I love James Gunn. He’s the kind of screenwriter that I want to be – engaging with those enthusiastic about his work, and explaining how the industry works without sounding patronising or over-complicating it. I do really appreciate everything he does. On Facebook, he announced that the screenplay for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is complete, posting an image of the title page:
Unlike Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was written alone. The white draft was submitted on 2nd June 2015, the blue draft on 28th September, the pink draft on 26th October, the yellow draft on 17th December and the green draft on 10th January. Gunn was even considerate enough to explain the concept of draft colours:
When a crew or cast member gets a screenplay, it is white.
Every additional draft is assigned new colors so they get only the pages that changed printed on a new color, that they can insert, not the entire screenplay.
As we can also see, the screenplay is copyrighted to Marvel Studios, LLC. Gunn also explained in various comment replies that:
I always make very tiny changes along the way, but this is essentially the final draft.
This is an incredibly small amount of drafts for a mainstream movie. And when it says “five” it’s actually 100, which almost all screenwriters do. The drafts are the easy part. By the time I started I had a 70 page treatment I had gone over and over for a year.
As the director, Gunn is able to write the screenplay is a more descriptive style than most screenwriters would get away with. As the Guardians of the Galaxy films are popular for their 1970s compilation soundtracks (Awesome Mix, Vol. 1 became the first soundtrack to top the Billboard 200 without any original songs), and the selected songs are annotated on the screenplay. Gunn also revealed in another post that the Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 screenplay features a David Bowie song. Bowie’s Moonage Daydream (as originally featured on The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars) featured in Guardians of the Galaxy, and after Bowie’s death on 10th January Gunn posted a status describing his love of Bowie.
This post also described how the scene featuring the Bowie song had at that point been committed, but that Gunn would attempt to reinstate it, making David Bowie the only musical artist to have a song featured in both Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2.