The Guardians Of The Galaxy will debut its first trailer in just under a week. The Marvel Studios August tentpole film will be the last film of their phase two prior to the arrival of The Avengers: Age Of Ultron in May of 2015. The question remains for most of the general public as to who exactly The Guardians Of The Galaxy actually are, or perhaps importantly, why should they be the stars of a summer movie with a budget of over $100 million.
Marvel Comics published the first issue of The Guardians Of The Galaxy way back in 1969. The comic never became a big seller for the company but over the years, grew its share of devoted diehard fans, although the title would fall by the company’s wayside before the end of the 1970s. During the mid 90s, the comic was relaunched and ran for only sixty-two issues before Marvel once again plugged the plug. The comic would see small runs and off-shoots before its moderately popular twenty-first century revival. In 2008, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning would create and write the modern version of the team that would go on to be the basis for the feature film adaptation.
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige first made passing references to the possibility of a Guardians of the Galaxy feature film back in 2010 at the San Diego Comic Con. By June of 2012, rumors circulated that the film had been greenlit and would serve as a lead-in for phase three Avengers villain, Thanos. At the San Deigo Comic Con later that year, Kevin Feige confirmed that the film was in development and would feature a team made-up of Peter “Star-Lord” Quill, Drax The Destroyer, Gamora, Groot and Rocket Raccoon. The obscure and off-the-wall comic book adaptation was going to be directed by James Gunn of Slither and Super fame.
Gunn quickly assembled an eclectic cast to play his far-out characters. Playing Peter Quill, the only human being on the team, is Parks And Recreation star Chris Pratt. In the film, Quill finds himself at the center of a manhunt after he steals a mysterious orb from the evil Ronan (Lee Pace). In order to escape the clutches of Ronan, Quill forms an uneasy alliance with a ragtag group of misfits. Once Quill discovers the true power behind the mysterious orb, he must rally the unwilling allies as the galaxy’s fate hangs in the balance.
The Guardians are made up of a wide variety of interesting characters. Gamora, played by Avatar’s Zoe Saldana, is a former associate of Ronan’s as well as the adopted step-daughter of the suspected Avengers villain Thanos. Former WWE wrestler Dave Baustista plays the warrior known as Drax The Destroyer who is in search for vengeance against Ronan over something in their past. Groot is a tree-like humanoid capable of speaking only a single line, “I am Groot”. Vin Diesel has been cast to do the voiceover and motion-capture work for the sentient tree. Rounding out who The Guardians of the Galaxy are is the walking, talking, gun-totting Rocket Raccoon. Voiced by Bradley Cooper, Rocket Raccoon has been a Marvel fan favorite for many years and is considered to be the heart and soul of the film according to director James Gunn. Not including the post-credit stinger placed in Thor: The Dark World, The Guardians of the Galaxy will also mark the first big screen appearance of Benicio Del Toro’s The Collector character. Del Toro signed a multi-picture deal with Marvel Studios to reprise the character in several different films. Academy-Award nominated Glenn Close and John C. Reilly are also apart of the ensemble cast.
Unlike the other entries into the Marvel universe, The Guardians of the Galaxy is rumored to be much-more of a standalone affair. The film itself is said to take place almost entirely in outer space. While the film is a big key component of Marvel Studios’ phase two, Kevin Feige has been surprisingly quiet on the subject of a sequel. While third entries in the Captain America, Thor and Avengers films have been announced for phase three, rumor has it Marvel may wait some time before jumping into a second Guardians film.
While The Guardians of the Galaxy do not have a planned sequel at the moment, all that could very easily change if audiences respond well when the film opens this August. Kevin Feige is unquestionably attempting his riskiest move yet with the superhero studio by taking the relatively unknown entity and making sure audiences everywhere know exactly who The Guardians of the Galaxy are.
By Benjamin Murray