Here's the crew of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, including itty bitty Groot

Filming has begun for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and writer-director James Gunn has some exciting things to share. Thing number one is the first official photo from the set, which cleverly avoids revealing any costume changes for the ragtag team of space weirdoes by showing them all in silhouette (except for tiny Groot, who seems to have grown back enough to be uprooted from his flower pot).

Thing number two is the four new names joining the cast, led by Snake Plissken himself, Kurt Russell - though James Gunn pointed to his role in 1975's The Strongest Man in the World as a childhood favorite. Russell has been heavily rumored for the role of Star-Lord's father, though Gunn didn't confirm his specific role. Other new talent includes Elizabeth Debicki of The Great Gatsby and The Man from UNCLE, The Drop's Chris Sullivan, and Oldboy's Pom Klementieff, who plays the green-skinned-and-antennaed martial artist Mantis.

Gunn also confirmed that "Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Sean Gunn, and Glenn Close are all returning," meaning the principal cast from the first film is almost entirely accounted for. But no sign of John C. Reilly, who played perpetually frustrated Nova Corpsman Rhomann Dey in the first film. And don't expect an appearance from Marvel Cinematic Universe big-bad Thanos, either, as Gunn says Guardians Vol. 2 has "other fish to fry".

Directed by James Gunn and starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Bradley Cooper, and Vin Diesel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will hit UK cinemas on April 28, 2017 and open in US theatres on May 5, 2017.

Image: Marvel/James Gunn

Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.