Marvel Studios is no stranger to pop culture cameos, but it looks like one popular reference did get nixed from its cinematic universe. Guardians of the Galaxy apparently planned to feature a brief Darth Vader cameo when the film was being developed, but Kevin Feige says the film's team ultimately opted for another nostalgic throwback.
During an chat with Mashable, the Marvel Studios president opened up about Darth Vader's would-be cameo. The producer explained the Sith Lord would have been brought in to remind audiences of Star-Lord's Earthly origins.
"Always, we wanted to reveal at a certain point in the movie that Peter Quill was a human from Earth," Feige explained. "And for a long time, I really thought it was going to be the greatest thing in the world that you're in a spaceship and he's talking to one of the alien characters and he knocks over his bag and one of the alien characters bends down and picks up — and it was a Darth Vader action figure — [and] goes, 'What's this?'"
Of course, fans know the Darth Vader cameo never came to be. Feige admits director James Gunn pitched another nostalgic pop culture nod that piqued his interest more so.
"To make a long story short, James Gunn was basically like, 'I got a better idea. What if he had a Walkman and listened to music?' And it was like, 'Oh, that's a million times better,'" he continued. "Because the 'Star Wars' thing was just a nerdy reference in a single moment, and obviously, the conceit of the music redefined the entire movie."
There is always a chance Star Wars may get some overt nods in further MCU titles. Captain America: Civil War paid homage to the franchise when Peter Parker brought down Giant-Man in the same ways the Rebels once brought down AT-ATs on Hoth. Spider-Man: Homecoming has also previewed its own Star Wars nods as the film's trailer has shown Peter's best friend holding (and breaking) a LEGO version of the Death Star.
Set to the backdrop of 'Awesome Mixtape #2,' Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team's adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill's true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes' aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is written and directed by James Gunn (Slither). The film marks the return of the original Guardians, including Chris Pratt (Jurassic World) as Peter Quill/Star-Lord; Zoe Saldana (Star Trek Into Darkness) as Gamora; Dave Bautista (Spectre) as Drax; Vin Diesel (Furious 7) as the voice of Groot; Bradley Cooper (American Sniper) as the voice of Rocket; Michael Rooker (Jumper) as Yondu; Karen Gillan (The Big Short) as Nebula; and Sean Gunn (Gilmore Girls) as Kraglin. New cast members include Pom Klementieff (Oldboy), Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby, Everest), Chris Sullivan (The Knick, The Drop) and Kurt Russell (The Hateful Eight, The Thing).
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is in theaters now. Spider-Man: Homecoming lands on July 7, 2017, followed by Thor: Ragnarok on November 3, 2017. After that Black Panther debuts on February 16, 2018, while Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters on May 4, 2018. Ant-Man and the Wasp is slated for July 6, 2018, followed by Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019.