Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn talked about the struggles of continuity, canon, and the MCU during a panel at last weeks’ E3 Coliseum event. Entitled “World Builders” the panel was an all-star event featuring Chris Hardwick, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Randy Pitchford (from Gearbox), Kiki Wolfkill (from 343 Industries / Microsoft) and the afore mentioned Marvel writer and director. Speaking about the third installment of the space opera James mentioned he had just finished the first draft of Guardians of the Galaxy 3. He also talked about a continuity problem that has come up.


Continuity vs. canon


In a sequel what is more important, story continuity or its canon – and what if they come into conflict. Are they so important they must be maintained even at the cost of telling a more compelling story? James Gunn talked about one such conundrum he’s running into while working on Guardians 3. He didn’t get into spoiler territory but he outlined the situation for us.


Early in the first Star Lord saga the pre-guardians get into a fight on the streets on Xandar. Once rounded up by the local cops they are placed into a traditional police lineup. During the scene Rhomann Dey (John C Riley) and another officer discuss the outlaws inside a control room. Next to each character is a fairly elaborate bio for each member. James wishes he could take some of that back now because the initial story direction of GG3 will break one of the back stories.



While it might seem minor to most people, the Marvel devoted (and often vocal) fans of the MCU might have some difficulty with re-writing the story now. Granted the 616 is not the MCU but once a story is told when can it be taken back, if ever. He asked the audience should he break continuity. The reply was mixed with possibly more “no” than “yes” votes.


Canon is the construct for the world that is the story. If we break canon it is the same as breaking the laws of nature. What can we rely upon if canon is dynamic. But continuity is a bit different as James explained. The rules of film and other story telling allow for some continuity discrepancy. Randy Pitchford offered up the suggestion that the data on the screens was what Xandar knew to be true at the time of their arrest. Maybe the police had bad data.”That’s pretty good” said James.


If you want a hint as to what is in Guardians of the Galaxy 3 just review all the data points in outlined in the police lineup. One of these will (possibly) be broken next time around.