If you’re one of those left-brained people who refuses to suspend their disbelief while watching the Guardians of the Galaxy films, wondering just how and why all these aliens from distant universes speak English, director James Gunn would like a few words with you. The characters in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 aren’t speaking English at all; a voice translator is doing all the work. In a series of tweets, Gunn yet again confirmed the Guardians of the Galaxy characters don’t speak English. See the details below.
We’ve been here before. Back in 2015, someone on Twitter asked James Gunn, “[W]hy does everyone in GotG inexplicably speak English?” Gunn had a quick, simple reply to the question:
They don’t. There’s a translator implant in their heads, as see in Quill in the mug shot scene. https://t.co/ZQLQJuqjDL
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) July 31, 2015
The director is referring to the scene from the first film where the Guardians, before they’ve actually become the Guardians, are in a police lineup. When Star Lord, aka Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) appears in the lineup, information about the character appears on a digital read-out. Among the data is “Translator implant in neck.”
Well, because no one knows how to use Twitter’s search function, people have continued to ask Gunn this same question numerous times. And Gunn, good sport that he is, has taken the time (occasionally) to set the record straight. Which he just did again earlier in the week:
None of them are. https://t.co/H7OZiFLTBo
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) October 3, 2017
In other words, the translator implanted in Qull’s neck helps him translate the variety of languages he encounters as he travels through the galaxy. And just because we as an audience hear everything as English, it doesn’t mean Quill does too. So says Gunn (again, via Twitter):
Of course not. And I never said Quill spoke English anymore. https://t.co/gbAlsZKyLG
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) August 2, 2017
This is all well and good for the Guardians films, but what about future Marvel movies? After all, Quill and the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy will be appearing in Avengers: Infinity War. How will the various Avengers understand what the heck Quill and company are saying if none of them technically speak English? The real answer is: it’s a movie, try not to obsess too much over this. But of course, obsess is exactly what film fans do best, so the question remains. That’s fine, just don’t expect Infinity War to address it. Besides, Gunn again has a simple answer for all of this (via The Inverse):
“None of this is a problem. The translator implants — which all of the Guardians except Groot have — work both ways. That is, if they’re talking with someone who speaks French, they can both understand AND speak French (if French is programmed into the translators). This is a pretty simple technology by Guardians standards — just a more advanced version of Google translate — and certainly something we’re technologically closer to than, say, traveling light years.”
Gunn is certainly right on that last point. Just the other day, Google announced their “Pixel Buds” earbuds, which will apparently have the technology to translate 40 languages. “It’s an incredible application of Google Translate powered by machine learning — it’s like having a personal translator by your side,” said Google product manager Juston Payne. No word yet on if the Pixel Buds translate alien languages, though. I’m guessing no.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is now on Blu-ray. Avengers: Infinity War opens May 4, 2018.
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