Guardians of the Galaxy return: 'The difficult part was choosing which story to tell'
The pressure is off for James Gunn.
The US director admitted that making the sequel to his hit 2014 superhero movie Guardians Of The Galaxy was marginally easier and loads more fun.
Said the 46-year-old at the Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 press conference at The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo yesterday: "There are audiences out there waiting to see these characters again.
"We all came back so excited and everyone was ready to revisit their roles. Everybody upped their game on the first day...
"The most difficult part was choosing which story to tell because there are so many to choose from (the comics)."
Gunn was joined by stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista on the Asia Pacific leg of Vol. 2's publicity tour.
Opening here April 27, the sequel picks up where the first left off, in which the newly-formed Guardians of the Galaxy - Peter Quill aka Star-Lord (Pratt), Gamora (Saldana), Drax (Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) - takes on new missions while learning to come together as a group.
It also sees the return of Karen Gillan as Gamora's half-sister Nebula and Michael Rooker as Yondu, Peter's adoptive father-figure.
Gunn changed the game for the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a team of misfit "superheroes" from a lesser-known comic series.
Unlike the other more serious and dramatic Marvel movies such as Iron Man and Captain America, Gunn injected irreverent humour and infused Guardians with a rocking retro soundtrack.
The risk paid off - it made over US$773 million (S$1.1 billion) globally.
Which is why there are hardly any concerns over whether Vol. 2 will under-perform in any way.
The Guardians are already making their presence felt in the highly-anticipated Avengers: Infinity War.
Scheduled for a 2018 release and directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, the brothers who made Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) and Captain America: Civil War (2016), Infinity War will also feature Tom Holland's Spider-Man in the epic ensemble flick.
"We shot some scenes with the Russo brothers with some of the characters of the Avengers," revealed Saldana, 38.
"The one thing I'm really excited about it is that they're keeping the essence of what makes the Guardians unique.
"We're our misfit selves, making our jokes... and fighting, kicking and screaming with the Avengers next to us."
She added: "I'm excited to have all the superheroes from the Marvel universe coming together and fighting the supervillain Thanos."
Pratt was especially stoked to hang out with Robert Downey Jr, who plays Tony Stark aka Iron Man.
"I love Tony Stark because he has the coolest toys. I feel like if he's my friend, he can take me out on his jets and let me shoot cool weapons," Pratt, 37, joked.
"In real life, Robert will make a good friend too, as he is almost as rich as Tony Stark and probably owns a lot of cool toys too."
He added: "This is a dream job for me, so I'll do anything they ask of me. From the moment I was cast (as) Peter Quill to filming and travelling all around the world for it, I really feel like the luckiest guy in the world."