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Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2: See Three Exclusive New Images

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 sits front-and-centre on the latest issue of Empire, with an instantly loveable Groot-heavy limited edition cover already on its way to subscribers. Inside, there's eight pages of coverage on the return of galaxy-saving gang, including a full set report from the Atlanta shoot, and several never-before-seen images – three of which we can share with you now. Take a look below – and click to embiggen.

The first shows Yondu (Michael Rooker) squaring off with Rocket (Bradley Cooper). You wouldn't bet against either of them in this fight.

This one shows the gang in action, including Karen Gillan's Nebula – is she with the good guys this time?

Finally, it's a venerable newcomer to the cast, Kurt Russell, as Ego The Living Planet, father of Chris Pratt's Star-Lord. As recounted in the new issue of Empire, it was Pratt who suggested Russell's casting during a casual chat with his director James Gunn, when Pratt made an offhand suggestion: “Hey, what about Kurt Russell?”

“I started writing for Kurt as I was finishing the screenplay,” Gunn recalls. “I would have been really disappointed if he’d said no.” Fortunately Russell said yes, after checking out the first movie, which he’d missed the first time around. “Fifteen minutes in, I said, ‘I think I see why they’re coming to me…’” the former Snake Plissken tells Empire. “The baggage I bring from some of the movies I’ve done is the right kind of baggage to bring into this one.”

Ego is, in a very real sense, his biggest-ever part. “That’s true!” Russell roars. “I’ve never played anybody bigger! I’ve never played a character with broader possibilities, I’ll say that.” Indeed, Ego proved the film’s largest technical challenge. Inspired by the elaborate fractal art of Hal Tenny, who Gunn hired to help design Ego’s environment, it’s pushed visual effects past the existing limit. “We have over a trillion polygons on Ego’s planet,” says Gunn proudly. “It’s the biggest visual effect of all time. There’s nothing even close to it. Which is cool.”

This is just a preview of our extensive Guardians 2 coverage – for the full planet-sized report, including more interviews with Gunn and all the key cast, be sure to pick up a copy of the new issue of Empire, on sale in all good and evil newsagents from Thursday. Empire subscribers should start to receive their limited edition covers already. Want to get your copy days before anyone else too? Subscribe to Empire here.

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