THE STORY BEHIND HOWARD THE DUCK'S CREDIT STING
The post-credits sting – in which Howard The Duck, now freed from his cage in the Collector's lair, sips a martini and delivers a line of dialogue – wasn't shown to press ahead of the movie's release, so Gunn jumped on the phone with Empire last week to talk about its origins.
"We had one plan for the first tag, and another for the second tag. Originally, we were going to put Baby Groot dancing at the very end of the movie. But we kept trying to think of different things. We had a bunch of stuff with Cosmo (The Space Dog, the Russian cosmonaut dog glimpsed in the movie and again in the end sting), and different ideas, and I think it was some combination of me and the editor Fred Raskin who said, 'Let’s put Howard The Duck in there.' What if The Collector looks over and sees Howard The Duck sitting there? And I wrote down the line, 'Whaddya let it lick you like that for? Gross.' Fred and I thought it was hilarious but we weren’t sure that (Head of Marvel Studios) Kevin Feige would go for it. But we told Kevin and Kevin couldn’t stop laughing. Every time he saw it, he was like, ‘We’re fucking crazy! We’re fucking crazy!’"
"We decided to do it very late in the game, only a couple of months ago, and we had to design Howard that day. Then we gave him over to the visual effects company that did him. They did a good job very quickly – I think it was Sony."
In the infamous 1986 movie, Howard is voiced by Chip Zien, but Gunn had other ideas. "Seth Green, who voices Howard, is a really close friend of mine. I hang out with him a lot and we’ve been friends for a long time, over ten years now. I came up with a list of three guys I took to Kevin and said that these guys are all good friends, and I think they would come in and do it for me. He reacted really well to Seth Green."
Now the movie is a huge success, it's likely that millions have stayed through the end credits to check out the sting – but Gunn isn't sure that Benicio Del Toro is one of them. And he's not even sure that Del Toro is aware that Howard The Duck is in the sequence, given the last-minute nature of the addition. "Now I’m certain Benicio knows – I meant to text him this morning to see if he’s seen the ending tag that he’s in. I didn’t tell him and we didn’t show the tag at the premiere or any of the other places, and I didn’t tell Benicio. I thought it would be funny to just let him find out. He’s off doing his artistic things, I’m not sure he even knows."
The addition of Howard The Duck to the Marvel Cinematic Universe has prompted plenty of speculation about his role in the Marvel Cinematic Unvierse. Can a throwaway gag really blossom into something bigger? "I’ll be honest with you, I was just talking about it with my assistant right now," laughs Gunn. "It’s possible Howard could reappear as more of a character in the Marvel Universe. But if people think that’s going to lead to a Howard The Duck movie, that’s probably not going to happen in the next four years. Who knows after that?"