As GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY edges ever closer to filming, there has been a sharp rise in the number of stories relating to the film. The majority of stories are highly speculative and as a reader, we are encouraged to place our belief in an unnamed yet ‘reliable source’.
While the majority may fall into this category, some official news has managed to filter through. In an interview with HeyUGuys, director James Gunn confirmed that Robert Downey Jr. will not reprise his role as TONY STARK in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY:
“No. That just means that all our movies are connected, we’re created in a way that we’re very connected to the movies that came before us, we’re even more connected to The Avengers 2, that comes after us, and so in that respect, what we would hope is that these characters would continue, and that at some point in time they’ll all meet up with different characters throughout the galaxy.”
MARVEL’s decision to proceed with GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is questionable, as fans are keen to see the adaptation of more popular comic-book characters that have exceptionally well written material. This has produced speculation, and for some, a the firm belief that GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is being engineered to add further depth and back-story to THE AVENGERS 2.
Jim Starlin, who created the characters THANOS and GAMORA for MARVEL, recently expressed his concerns about the film adaptation of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY:
“Guardians Of The Galaxy was one of the worst selling books for the longest time. I mean how many times did they bring that thing back and it disappear.”
Starlin then went on to comment on MARVEL’s choice of casting for the film:
“You know the gal who plays Gamora, I kind of like, I’ve seen her in a couple of things, I can’t think of her name off the top of my head. The wrestler they got for Drax looks pretty cool. Apparently Thanos does make some kind of appearance in there, which makes sense because Gamora is sort of his foster daughter.”
It’s natural for GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY to be referred to as a ‘cosmic cousin’ of THE AVENGERS, a similarity also expressed by the film’s director, James Gunn:
“In terms of a lot of stuff we’re very much like The Avengers, where it’s a very big, huge movie. It’s different because it’s cosmic, it’s in outer space, it’s very colourful. We have a whole history of science fiction behind us that we’re dealing with, and borrowing from, and also fighting with to create something unique. But at the same time there’s a lot of stuff it has in common with The Avengers.”
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY has an ever swelling cast of characters and has the distinct disadvantage of needing to establish each individual within the one film. THE AVENGERS had the luxury of multiple standalone films preceding it. This resulted in none of its main characters appearing on-screen for the first time. This allows for natural character development and presenting the opportunity for THE AVENGERS to focus on the group’s collective talents and clashing personalities.
With GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY lacking this structure, there is the very real possibility that the varied and detailed character backgrounds will be sacrificed. It is also likely that some characters may be pushed to the sidelines to avoid the film losing focus on the overall plot. While sacrifice should be expected, it is easy to forget the success MARVEL has had with X-MEN.
X-MEN and X-MEN: FIRST CLASS establish numerous characters, explore the dynamics of the group and do not lose focus on the main storyline. To achieve this within a two-hour film is exceptional, and is a far better comparison to make than THE AVENGERS. It should be noted that the X-MEN films predominantly focus on specific characters.
In the first two X-MEN films, WOLVERINE is used to push the story forward as the character lacks a back story and is a mystery used as a plot device. He is a character that does not fit in with the already established group of characters. This allows the film to use LOGAN to explore how the individuals interact with one another, to highlight their varied personalities and to delve into some of their backgrounds.
In GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, the character that most resembles LOGAN is PETER QUILL. The character has a back story that mirrors Greek mythology that is also the foundation for many iconic characters including SUPERMAN and LUKE SKYWALKER. Quill is born during an unusual astronomical phenomenon and is raised by his mother on Earth. A band of aliens arrive vowing to end the SPARTOI bloodline and kill QUILL’s mother. Quill eventually kills the aliens and after joining NASA, embarks on a journey that leads to him joining the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY.
It’s safe to presume that QUILL’s story will be the main focus of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. Much like LUKE SKYWALKER, his story will resonate with fate and similar to LOGAN, QUILL will be an outsider who is thrust into the middle of an already established band of characters. Through the use of QUILL, we will experience the dynamics of the group and learn limited information of their back story. The viewer will be forgiving as GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY will be a story about PETER QUILL’s journey opposed to that of a story about a group of characters.
The characters involved in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, are remarkably different from those found in other MARVEL properties. They are more akin to the likes of 2000 AD or lesser known, but much-loved cult comic-books.
Perhaps the most unusual looking character is ROCKET RACCOON, who first made an appearance in 1976 in MARVEL PREVIEW #7. The character was not used again until May 1982, when he made an appearance in INCREDIBLE HULK #272. RACCOON then went on to feature in his own comic-book series that includes a number of characters that are based on animals, most notably a walrus who is ingeniously called WAL RUS…
As a fiercely loyal combat tactician, ROCKET RACCOON went on to feature as a fan favorite of the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. With the announcement of the film being in pre-production, concern was raised as to how the character would be used, with some fearing that he may become the PUSS IN BOOTS of the franchise.
To ease fan worry, James Gunn stated:
“Rocket Racoon, who is the heart of the movie, is not a cartoon character, it’s not Bugs Bunny in the middle of The Avengers, it’s a real, little, somewhat mangled beast that’s alone. There’s no one else in the universe quite like him, he’s been created by these guys to be a mean-ass fighting machine.”
Due to the character’s popularity, casting wish lists and rumors have surfaced. The most interesting rumor is that the Scottish born actor, David Tennant, is being considered for the role. Tennant is a popular British actor, who is often linked to an assortment of unusual and eccentric characters. This is due to him playing THE DOCTOR in DOCTOR WHO.
While many approve of Tennant as ROCKET RACCOON, the solitary argument to support the rumor is that Tennant is associated with DOCTOR WHO. Christopher Ecclestone is the villain MALEKITH in MARVEL’s THOR: THE DARK WORLD; therefore, it is somehow presumed that Tennant is in leading contention for a role in a MARVEL film. This is on a par with someone stating that Silvester McCoy will be cast as REED RICHARDS in FANTASTIC FOUR as in the past he played THE DOCTOR.
Continuing this theme, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER has announced that former DOCTOR WHO assistant, Karen Gillian is on the cusp of being cast as the main female villain.
The Scottish actress from Inverness, had a limited number of roles prior to being cast as AMY POND in DOCTOR WHO. Gillian’s portrayal as THE DOCTOR’s assistant was extended to a number of video games as well as a five-part mini spin-off entitled POND LIFE. Since leaving the show, Gillian has starred in three feature films including NOT ANOTHER HAPPY ENDING, OCULUS and THE LIST.
It should be made clear that Karen Gillian’s probable inclusion in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, is at this stage, nothing more than a rumor. It’s also worth noting that the source is highly credible yet, they have excluded any evidence to support their claim. To determine if there is any truth to this story, I contacted Karen Gillian’s agent. At the point of writing, neither Michael Duff (her agent) nor TROIKA TALENT have supplied THIS IS INFAMOUS with a statement.
Rumors may be entertaining, however their origins often have an anterior motive. With MARVEL dominating movie headlines, it becomes increasingly important to rank high on search engines for a wide range of keywords. Rumors are spread with the solitary aim of having them regurgitated by other news related websites. This provides citation links that propel the source’s website to the top of search engines. This also creates a steady stream of website traffic, that converts to a high number of page views to attract potential advertisers.
MARVEL’s popularity is second only to STAR WARS EPISODE VII. Comparisons between the two have been consistent as both contain a wide array of characters and both are predominantly action packed sci-fi adventures. While some claim that GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY contains fresh and unique content, its clear that in the eyes of MARVEL and James Gunn, there is nothing original about the concept. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY will ultimately be X-MEN in space, that is inspired by STAR WARS.
I believe that GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is MARVEL’s attempt to rival the impending domination of all things STAR WARS. This is not based on rumor or wild speculation, but on fact.