James Gunn Reacts to 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Being Named 'Deadliest' Film

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Which Hollywood blockbuster shows the most onscreen deaths? According to one study, it’s the lighthearted sci-fi superhero film Guardians of the Galaxy — and director James Gunn, while surprised, appears to agree. The “deadliest film” designation comes from the number crunchers at the life-insurance comparison website GoCompare.com, which calculated that Guardians showed the deaths of 83,871 individual characters (most of them Nova Corps pilots killed by Ronan’s spaceship, the Dark Aster, in the final battle sequence; watch the video above for the body count). That dwarfs the runners-up, which include The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2,798 onscreen deaths), 300: Rise of an Empire (2,234), The Matrix Revolutions (1,647), and Braveheart (1,297).

As Gunn tweeted on Tuesday:

Many of the director’s Twitter followers immediately questioned the calculation, pointing out that whole planets are destroyed in other Hollywood blockbusters — for example, Princess Leia’s home of Alderaan in Star Wars. But the study specifically focused on deaths of characters who are visible onscreen. In response to one Star Wars fan, who tweeted that the Super Star Destroyer brought down in Return of the Jedi had just as many visible crew members as the Nova Corps in Guardians (and yes, these are the kinds of tweets James Gunn has to deal with), Gunn replied, “Tell that to the visual effects artists working thousands of hours to create 80,000 tiny Nova Corpsman (so, no, not at all).”

Related: Vin Diesel and James Gunn Talk Baby Groot, and What Vin Thinks of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2

The study’s methodology, which explains how the researchers tallied the body count in the battle, is detailed in pages obtained by Deadline. And for the record, Gunn promises that Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 will be a kinder, gentler film: When asked by a Twitter follower whether the sequel will top that record-setting death count, he answered unequivocally, “No.”

Guardians of the Galaxy cast and crew preview what’s new in Vol. 2: