In “Vol. 3,” the series’ final entry, Kraglin had become an essential piece of the “Guardians” magic, another misfit whose bad or selfish actions at the outset was ultimately redeemed by becoming enmeshed in his found family. Like Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Nebula (Karen Gillan), and Mantis (Pom Klementieff), his initial evil alignment was something to rise above. And it couldn’t have happened without Sean Gunn’s performance.
As James Gunn told Collider, he “never thought [Kraglin] would be on the poster with the head fin” that belonged to Yondu at the series’ beginning. Kraglin started out as little more than an interesting side character who was effectively in the margins of the first movie’s heightened, colorful, cosmic world. A bit of flavor.
Luckily for Sean Gunn, the evolving nature of the series and its numerous sprawling plot threads meant that Kraglin kept coming back and developing, bit by bit. As Sean told Van Gogh’s Ear Anthology, his ideal method of character development was in the longform style that tended to be an outgrowth of working in television. In particular, he mentioned appreciating “when a character grows a little and changes a little over time, and my performance helps shape the way the writers see him.”
In many ways, Gunn was able to experience that across the multiple “Guardians” movies, and even in other Marvel movies like 2022’s disappointing “Thor: Love And Thunder,” where the Guardians (including Kraglin) appear briefly during the opening act. Not a bad showing for someone who began in the films with such a small role.