'Guardians of the Galaxy' costume makeover: From rags to 'rock stars'

Ethan Alter
Senior Writer
Chris Pratt as Peter Quill rocking his rock star graphic T-shirt (Photo: Everett Collection)

When we first met Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) in the original Guardians of the Galaxy, he was just a scruffy space bum who fell ass-backwards into a big adventure with a misfit group of troublemakers. Flash-forward to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which premieres on digital services today, followed by a Blu-ray rollout on Aug. 22, and writer/director James Gunn wanted to make it clear that this band of antiheroes has hit the big time, and they are sporting the outfits to prove it.

“James told me he wanted the characters to have a rock star feeling, because they’re rock stars now,” Vol. 2 costume designer Judianna Makovsky tells Yahoo Movies. “He wanted the clothes to fit in a different way; at one point, he had the idea that Peter would wear a scarf, sort of like Aerosmith. And we added a lot of funky jewelry on Quill, like necklaces, which he had never had before.”

By far the biggest sign of Star-Lord’s ascension to intergalactic rock deity is the T-shirt he’s in for much of the movie. As far as Makovsky is concerned, nothing says “rock star” like swanning around in a snug-fitting graphic tee. But what kind of graphic would adorn a T-shirt from another galaxy? “I worked with a graphic designer for almost a month, and we must have created 50 or 60 designs,” she remembers. “We kept playing around, and eventually we came up with the idea of candy and started looking at different things that could be weird alien candies with fun graphics.” Looking back at the first film, they found an alphabet of alien languages and assembled some of those letters into the candy wrapper that’s prominently emblazoned on Quill’s shirt. Asked whether we’ll see him chomping on this sweet treat in Vol. 3, Makovsky laughs. “You’ll have to ask James. We didn’t get into the chemistry of the candy.”

Zoe Saldana as Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2. (Photo: Everett Collection)

Quill’s fellow guardians made their rock star transformation in subtler ways. As Gamora, for example, Zoe Saldana was freed from the catsuit she sported in the first film in favor of a more casual T-shirt and trousers ensemble. It’s a relaxed look that deliberately avoids the hypersexualization that can sometimes pervade the sci-fi genre, to say nothing of comic books. “That was definitely a conscious choice,” Makovsky confirms. “These are strong women; they can be sexy without being overtly sexy. I’ve worked on a couple of Marvel movies now, and they’re pretty clear about not oversexualizing these characters.”

Marvel is also very clear about its no-spoiler policy, which is followed by the actors as well as the many individual departments working on a film during production. In the case of Vol. 2, the secret that Makovsky and the costume team had to work extra-hard to keep involved one of the five bonus scenes that played during the closing credits. The scene in question found Sylvester Stallone‘s Ravager leader, Stakar Ogord, assembling his own team of guardians ripped directly from the pages of the original ’70s comic book. That lineup included Ogord and the now-deceased — or is he? — Yondu (Michael Rooker), as well as Charlie-27 and Aleta, played by Ving Rhames and Michelle Yeoh, respectively.

Ving Rhames, Sylvester Stallone, and Michelle Yeoh play Ravager-style Guardians in Vol. 2. (Photo: Getty Images)

“It was all very hush-hush,” Makovsky says of filming those cameos and designing the costumes in secrecy. “James knew exactly which characters he wanted, and there are certain features in the comic book that we tried to incorporate into the Ravager look. Like in the film, Stakar has those golden shoulder things; in the comic, they’re on his helmet. We always tried to incorporate some essential piece and put it in the new characters.”

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’: Watch a deleted scene from upcoming Blu-ray:

 

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