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Groot, whom audiences met in the original Guardians of the Galaxy nearly two years ago, is a docile yet powerful anthropomorphic tree, who often acts with the wonder of a young child… or a pet. And that’s no coincidence: Director James Gunn says the film’s take on the Marvel comic book character was inspired by his dog.

During a Facebook Live session Tuesday from his trailer on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, Gunn was asked to name his favorite Guardians. “It’s hard for me to be more attached to any character than I am to Rocket and Groot,” he said. “Rocket, because he’s based on me, and Groot, because he’s based on my dog.”

The 16-minute Q&A touched on a number of topics related to Vol. 2, which is currently shooting in Atlanta. Production is 20 days underway and is scheduled to wrap in June, Gunn revealed. Asked how involved James Brolin’s big bad Thanos would be in the sequel, Gunn made a zero with his hand.

“I didn’t want to have [Thanos]. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is very much a story of the Guardians of the Galaxy,” Gunn explained. “It’s not that it’s not connected to the rest of the Marvel Universe, but it’s not a part of that overall story. It’s really a story about the Guardians, which I’ve made pretty clear for a long time.”

Gunn also addressed the film’s soundtrack; expectations are high after the first film’s so-called Awesome Mix No. 1 topped the charts.

“The difficult part about picking the songs on Awesome Mix Vol. 2 is there are songs that I would love to use that I just don’t have room for,” he said. “I know that putting a song on this soundtrack that a lot of people are going to hear, so I love the opportunity to share great music with people. … I really share the songs that work the best in the movie emotionally.”

See Gunn’s whole Facebook Live session below.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is slated for a May 5, 2017 release.

Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Movie
  • 122 minutes