NXT Superstar Johnny Gargano prides himself on being a massive fan of Marvel, Star Wars and all things nerd culture. And like most nerds, one of his goals is getting to be up on stage during a panel at San Diego Comic-Con. This year's SDCC was supposed to mark his debut appearance, but the coronavirus pandemic caused those plans to get scrapped.
But "Johnny Wrestling" didn't want to miss out on the action, so he recently sat down with ComicBook to discuss his feelings on the Marvel Cinematic Universe's plans for Phase 4, his hopes for The Mandalorian Season 2 and what he and Candice LeRae have recently been up to on NXT.
Check out the full interview with Gargano below! You can catch the NXT Triple Crown Champion every week on NXT, airing live at 8 p.m. EST on the USA Network.
ComicBook: Even though we're all sitting on our hands waiting for Black Widow, The MCU has a bunch of stuff announced for the next few years. What are you most excited for?
Johnny Gargano: So I'm really excited for the Disney Plus stuff, like that What If...? show, it definitely seems right up my alley. I am really excited about that. Obviously Loki, I think that's something that I'm very excited for. There's a lot of people who are excited for that as well. Black Widow, obviously. It feels like it keeps getting pushed back. So we're waiting forever and forever for that now. But yeah, iImean, I've just learned to trust the MCU. So I look forward to everything. The inner '90s geek in me and the overall geek in me is just super excited for the potential of the X-Men. I mean just recently, I ordered, they just came out with this Sentinel action figure that was like a HasLab project. And like so many, it had to get so many backers for it. And like it's so big, it's so huge, I was like' I definitely need a Sentinel. So Yeah, there's a lot of things I'm excited for. But I've just learned to trust those guys over at the MCU 'cause they they do good stuff."
Since Thanos is off the table, do you think introducing The X-Men should be Marvel's next big event?
I think that's the thing, right now that is the most tantalizing for all of us geeks is seeing the X-Men in the MCU. However they're going to do it and I do trust they're going to do it really well. I think that is going to be the next big moment.
[They could do] Secret War, The Invasion too, I mean there's so many things they can play with. They have so much things on the table I just think there's also the potential for the Venom and the Spider-Man Crossover, which is, like that's right up my alley as well.
It seems like Sony keeps on going forward with its own MCU, but just for Spider-Man. Do you think that's the right call?
I get it. I get it on Sony's perspective. You want to make that money and you kind of want to do your own thing. And Into the Spider-Verse is great. I'm loving this. Everyone's loving Into the Spider-Verse. And it's was fantastic. But like Tom Holland man, obviously, like that whole uproar where Tom Holland wasn't gonna be Spider-Man. It was just, [the] Internet went nuts for a minute, I went nuts for a minute. But I think you wanna see Venom in the MCU. I understand they want to do their own thing, but the fan in me, just put it all in one place.
If you and Candice were given the opportunity, is there a power couple there in Marvel that you guys would love to play?
I've been saying our vibe on television, and I brought this up to her, is kind of very Star-Lord and Gomorrah-esque. And we didn't even mean to do that, as we would kind of just, that's what we leaned into and that's kind of just what happened. Her as this kind of, kind of serious, tough, like butt-kicker. And I'm kind of the more goofy, kind of having fun, kind of [guy].
I couldn't help but notice you're wearing a The Clone Wars shirt. How do you feel they pulled off the series finale?
Perfectly. I mean, Dave Filoni... the stuff he's done for Star Wars, even hearing that man speak, hearing how passionate he is for Star Wars. I don't see how you can't just say, 'Hey Dave Filoni, do all the Star Wars.'
[Be]cause he cares that much about it. Him and Jon Favreau. And that's the coolest thing for me. ...That's what makes NXT cool as well, 'cause it's all just a bunch of passionate people that love wrestling, there's an ocean of passionate people that love Star Wars. It's kind of their love letter to what they feel it should be. And when you have passionate people behind the things you're passionate for, you can't help but to be super pumped about that. So I thought the final shot at — spoiler alert if you haven't seen the end spoiler of The Clone Wars everybody — the final shot of Vader looking at the helmet, and like it just it was perfect. It was beautiful. I knew it was gonna get emotional towards the end there and just I thought they knocked it out of the park and I want more now with The Bad Batch.
Back at NXT TakeOver: In Your House you broke out The Mandalorian gear. What are your hopes for Season 2 of the show?
"Oh man, like hearing all the rumblings, the stuff that they're talking about, and obviously with the Boba Fett, we've just I mean, you've heard everything out of the sun about what could potentially be coming here. Season One was so good. Obviously Baby Yoda took the world by storm, and they kept that such a great secret. And you got to give them props for that 'cause all the merchandise and stuff got pushed back so much but they made their money up times ten in the end anyway. But yeah, I'm so excited for it. It goes back to Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni. I think they are just gonna absolutely crush it and as a Star Wars fan, I'm just super pumped.
Moving onto NXT a little bit. How much fun have you and Candice been having in these new roles?
So much fun. It's so cool to be able to work together and we've always wanted to work together. And we've always wanted a chance to kind of just be together on screen 'cause we haven't had that yet. Obviously, the way things are going. And with life in general... eventually we're going to have a baby. And the way that works out is Candice won't be able to wrestle for a long time when she has the baby. So we wanted to take this opportunity to actually get a chance to work together, be on-screen together, and if we don't get a chance again, and we want to make the most of it.
And it's just super fun to be able to just kind of bounce back off each other and just have ideas and throw it out there and do random stuff and film stuff together. 'Cause for the longest time we were just doing our own thing and I would film this, I would do that she would go over there she'd do that. And now to be able to kind of just be in sync together and plan year together and plan matches together and promos and things like that. I think it's just it's fun and she's she's my best friend obviously so you get to work with her just dream come true.1comments
Were the kitchen table promos something you guys pitched?
So the way it works is so we pitched the dinner theme. That was us. I think the idea for us to film over on the couch or something like that, we're like, 'No, let's do it at dinner.' I think we were going to be celebrating, let's have a dinner scene. And then we were like, 'Oh, we should put the cup on the table, we should put the cup in a glass case,' .... And then the guy who actually edits the promos, his name is Dustin. He came up with the idea for like the switch in dynamic to where the screen would go to a different color. [Be]cause we wanted to kind of show that yes, we're this lovable fun couple. And I think there's this little demeanor where we might have skeletons in the closet, I think that switch show is just a vast difference. And it shows the audience at home like 'Oh, maybe these two aren't as cutesy and aren't as fun as we think they are'. 'Cause that's the thing too with us, is you look at us, and we're like the prototypical babyface, prototypical good people like that smile on her face, we're have a good life. We're Disney. We're doing all this fun stuff. But I think there's this other element to our characters to where we've been through a lot of stuff and we've seen a lot of stuff and we both been tormented and tortured. So I think there is this kind of scary aspect to our characters as well.
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