the LEGO Marvel Super Heroes video game. He gets to tweet about Marvel all day long and get paid for it. He knows all the secrets about Marvel's upcoming movies and TV and comics, and won't tell you anything even if you offer him all the tacos in the world. He also does actual work, but that's no fun to talk about in a bio. Find him on Twitter--@AgentM!

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