If there’s one thing Guardians of the Galaxy’s James Gunn loves it’s a Nathan Fillion cameo, with the director managing to shoehorn his close actor pal into almost every film he’s made whether in small or larger roles.
Accordingly, he had him voice a monster in the first Guardians film and planned to bring him back in an even more significant role for this year’s sequel – longtime Marvel superhero/actor Simon Williams, aka Wonder Man, a frequent member of the Avengers in the comic-book continuity.
However, as Gunn has now revealed, things didn’t exactly go to plan…
“As many of you know one of my best friends in the world is Nathan Fillion,” Gunn said in a Facebook post.
“Along with Michael Rooker and Gregg Henry he's been in every movie I've directed – even as a monstrous, perverted voice in Guardians of the Galaxy. I didn't have a good cameo for him in Vol. 2 – and I wanted to bring him more fully into the MCU at some point, so I didn't want to make him Aakon Guard #2, narrowing his chance of a more substantial role in the future.
“I really do love the character of Simon Williams/Wonder Man in the comics – a sometimes douchey actor/superhero - and could see Nathan clearly in that role (not because he's a douchebag but because he's great at playing one). But, of course, in a movie set 99.9% in space I didn't really have a place for him. So in a small flash to earth I decided to put a theater playing a ‘Simon Williams Film Festival,’ with six Simon Williams movie posters outside.
“Obviously, from the posters, he's had a run of B movies. Most of them in themselves are Easter eggs of some sort or another.”
Nathan Fillion and James Gunn
However, the cameo ended up having to be cut for time, leaving Gunn with a bit of a problem when several online outlets reported the casting despite it only being intended as a quick gag.
“Unfortunately, the small section of the scene where they appeared slowed down the movie and I had to cut the Easter eggs from the film (along with storefronts named after comic book luminaries Starlin, Mantlos, Annett and others),” Gunn went on.
“Equally a bummer was that a lot of people took photos of these posters on the day so suddenly every fan site was reporting that Nathan was playing Wonder Man in the movie. He was even the third-billed actor on IMDB!
“So that's the full story. Nathan's only cameo in the movie ever were these posters. I'll post them all over the next few days.”
The first such poster shows Fillion (as Williams, above) apparently starring in a biopic of Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark (aka Iron Man) in the style of Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs, and we can hardly wait to see more – but for any fans disappointed that we’ll only ever see Fillion’s version of Williams in poster form, Gunn offered some hope that he could appear in the flesh at some point in the future
“I think we can consider them canon for the MCU,” he concluded. “I hold onto hope that Simon Williams will rise again!!”
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is in cinemas now