10 screenwriting lessons from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

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Screen Capture from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Lesson 6: Mini-Goals

In the first Guardians of the Galaxy, the film had one large overarching goal—prevent Ronan from getting the Infinity Stone and destroying Xandar. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 had a unique structure in that it didn’t have a large primary goal. Although, one could argue that escaping the Sovereigns after Rocket’s battery theft is the goal.

However, the team soon runs into Ego, Peter’s father. That soon leads to a separate goal of trying to learn more about Ego and his reasons for abandoning Peter. When the team becomes separated, two other goals are spawned—Nebula trying exact her revenge on Gamora, and Yondu, Rocket, and Groot dealing with the mutinied crew.

The lesson here isn’t that a writer doesn’t need goals. In fact, the writer needs to do quite the opposite. Because there are so many goals occurring simultaneously, a writer needs to find a unifying theme for each one and have the character and their goals converge in the third act. This technique works, but also requires a lot of skill. We would still suggest that first-time screenwriters stick with one goal in mind.