At long last, the highly anticipated sequel to the 2014 hit “Guardians of the Galaxy” is finally starting to come together as director James Gunn gathers the principal returning cast for rehearsals. Thanks to some photos that the famed writer and director shared of the cast’s reunion, fans now have a slightly clearer picture about what they can expect from the sequel. 

“Guardians of the Galaxy 2” isn’t expected to arrive until May 5, 2017, leaving roughly a three year gap between the release of the first and the sequel. The reason for this is that the movie exists within the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which includes movies like “The Avengers” and “Ant-Man.” Although the film is by far the most well-removed from the grander Marvel story, fans will still wait an inordinate amount of time for its follow up. Luckily, the cast and director are aware of people’s “Guardians” withdrawal and have thus started getting people excited with the below photos. 

The first image, posted by Gunn to his Facebook account, features Zoe Saldana, Chris Pratt and Dave Batista, the entire real-life returning cast . In the first image, Gunn pretends to give Pratt and Saldana acting lessons by using Batista's pose as an example. According to ComicBook, also pictured crouching next to the team is the director’s brother, Sean Gunn, who had a small role as Kraglin the Ravager in the first movie. The outlet notes he often stands in for Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) during rehearsals, hence the crouching. 

The next photo is far more interesting as it features the first official confirmation that long-time James Gunn collaborator, and former “The Walking Dead” star, Michael Rooker will reprise his role. Fans may remember Rooker’s portrayal of the comic book character Yondu, the current leader of the Reapers.

Although it might be another joke, the caption for the photo seems to hint that Yondu will be shot at some point in the movie. However, given the infant stages of the script, that could all change. According to ScreenRant, the film’s shooting script has only been complete since Jan. 13, 2016, which is why the cast is finally able to come together and get the ball rolling on the sequel. 

Other stars from the original that aren’t pictured, but expected to return, include Karen Gillan, Benicio Del Toro, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel. However, the last two are voice-over actors, so they’re not expected to do a lot of on-set work anyway. This bodes well for Diesel who is currently filming “XXX: The Return of Xander Cage” and juggling the eighth installment in the “Fast and Furious” franchise. Joining the cast for the first time in the sequel is Pom Klementieff, who will play the comic character Mantis and possibly Kurt Russell, who is rumored to have been cast as the mysterious father of Star Lord (Pratt). 

What do you think of the first “Guardians 2” images and the confirmation of Rooker? Comment below or tweet your thoughts to @TylerMcCarthy