The location has long been part of Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy films, with the group initially visiting the first film to meet the collector who was building his collection from The Severed Head of Celestial. Since then, Knowhere has seen quite a bit (including Thanos attacking to get the Reality Stone), and now the Guardians have stepped in to help rebuild. Having bought the site from the Collector, they now manage it and make it their new home.
Although viewers have seen Knowhere several times in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 it’s time to update your location in different ways. In the new film, Beth Mickle plays the production designer, and one of her first assignments was to spend weeks going through Knowhere’s previous projects to come to terms with Celestial’s head.
“I knew we would revisit Knowhere, who I loved in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1,” she explains. “He has a little cyberpunk side.It’s an old mining town that has a lot of light and a lot of color and a lot of grit to it and I really love that aesthetic. I really enjoyed going through all the material from that and I knew we were going to be revisiting that world in a very big way.”
And not just in a big way on screen, but a big way for filming, too. Returning writer and director James Gunn wanted to use practical sets for Knowhere, which meant that the entire location had to be built from scratch. Mickle cites that was one of the reasons she was hired for the film, because she comes from an independent filmmaking background and was more than ready to jump into the project and create it from the ground up.
“We don’t rely on a blue screen, James really makes sure everything gets shot, which is just great from a production and set perspective,” he continues. “It’s music to our ears. We really love creating physical landscapes and our Knowhere Street was an exciting prospect.
Production Designer Rosemary Brandenburg also wanted to explore the true location of Knowhere. “The shots are quite big, they’re really compelling and it takes time to plan and implement everything and convey everything about the actors.”It’s quite an operation. People sometimes believe that it’s entirely in CGI, but we do a lot of real settings. James asked that this movie be particularly heavy on reality and real sets right around the actors and that’s what we’ve done.”
Having things built in real life only adds to the physical (and sometimes, emotional) depth for the movie. “The scope of these films is often misunderstood, and people often think that what we’re doing is simply creating a little bit of an environment and then it’s completely extended around the actors,” she adds.”We actually create a huge situation around the actors.”
But this time a challenge for Knowhere? It must have looked destroyed. Based on the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, Knowhere was meant to look depressed and seedy. With the takeover of The Guardians of the Galaxy Christmas special, the crew has slowly begun to rebuild, but it will take longer.