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Kurt Russell officially signs on for Guardians Vol. 2 as principle photography begins

The stars have all aligned: As was previously rumored, Kurt Russell has been cast in in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Director James Gunn announced the news in a Facebook post today as production got underway in Atlanta, Georgia. He did not, confirm what role The Hateful Eight star will play, but there doesn’t seem to be much mystery there.

There has been wide speculation that Russell will star as the alien father of Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord character (aka Peter Quill) in the film, with The Wrap reporting in December that the actor was Gunn’s top choice for the part. Rumors of Russell’s potential involvement came after an earlier reveal this fall from Gunn that Peter Quill will be the only earthling in Vol. 2, and that more releases in the Marvel Studios-produced series are likely.

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Plot details for the second film of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise are still under wraps. Based on the Marvel comic book series, the film version tells the story of Quill forming an alliance with other misfit heroes to save the galaxy. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 was the 10th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — and one of the highest-grossing films of 2014.

Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Sean Gunn, Glenn Close, and voice stars Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel are set to return for Vol. 2. In October, the studio revealed that Oldboy’s Pom Klementieff joined the film’s cast in an unknown role after a wide search. Other new cast members revealed in Gunn’s post include Elizabeth Debicki and Chris Sullivan.

Russell, now 64, made a name for himself in the ’80s and ’90s for his iconic roles in movies like Tombstone, as well as sci-fi films like Escape From New York, The Thing, and Stargate. The veteran actor has been nominated for two major awards in his career: a Golden Globe nom for his performance in 1983’s Silkwood, and an Emmy nom for the 1979 television film Elvis.

Production on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is now underway. Disney will release the film on May 5, 2017.

Updated 2/17/16 by Stephanie Topacio Long: This post has been updated to reflect the most recent casting news and the fact that filming has begun.