In The Beginning...
A team of interstellar superheroes tasked with a proactive cosmic agenda in the 31st century, the Guardians Of The Galaxy made their debut back in 1969 in Marvel Superheroes #18. The original line-up appeared in several of Marvel’s alternate universe comics up until 1995.
Dormant until 2008, the series was rebooted with a clutch of previously standalone characters. This revamped crew drafted in the street smart Rocket Raccoon, Thanos’ adopted daughter Gamora, artificial human Adam Warlock, Captain Mar-Vell’s daughter Phyla Vell, resurrected human warrior, Drax, behemoth beastie Groot and ringleader Peter Quill (also known as the far flashier-sounding Star-Lord.)
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Flash forward to 2010 and the Marvel Cinematic Universe hit its stride. Following the successful double-whammy of Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk , Marvel’s head honcho Kevin Feige took to the media circuit, making the obligatory stop at the San Diego Comic-Con.
During an MTV interview, he dropped a tidbit of info surrounding the prospect of introducing other franchises to their live-action roster. Feige sparked a maelstrom of internet chatter when he let slip - “There are some obscure titles, too, like 'Guardians of the Galaxy.' I think they've been revamped recently in a fun way in the book.”
Start your engines...
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The Thanos Connection
A sneaky sighting of Guardians villain, Thanos, during the Avengers Assemble end credits stoked the curiosity about Marvel’s next phase. Speculation over the possibility of a Guardians film based on the fan favourite comic series in which the team wage war against the evil mastermind, The Thanos Imperative , ran amok.
A prominent canonical baddy (he’s pretty much tried to kill all of them at some point) the violet-tinged monstrous Thanos stole the limelight by nabbing the first Guardians-related onscreen appearance as the chap behind Loki’s attempt to take over Earth. And it all came about because of one Joss Whedon:
“He for me is the most powerful and fascinating Marvel villain. He’s the great grand daddy of the badasses and he’s in love with death and I just think that’s so cute.”
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Taking a leaf from George Lucas’ book and securing merchandising rights in advance, Marvel scooped up a host of trademarks associated with the franchise before any official statement concerning the film’s existence was even issued.
Filing eleven trademark applications with the US Patent and Trademark Office ranging from tie-in video games, cosmetics, home furnishings and drinks (here’s hoping for a Rocket Raccoon sippy cup!), it was a bit of a giveaway really...
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Little-known scribe Nicole Perlman was unveiled as the screenwriter behind the completed first draft for the flick, reported by Variety as a property “Marvel has been high on.”
A recent graduate of the Marvel screenwriting program, she’s also the lady behind an allegedly impressive Black Widow script that’s floating about as well as 1986 Space Shuttle disaster flick, Challenger.
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Guardians A Go-Go
Finally ‘fessing up to the rumours, Marvel officially announced in H Hall at Comic-Con that their mystery movie would indeed be superhero outing Guardians Of The Galaxy , slated for an August 1st, 2014 release date.
Standing in front of a still of Rocket Raccoon, Feige told the excited crowd: “They are all coming to life on August 1, 2014. There will be many many more announcements to come in the next few months about that, but there is your first look at Guardians."
Amidst a slew of news on their intermingling franchises, a glut of brand spankin’ new title cards emerged, delivering to the public the first official logo for the Guardians feature...
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... as well as dropping the initial concept art created by designer Charles Wen.
Signalling the ambitious intentions for the project, this first glimpse offered up a look at the interstellar adventurers, confirming the five selected characters set to represent the Guardians onscreen debut.
Feige’s reveal made it clear which pint-sized chappie would be included, "Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Groot, Gamora, and my personal favorite, Rocket Raccoon."
The sight of vendetta warrior Drax, towering tree-man Groot, the half-human/half-alien Star-Lord, GMO’d vigilante Rocket Raccoon and sole species survivor, Gamora astride a rocky outcropping packs a fierce punch as the quintet appear to be in a major battle.
A wee hint of plot to come?
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Black List darling Chris McCoy was ushered aboard the project, taking on rewriting duties based on Nicole Perlman’s first treatment.
After snagging a coveted spot on Hollywood’s list of hottest unproduced screenplays three times, with Get Back , Good Lookin and Good Kids , McCoy’s penchant for witty scribblings were thought to be a contributing factor in Marvel’s decision.
Despite the scribe having no produced writing credits under his belt, the studio’s decision boasted confidence in his ability to marry action and quips in typical Marvel style. This was backed up by THR reportedly praising his work for their “quirky comedic bent.”
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The Story So Far...
An official confirmation of title, a spot of artwork, a line-up announced... but so far nada on the plot. That is, until two film industry sites, Production Weekly and It’s On The Grid casually updated their Guardians page with a suggestive glance into what’s in store for the space crew.
The logline makes reference to a hero, potential villains and even the mission they’ll undertake:
“The film will follow a U.S. pilot who ends up in space in the middle of a universal conflict and goes on the run with futuristic ex-cons who have something everyone wants.”
Is the pilot Peter Quill? Could the “something” be mysterious containment device, the Cosmic Cube? Let the speculation commence!
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With a tentative short-list of directors drawn up including Slither director James Gunn, Marvel creative consultant Joss Whedon practically confirmed what everyone thought anyway as he sang the praises of the Super director.
In an interview with MTV , Whedon laid out his assurances: “James is what makes me think it will work. I myself was sort of like, ‘Well, I liked Rocket Raccoon as a kid, but I’m not sure how that plays [to a wider audience].’ And then they said, ‘Well, we’re thinking about using James Gunn.’ And I said, ‘Oh, then no, you’re fine.’"
Before letting slip a potentially darker angle the blockbuster might adopt: “He has a very twisted take on it, but it all comes from a real love for the material.”
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James Gunn officially corroborated the rumours and revealed his role as the film’s director. With Marvel’s backing, he also signed on to rewrite the script, taking elements from Perlman and McCoy’s earlier efforts to keep it aligned with his vision for the finished product.
His undisputed enthusiasm was clear as day in his announcement, posted to his Facebook page:
“As a lifelong lover of Marvel comics, space epics, AND raccoons, this is the movie I’ve been waiting to make since I was nine years old. Kevin, Joss, and all the folks at Marvel have been amazing collaborators so far, and we’re committed to bringing you something majestic, beautiful, and unique. I am incredibly excited.”
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The fourth entry in Marvel’s Phase Two took it up a notch, with a report from Deadline suggesting a slew of actors were in the process of signing screen test deals with the studio.
Lobbing a handful of up-and-comers into the ring to battle it out over a role destined to send the chosen into the annals of Marvel history, among them were Joel Edgerton, Jack Huston, Jim Sturgess, Lee Pace, Garrett Hedlund James Marsden and Eddie Redmayne.
But who, you might ask are these dapper gents purported to be playing? The unconfirmed rumour goes on to speculate as to the role in question: the Guardian’s leader Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord.
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Rumours Of A Star-Lord
With the much-anticipated casting of the lead role taking the reigns of the rumour mill, mere days into 2013 two additional thesps are thrown into the mix.
Hot on the heels of his success as The Dark Knight Rises’ Officer Blake, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is considered a strong contender, as is often the case when any Marvel project is on the hunt for a lead.
Also added to the shortlist as a potential candidate for the plum role - funnyman John Kraskinki, known for his frolics in The Office .
Who will bag the sweet role as the Guardian’s celestial captain? Only time will tell...
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There’s nothing more certain to fan the flames of discontent than a rumour concerning two comedians in mid-career slumps being entertained as potential characters in a much-loved comic series’ live-action adaptation.
But still, all that aside didn’t stop the speculation brewing around two of Hollywood’s funnymen, Jim Carrey and Adam Sandler and the possibility of the duo joining the Guardians. Carrey’s rubbery-faced antics would be perfect as the mo-cap face of Rocket, and Sandler’d make a damn fine.... tree?
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Star-Lord Is Cast
With the casting of Guardians’ leader subjected to more mulling than your Nan’s customary batch of wine, it came as quite the surprise when Parks And Recreation regular Chris Pratt landed the anticipated role of human-alien hybrid pilot, Peter Quill.
Signing on the dotted line with Marvel was a smart move for the man known for his comedy schtick and willingness to venture into darker material (his supporting role in Zero Dark Thirty ). In an interview with Fandango , director James Gunn revealed all about the moment he knew Pratt was his man:
“We saw a lot of very famous guys for the role, a lot of very well-known people, and very, very good actors. We saw a lot of good performances, but it wasn’t until Chris came in and he read and I was like, ‘oh my God’, this guy has his own, very particular, amazing take on the character that blew my mind, blew me away. Then I thought, this is the first guy I could see sharing the screen with Robert Downey Jr and giving him a run for his money.”
Bravo Pratt! And does this mean Iron Man might make an appearance in the film?....
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Drax The Destroyer
WWE Wrestler, Dave Bautista, signed on to bust some baddies in the role of Drax The Destroyer. The warrior whose sole mission is to rid the universe of Thanos, returns from the dead invigorated with a host of new powers and blasts of energy to aid him in his quest.
“One of the reasons Bautista got the part,” said Feige in an interview with EW , “was because his banter, and ad libs, and screen tests with Pratt were awesome.”
Bautista, who made the transition from ring-to-screen with The Man With The Iron Fists and Riddick , beat out fellow fighter Jason Momoa for the role, who was considered to be the bookie’s favourite.
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Teasing The Second Phase
Marvel released a spate of new footage and artwork for their hottest properties tied to their second phase via the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One Blu-ray collection. As well as glimpses at Iron Man 3 , Captain America: The Winter Soldier , and Thor: The Dark World , there was a lil’ room for Guardians Of The Galaxy .
At the UK Iron Man 3 premiere, James Gunn discussed the artwork: “Some of the concept art that came out is under my tutelage, and some of it is before my tutelage. The concept art that came out is only stuff that was on the big Marvel collected disc set, talking about phase two and it had some stuff from Guardians. Some of the art by Charlie Wen and the guys.”
The ensemble piece for Guardians inks out a bar scene depicting our five star-trekkers huddled around a table in deep discussion, with Rocket leading the debate. Possibly about whose round it is.
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James Gunn spoke to HeyUGuys about his approach to the initial artwork of Rocket: “The Rocket Racoon that was by itself was an early version of my Rocket that I dealt with Charlie when developing. He doesn’t look so much like that anymore, but there’s a lot of similarities in that he’s more of a grounded, real little creature as opposed to a cartoonish thing."
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A giant skyship not unlike a futuristic zeppelin makes its way through a band of clouds... what is it running from? Who’s at the controls?
Does any of that matter when it looks this cool?
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Could this be Star-Lord’s vehicle of choice, the sentient, and aptly-named Ship?
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Dripping in darker hues, what on earth (sorry, in the galaxy) is going on here? If you squint you can just make out the hazy shapes of five figures in total beneath a polka-dot blanket...
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No stranger to boarding a starliner and venturing to the farthest reaches of space, Zoe Saldana joined the rumour ranks as the actress entered talks to play Gamora, nicknamed in the comics as “the deadliest woman in the galaxy.”
Sole survivor of the Zen Whoberi species, the green-skinned gal was taken under the wing of Thanos who opted to nurture her for future use as a weapon before the young whippersnapper turned on her stepfather and joined the Guardians.
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The Walking Dead ’s Michael Rooker officially signed on as the flick’s first character from deep in Guardians lore, Yondu.
A Gunn regular, previously appearing in the director’s slimy monster romp Slither , and lo-fi superhero hit Super , it was made no secret he was eager to join the cast and reunite with his collaborator.
Back in October 2012, during an interview with Collider the actor nominated himself for any role going: “I’d play the racoon guy. I’d play the tree guy. They’re all very cool characters! But, I don’t know. Marvel and Gunn have their own thing going on. It’s very secretive.”
A perfect fit for Rooker was found in the role of Yondu, a hunter from the Zatoan tribe born on Centauri IV, whose place in the original Guardians comic timeline marks him as the first character merging the two story arcs.
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THR reports that British actress Ophelia Lovibond has joined the eclectic cast in a supporting role allegedly tied to The Collector. No indication yet of exactly who she’ll portray, but perhaps the biggest nugget here is the first mention of one of the Elders Of The Universe, The Collector.
An immortal alien being assuming human form, The Collector’s existence has spanned billions of years. During that time he foresaw the devastation of the universe at the hands of Thanos, and took it upon himself to retrieve artifacts and living beings from throughout the galaxy, preventing them from falling into the destructive clutches of Thanny.
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So Far, So Goodie
New additions to the ever-growing cast are being signed up at an alarming rate, yet there’s one glaring omission to the line-up thus far: no baddies.
With links to every prominent Guardians hero, rumblings about Thanos’ turn as chief villain have been at the forefront of the debate. Whether or not the big-chinned galah will make an appearance, we now know one actor is in the running to strike fear into the heart of the Guardians: Lee Pace.
General chunterings online suggest he’s being eyed for The Controller, one of the big bad’s emissaries with a fondness for mind control. As for now, it’s still a rumour...
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Judging by the rate of casting announcements being fired off, by April 2013 pre-production was in full swing. A handful of conceptual artwork designs stirred up a hint of what’s to come, with a gun-totin’ raccoon and a giant talking tree, it’s safe to assume a degree of CGI creativity lies in store for two, if not more, of the leading characters. A winning formula on the strips of a comic however, does not always a good movie make.
In the UK for the Iron Man 3 premiere, Marvel’s Kevin Feige took to the press circuit once again. In an attempt to tackle the pitfalls which befell DCs monster flop, The Green Lantern , Feige this time allayed fan fears over Guardians sharing a similar fate:
“"It’s all about the aesthetic you go for. Already we have an art department as impressive as any art department I’ve ever seen in London on Guardians. And it’s, you know, designing things and believing that they’re real when part of the team’s made up of a raccoon and a tree."
Colour us intrigued...
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It’s the nature of the beast. Any work in the sphere of popular culture will inevitably draw comparisons to that which came before. Attesting to the web of intrigue surrounding the film thus far, fans and bloggers alike took to the first artwork sketches released with a well-informed eye.
In particular, the preliminary sketch of the main core of Guardians gathered in what appeared to be a bar, drew parallels to the granddaddy of all space movies, Star Wars .
In an exclusive with Entertainment Weekly (which also treated the world to a new spot of art featuring a young Peter Quill at his ship), Marvel’s man on the inside, Kevin Feige proved they weren’t alone in forging that link...
“Guardians takes place within the continuity of the [other movies] but it’s on the other side of the universe. We’ve always wanted to do a space movie. I’m obsessed with Star Wars, I’m obsessed with Star Trek.”
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Saldana And Gamora
When a young woman, misty-eyes brimming with excitement, discusses the nuances of makeup, style of dress and the price of heels, it’s an indicator that this gal is goin’ to prom.
So, in what became a verbal confirmation of Zoe Saldana’s signing - the actress spoke with Total Film concerning the hands-on approach to her Gamora transformation. Would she once more brave the full-bodied hug of the mo-cap suit? Would it be a CGI affair? Or could it be old-fashioned puppetry? (Probably not that last one.)
Asked about Gamora’s onscreen presence, she said: “She’s definitely gonna be make up, which means it’ll be me... thank god.”
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In one of the strangest casting tidbits conjured from the creative cerebrums of Marvel fans, this suggestion first originated on the Marvel Cinematic Universe Facebook fanpage.
Boasting over 93,000 likes, the page’s reputation for encouraging healthy discussion in all things Marvel is not in doubt. Unsourced imaginations at the ready...
According to the site, David Tennant, the tenth Doctor was “tapped” to voice Rocket. A tentative notion at best, still it gained enough traction to quicken a few bloggers’ pulses at the thought of the steely Brit tackling the vocal stylings of the mischievous Rocket Raccoon.
On hand to offer his process for casting the critter, James Gunn opened up to the press for the Iron Man 3 premiere: "I think there’s – here’s the thing: there are a lot of people who have a lot of ideas of who is right for Rocket Raccoon Rocket Raccoon has been slightly different over the years, in the comic books, and within my scripts he is a very, very specific guy, and I think people are going to have to wait for a few weeks before they see.”
Could that very, very specific guy in fact be Tennant?
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I Am Groot
... or is he?
According to a cheeky Tweet from Brit actor Enzo Cilenti, his involvement in the film was up for speculation:
“I may or may not be in #Guardiansofthegalaxy. I am sworn to secrecy so can't say. In entirely unrelated news, "I am”.”
Could Cilenti, known for supporting roles in The Rum Diary and Kick-Ass 2 , have been directing diehard fans to uncover the meaning behind tagging the words “I Am” betwixt quotation marks?
Was this a sly reference to a mantra repeated by the as-yet-uncast talking tree Groot (“I am Groot”)?
By the end of the day, the Tweet had been removed. Not quick enough to cease those tongues set waggin’...
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Two Good To Be True
In the space of 48 hours, two new names are thrown into the Guardians’ hat, with Marvel seeking two actors to further flesh out the expanding cast.
Funnyman supreme, John C. Reilly was offered the role of planet Xandar’s leader, Rhomann Dey. In the comics he served as something akin to a police chief for Nova Corps, with his primary jurisdiction his home planet. The Nova Corps function in a similar fashion to DC’s Green Lantern Corps - as an intergalactic police force, who could be primed to pin a gold star onto the lapel of another well-respected thesp...
A day later and Deadline reported that Oscar-winner Glenn Close has been tapped to join in a “leadership role in Nova Corp, the intergalactic space patrol.” Whether she’s up for the challenge of overseeing the entire Corps, or like Dey, a designated neighbourhood, if you will, is unconfirmed. Popping in a reference to The Avengers for an easy comparison, the industry news outlet mentions her character will be the Guardians equivalent to S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Nick Fury.
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All heroes need an objective. A goal to shoot for. Baddies come in handy to fulfil that incentive, threatening to take over planets, slaying parents and on the whole, trying to commandeer the power of the entire universe.
A gap in the villains, set to cause the Guardians a world of pain, was filled, with Karen Gillan and Benicio Del Toro signing up in two as-yet unnamed roles.
Gillan’s turn as Amy Pond marked her as the second Doctor Who alumni linked to the project. Her unspecified role will slot her into the evil ranks alongside Lee Pace and...
Benicio Del Toro. That’s right. Gonzo’s sidekick was reported by Deadline to have signed a deal securing the star for several repeat performances as one of the flick’s big bads. Uncovered by the site’s sources, the studio “are keeping his role under wraps, but he’s playing a character that is built to be part of future Marvel films.”
Thanos? The Controller? The Collector? We shall have to wait it out...
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In A Galaxy Far, Far Away
Joss Whedon heaped praise upon Gunn for his approach to creating an entirely new superhero world. His thoughts on the much-discussed similarity to that other huge intergalactic franchise? Let the newest director in the Marvel saddle do his thang.
During an interview with Moviefone , Whedon said “My only piece of advice has been: I want to hear more of James. Let’s pull out the formula. Give me more James. Make it weirder. The only way to achieve that Star Wars vibe is not to chase it – is to try to be an original universe and have all the fun and do all the stuff.”
With the blessing of Marvel’s leading director, Gunn’s quirky b-movie stylings were on track to create a grandiose universe. Albeit, considerably weirder than we’ve seen before.
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Dey You Have It
Finally. Weeks spent hashing out a deal at an end, John C. Reilly is officially announced as the next actor aboard in the role of Rhomann Dey.
Along with the news came hints at a few changes to the character’s heritage. Speaking in strictly canonical terms (i.e. in the comics), Nova Corps leader Dey wasn’t 100% human as he fought for the survival of his homeplanet Xandar against naughty space pirate Zorr.
His bigscreen debut will bare witness to a transformation with rumours adrift that he’ll shrug off his alien ancestry for a humanised version of the space cop. Or are the filmmakers re-writing him as Richard Rider, an Earth-dwelling human who becomes infused with Dey’s powers?
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Suspicions surrounding the identity of the characters played by Benicio Del Toro, Lee Pace and Karen Gillan were put to rest when Den Of Geek revealed the final triptych of villains slated to battle the Guardians.
Working alongside Ophelia Lovibond in the role as his comely assistant, Del Toro signed on as The Collector, a billions-of-years-old being who takes it upon himself to snatch up useful artefacts before Thanos can get his grubby mitts on them. Sounds like a goodie? Don’t hold your breath...
Rumours of Lee Pace adopting the mind-messin’ antics of The Controller were taken out to pasture, replaced by the treacherous Ronan The Accuser.
Son of Thanos, born into one of the leading families of the Kree alien race, Ronan served in the Accuser Corps rising through the ranks to take top spot of Supreme Public Accuser. Click Online caught up with the actor, who described his new alterego as “a real monster. I’ve had the best time playing this character. I’m glad it’s all on film, [as] I never thought I could be so nuts in it!”
If you think that’s nuts, then wait ’til you hear who Gillan’s slated to play. The actress rounds out the trio of baddies, taking on the role of space pirate Nebula. Aka Thanos’ granddaughter.
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Comic-Con: New Cast Member Revealed
With an entire year having passed since Kevin Feige officially announced Guardians at Comic-Con, the film’s cast and crew surprised the Hall H attendees in July 2013 with an unexpected visit.
Director James Gunn, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Michael Rooker, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Benicio Del Toro and Lee Pace were joined on the panel by newbie, Djimon Hounsow.
Hounsow’s role was revealed as that of Korath The Pursuer, a brilliant cyber geneticist. In a roundabout way, the actor disclosed which side he’d be fighting on - telling the crowd “He’s a great ally to Ronan and Thanos.” Chalk that up to another baddie.
The panel’s most surprising moment came when Karen Gillan whipped off her red wig and lobbed it to the crowd, revealing a shiny shaved head. Very fitting for her committed portrayal of Nebula.
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Comic-Con: First Footage
Two weeks of filming at London’s Shepperton Studios under their belts, the gang of Guardians did not arrive empty handed. They came armed with a reel containing - *drum roll* - the first glimpse of footage assembled from the shoot so far.
The no cameras rule in Hall H withstanding, that didn’t stop film bloggers in attendance from committing every second of it to memory.
The teaser opened with a shot of Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) breaking into a magical room, clutching a glowing blue orb as he faces a slew of armed guards, including Korath The Pursuer (Hounsow.) He introduces himself to his attackers, as Star-Lord. “Who?” asks Korath. Quill, showcasing a cocksure attitude replies: “Star-Lord? Legendary outlaw?... aw, forget it.”
The remainder of the clip showcased the first look at John C. Reilly’s Rhomann Dey running down a checklist of the recently-apprehended crew and their admittance into a spacey prison. Dey’s droll narration interspersed with shots of the Guardians kicking butt as Drax, Gamora, Rocket and Groot flash onscreen baring their battle faces.
As the clip draws to a close, the final echoes of “Hooked On A Feeling” fading out, Dey concludes with “They call themselves the ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’” before his second-in-command (Peter Serafinowicz) sends it home with the deadpan, “What a bunch of a-holes.”
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Comic-Con: Thanos The Mastermind
A new logo - fleshing out the previous one with a bulkier typeface - landed to coincide with the vast haul of info surfacing at Comic-Con. Another tidbit of which slipped out, leading to confirmation from Feige that yes, it’s true - Thanos is 100% guaranteed to make an appearance.
In a post-panel follow-up interview with IGN , producer Feige fessed up - “I think somebody on the Guardians panel let loose that Thanos is a part of the movie, which he is. Thanos plays a part in Guardians, as the mastermind.”
He went on, attesting to the scope of his character arc: “He very much exists on nearly another plane from any of the other characters and we have big plans for him over a long long time.”
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Comic-Con: Shadow Art
For those without the much-coveted Hall H pass dangling from their neck, a seriously genius spot of new artwork landed to coincide with Marvel’s latest press release.
Gunn posted the piece to his Instagram, with the following quippy caption: “Say hello to my little friends. #gotg#guardiansofthegalaxy #marvel #mcu”
The art includes all five Guardians; Drax, Gamora, Star-Lord, Groot and Rocket as part of their admittance into what appears to be a Nova Corps prison. The line-up mirrors an earlier moment witnessed in the preview footage, with one kinky detail. Look closer for a very clever spin on foreshadowing. Bravo, Marvel.
Days Before Release: 376
Comic-Con: Costumes Galore
Strolling the floors of the convention, Avengers Universe snapped a few shots of the Guardians display, bookended by a Nova Corps officer in full uniform.
Knives, guns and armoury spread out across a long conference table like an arsenal picnic. Star-Lord’s battle helmet took pride of place in the centre, surrounded by his signature Kree sub-machine guns and his, err, walkman?
The hefty helmet “analyses strategy data, can improve vision and regulate oxygen when in space,” according to the Marvel Wiki . Sounds like most of the fighting’s gonna take place far from Earth. Which is what you’d expect from a film called Guardians Of The Galaxy .
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Dave Bautista, during time out in a set-up for his character Drax, tore a leaf from X-Men director Bryan Singer’s book and took to the social media platform to share the flick’s first set photo.
The pic showed the beefy star submerged in a tank of water. His image caption recalled the accompanying conversation between Bautista and Gunn on set:
“@JamesGunn :No U cant B Namor & Drax Me:But! JG:Out of the tank Dave Me:But! JG:Out of the tank ya big goof!”
Namor? That’ll be Namor McKenzie (aka Namor The Sub-Mariner), mutant offspring of a sea captain and a royal princess from Atlantis. Never linked to the Guardians in Marvel’s Comic Universe, that didn’t stop speculation that he could show up in their Cinematic Universe.
Days Before Release: 366
Millenium Bridge Shoot
A throng of heavily made-up actors in a variety of guises; aliens with facial adornments, aliens with red faces and Nova Corps officers charged across London’s Millennium Bridge one August afternoon.
The shoot was snapped by all and sundry, leading press to take this as the first visual confirmation of Glenn Close in her role as Nova Prime. Upon inspection, it’s easy to see the connection, but the studio did not verify if this was in fact Close.
The Academy Award-nommed thesp was however confirmed in a press release issued by Marvel. The name itself represents the title of the Corps’ leadership, with no reference to a specific gender. A smart move from Gunn, hiring a woman who struck fear into the heart of every man and his pet bunny in the mid-eighties. Who’s not gonna follow her orders?
Days Before Release: 354
He Scores, He Shoots
Any cinephile knows from watching one too many special features discs, one of a film’s biggest post-production elements is the creation of the score. In a post to his Facebook page announcing the film’s composer as one Tyler Bates, director James Gunn revealed his preferred method for marrying the music and the motion:
“Grateful to be working with my favorite composer, Tyler Bates, on Guardians of the Galaxy. Unlike most films, Tyler writes huge chunks of the score first so that I can actually film to the music. During action scenes and huge dramatic moments we blare the score on set so that the cast, crew, and camera can move in harmony with the music. Music is often an afterthought in film, but never for us. And everything Tyler's done so far has been amazing!”
Days Before Release: 345
Chris Pratt Talks Guardians And... The Avengers?
"That would be really cool,” the actor told IGN when asked about a Guardians and Avengers crossover... and we couldn’t agree more! “What’s nice is that it is all the same universe,” he continued, “because it falls under the Marvel umbrella, there is the possibility, just like in the comic books, that these stories could intersect.”
Comic aficionados will know there’s a strong link binding the two superhero squads other than their co-existence in the same universe: one Mr. Tony Stark.
In cahoots since the Avengers Assemble series in which the teams were introduced, Stark hopped aboard the Marvel NOW! reboot of the Guardians Of The Galaxy series as fully-fledged member. It’s not out of the realms of possibility...
For now, it’s in the lap of the movie-going public whether the Guardians will cross paths with the Avengers, as Pratt surmised: "A lot of it’s just going to depend on what people think of the movie and if it makes sense for Marvel to keep making more of them. But I sure hope it does because I’ve never done anything like it. I hope they make ten of them.”
Days Before Release: 337
Bradley Cooper Cast As Rocket Raccoon
“Rocket Raccoon has finally found his voice!” exclaimed a press release from Marvel listing The Hangover ’s Bradley Cooper as the man slated to lend his vocal stylings to the wee beastie.
The news came as no surprise, following weeks of hintings from inside sources claiming Cooper had already been cast for his debut voiceover role.
In the comic timeline, Rocket was transformed into a genetically-modified raccoon gifted with the human traits of awareness and intelligence. He later became acquainted with the Guardians after Peter Quill enlisted him as a military tactician in a battle to stop the Phalanx taking control of the galaxy.
Days Before Release: 333
Guardians Of The Galaxy 2?
The sprawl of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe could continue to cast its net into the far reaches of the cosmos, according to the words of Michael Rooker, a.k.a. alien hunter Yondu.
Speaking with SuperHeroHype , the mohawked actor discussed his meeting with Gunn, and let slip what could be the first inklings of a sequel brewing:
“When I first got the role of Yondu, [director James] Gunn was like, ‘Don’t read any of the comics!’ but It’s beautiful stuff. Whenever you do a film of comic book characters and stuff you don’t know how much you can show, you don’t know how much is going to be brought out. Nowadays movies are done and they already have two or three others planned out. So stuff you do in this one, you ask “Why aren’t we doing this?” and they say, “Well be patient!”
Days Before Release: 332
That's A Wrap
Principal photography on the film drew to a close on October 11th 2013. On the eve of taking off for a Parisian vacation with actor Michael Rooker, James Gunn reached out to followers via his Twitter account for suggestions on what the pair could do to pass the time:
“Tonight is the wrap party but tomorrow will be my last full day in London before heading off to Paris with Michael Rooker. What should I do?! Suggestions appreciated below. People pleading for a #gotg trailer will be blocked and then, possibly, murdered. A bit harsh, I know, but I don’t make the rules.”
Sounds like that vacation couldn’t come soon enough.
Or the first official trailer.
Days Before Release: 294
Teasing fans through his Facebook page, The Fast & The Furious alum Vin Diesel made no attempts to deprive his following of the news surrounding his relationship with Marvel. A hint here, a hint there, all led to one question: was Diesel going to play Groot?
A video posted by the man himself all but confirmed it. Shot during downtime between takes on the set of Fast & Furious 7 , Diesel can be seen clearly having a ball as he familiarises himself with a set of bendy-stilts. Prepping for mo-cap, perhaps?
With no word from official sources, we’ll have to wait and tree.
Days Before Release: 290
“There’s no one else in the universe quite like him,” said Gunn, when discussing the GMO’d Mr. Raccoon, “he’s been created by these guys to be a mean-ass fighting machine.”
That’s some big boots that need a-fillin’. Bringing a scurrying critter like Rocket Raccoon to the big screen might evoke a certain degree of head-scratching. After all, you can’t mo-cap one of the little masked mammals.
Sounds like whatever’s been cooked up is pretty damn impressive, with Chris Pratt talking up his pint-sized co-star, going so far as to call him the best character in the ensemble.
In an interview with Total Film , Marvel president Feige responded to Pratt’s comments, affirming Rocket’s status as the film’s lynchpin: “We have said early on that the entire movie hinges on Rocket, hinges on our ability to make the audience accept this gun-wielding raccoon in space,” he went on to reveal “The key to Rocket is, he doesn’t necessarily know or care that he’s a raccoon. If you point that out to him, he’s not particularly pleased about it.”
Days Before Release: 284
Introducing The Collector
Supergod sequel, Thor: The Dark World hit cinema screens, and in the spirit of Marvel’s mid-credits cameos, a face familiar to the Guardians pops up for an introduction.
A neat bow wrapping up the film’s loose ends, the sequence clues us in as to what happened to big bad Malekith’s weapon of mass destruction, The Aether. The scene shows two of Asgard’s finest, Lady Sif and Volstagg delivering the “Infinity Stone” to Benicio Del Toro’s The Collector. Upon their departure, he announces “one down, five to go,” - a major point of excitement for fans, could the Infinity Stones be a bigger part of Phase Three?
It’s hard to tell, with what seemed to be a rather rushed shoot, according to director Gunn: “I got a script [the morning of shooting], and we did it in two hours at the end of a second unit day. It fits into our overall story of what's going on. I had talked to Kevin [Feige] about it and we decided the basics of what was going on. It was really late that we decided to put it on the movie. I mean really late. It wasn't that long ago we shot it.”
Days Before Release: 275
The folks over at Collider managed to snag a list of Guardians Of The Galaxy toys scheduled for release to coincide with the movie. The listing previews the type of merchandising you’d expect from a space extravaganza; action figures and ships.
A whopping ten are tied into the character of Rocket Raccoon alone. We already know the furry guy’s slated as the core of the movie - so based on that logic, there’s a few sneaky spoilers slipped in as well.
Little about the plot has been made public, but we can hazard a guess from product names like “Groot and Rocket Vs Badoon Warrior” and “Star-Lord Vs Ronan” that there’s gonna be punches swung, and mainly at the bad guys. What’s noteworthy is one of the items low on the list: “Star-Lord Vs Gamora.” Wait... what? Is the green-skinned goddess switching sides?
Days Before Release: 273
A camera phone snapped this pic of what appeared to be the film’s first promotional banner outfitting the foyer of a cinema in Brazil.
While the Marvel Brasil website address printed along the bottom lent the artwork a whiff of authenticity, James Gunn sounded unsure of its official status. When asked on Twitter if it was the genuine article, he responded with “I think that’s fan art I saw a long time ago.”
Hmm. Is this the first bona fide poster? And what’s that orb Peter Quill’s got his dabs on?
Days Before Release: 272
Thanos And Ronan
A glut of confirmed villains are set to put the Guardians through the ringer; but err, who’s leading the fleet of baddies? Because even chaos to be organised.
Talking to Crave Online , Gunn described the structure of the evil hierarchy - and whaddya know? Old Thanos is barking out the orders, as the director reiterated - “Thanos is a character in our movie,” before embellishing on who’s in charge: “He works with Ronan [The Accuser]. In my movie Ronan works for Thanos, and Ronan is the main bad guy in our film.”
Well, it’s sounding as if Ronan will be slotted into a similar lackey position as Loki was in Avengers Assemble - with Thanos as the master of puppets and Lee Pace’s Ronan The Accuser performing the duties of a devoted henchman.
Well, he is Thanos’ son, after all.
Days Before Release: 268
Vin Diesel IS Groot
Step aside, Cilenti. Vin Diesel’s participation in the flick was finally confirmed when the actor was revealed in a Marvel press release as the voice of ass-whoopin’ talking giant Groot. To coincide with the reveal, the excited star posted a snap of himself online, arms wrapped around a figure of the anthropomorphised tree-like creature.
Diesel’s involvement was one of the year’s most widely-known secrets. Now common knowledge, James Gunn leapt onto Facebook to announce his excitement at the news: “Yep it is completely official. AND he’s amazing. I never knew someone could say I AM GROOT so many different ways and with such feeling (and that sounds like I’m kidding but I’m not!)”
Days Before Release: 221
The Story Unveiled
On December 31st 2013, New Year celebrations included a series of riotous “hurrahs!” and “finallys!” from Guardians’ fans, as Marvel released the first official photo from the flick... and a full plot synopsis.
The image showcases the cast in their character garb in a setup recognisable from the Comic-Con teaser, with Gamora, Peter Quill, Rocket Raccoon, Drax The Destroyer and Groot assembled in a lineup.
Taking to his Facebook page, James Gunn posted his two cents on the choice to release the photo. While it may be official, it’s not the freshest incarnation of the squad: “Okay, so I suppose Disney released this still from Guardians of the Galaxy,” the director said. “It was featured in the San Diego Comicon trailer, and is an early (truthfully, quite unfinished - we've come a long way from here) look at Rocket and Groot, Star-Lord, Gamora, and Drax.”
Their stoic faces are explained in the first official story outline, released alongside the pic, which reveals the nature of the Guardians union and the gigantic task at hand:
“An action-packed epic space adventure, Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits — Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Peter discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand — with the galaxy’s fate in the balance.”
Days Before Release: 213