By Brian Ives
With just days to go before the release of the highly-anticipated film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Guardians director/writer James Gunn told fans, via a Facebook message, that he’s returning to the franchise for Vol. 3.
“I needed to know it was, in my heart, what I truly felt called to do,” he said. “There is a history in Hollywood of haphazard endings to trilogies, and I didn’t want to become a part of that dishonorable tradition of pretending the third one doesn’t exist.” (After all, movie fans surely don’t need to be reminded of 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, 2007’s Spider-Man 3, 2013’s Iron Man 3 and let’s not even talk about Ewoks or Return of the Jedi.)
“So, yes, I’m returning to write and direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. In the end, my love for Rocket, Groot, Gamora, Star-Lord, Yondu, Mantis, Drax, and Nebula — and some of the other forthcoming heroes — goes deeper than you guys can possibly imagine, and I feel they have more adventures to go on and things to learn about themselves and the wonderful and sometimes terrifying universe we all inhabit. And, like in both Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, we will work on creating the story that goes beyond what you expect.”
Of course, another Guardians of the Galaxy film means another “Awesome Mix”; in other words, another Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, featuring classic ’70s music. And while Gunn and Music Supervisor Dave Jordan probably won’t have much trouble coming up with a list of pop gems one more time, we thought we’d make some suggestions.
Climax Blues Band – “Couldn’t Get It Right” (1976) This song is as ’70s as they come and hasn’t been licensed to death. It’s kind of surprising that it hasn’t been on a Guardians “Awesome Mix” yet. But better late than never, and come on, we can see Peter Quill — sorry, “Starlord” — dancing up a storm to this one.
Bachman Turner Overdrive – “Let It Ride” (1974) Obviously, BTO’s “Takin’ Care of Business” is the more well-known song, but this is a better one. Disagree? We’ll decide by dance-off.
Cheryl Lynn – “Got To Be Real” (1978) A timeless disco classic featuring Ray Parker Jr. on guitar (who later, of course, did the title track from Ghostbusters), that deserves to be heard in all corners of the Marvel Universe.
Crow – “Evil Woman” (1969) Most of the songs on Quill’s “Awesome Mix” tapes are pretty well known to us earthlings, but Vol. 2 has a pretty obscure gem — Silver’s “Wham Bam Shang A Lang.” If Gunn wants to drop another long-lost band on Vol. 3, we think he should go with this classic blues rocker, which could easily be about any villainess. (Fun fact: Black Sabbath covered “Evil Woman” in 1970, making it even more evil).
The Undisputed Truth – “Smiling Faces Sometimes” (1971) “Smiling faces sometimes pretend to be your friend,” the song goes. “Beware of the handshake that hides the snake,” is a good line to keep in mind when you team up with Yondu.
Timmy Thomas – “Why Can’t We Live Together” (1972) Believe it or not, Marvel execs questioned James Gunn’s music choices; they weren’t feeling the ’70s classics in Guardians of the Galaxy. As Gunn told Rolling Stone, he recalled them saying,” “Nobody is going to want to hear this music.” They were hoping for a Britney jam. And then the soundtrack went to number one and was certified platinum. But the musical history impaired audience might, at least, recognize a bit of “Why Can’t We Live Together,” which Drake sampled on a little ditty called “Hotline Bling.” Or, maybe they’ll just hear an amazing song they weren’t familiar with. Anyway, isn’t “why can’t we live together” the quintessential Marvel Universe question anyway? At least until they introduce Galactus. Because he doesn’t have a problem with you personally, it’s just that he eats planets. And everyone on them.
Randy Newman – “Short People” (1977) As successful as the Guardians franchise is, they still may not be able to afford the Beatles’ “Rocky Raccoon,” which inspired the character (who, by the way, debuted in a 1976 short story, and then appeared in a Beatles-reference-filled 1982 issue of The Incredible Hulk). So just play “Short People” for Rocket Raccoon, he has a good sense of humor about that kind of thing.
Jean Knight – “Mr. Big Stuff” (1971) If Drax the Destroyer wants to get into the dance-off game, we suggest that he start with this song. Um, we humbly suggest that he start with this song. Unless he doesn’t like it. Or doesn’t want to dance.
David Soul – “Don’t Give Up on Us” (1976) Because, at some point, Gamora’s going to dump Quill — sorry, “Starlord.” Let’s face it, she’s going to meet Tony Stark in the next Avengers movie, and in the comic books they had a fling. If that happens in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Quill is going to have to work to get back with Gamora and there’s no doubt he’d do this with an awesome mixtape of his own. “Don’t Give Up On Us” is the perfect jam for that. Plus: Hutch! (David Soul, who had a number one hit with “Don’t Give Up On Us,” played the after-the-ampersand title role in the ’70s TV show Starsky and Hutch.)
The Supremes and the Temptations – “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” (1968) While the “Awesome Mix” tapes are mostly ’70s based one-hit wonders, Vol. 1 broke the formula with Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s Motown classic “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” and this Supremes/Temptations team-up would also work on Quill’s “Please Come Back Gamora” mix tape.
David Bowie – “Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)” (1980) Bowie’s classic album track “Moonage Daydream” was used to great effect in Vol. 1, and we’d love to see this underrated classic pop up in Vol. 3. Anyway, “Life on Mars?” or “Space Oddity” or “Heroes” would all be way too “on the nose.”
Funkadelic – “Cosmic Slop” (1973) George Clinton’s other band, Parliament, is on Vol. 2 (“Flashlight”), but if there was ever a band that was the equivalent of the Guardians — a bunch of distinctive looking misfits who come from different planets to make a great noise — it’s Funkadelic, and “Cosmic Slop” is the perfect jam for the quadrants of the galaxy that the Guardians tend to travel to.