From Marvel, the studio that brought you the global blockbuster franchises of “Iron Man,” “Thor,” “Captain America” and “The Avengers,” comes a new team — the “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
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 entire 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 Quill 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.
Directed by James Gunn (“Slither”) from his screenplay, with a story by Nicole Perlman and Gunn, the all-star cast includes Chris Pratt (“Zero Dark Thirty”) as Peter Quill, Zoe Saldana (“Star Trek Into Darkness”) as Gamora, Dave Bautista (“Riddick”) as Drax the Destroyer, featuring Vin Diesel (“Fast and Furious”) as Groot, two-time Academy Award® nominee Bradley Cooper (“American Hustle”) as Rocket, Lee Pace (“The Hobbit”) as Ronan the Accuser, Michael Rooker (AMC’s “The Walking Dead”) as Yondu, Karen Gillan (BBC TV’s “Doctor Who”) as Nebula, two-time Academy Award® nominee Djimon Hounsou (“Gladiator”) as Korath, with Academy Award® nominee John C. Reilly (“Chicago”) as Rhomann Dey, six-time Academy Award® nominee Glenn Close (“Fatal Attraction”) as Nova Prime Rael, and Academy Award® winner Benicio Del Toro (“Traffic”) as The Collector.
Created by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan, the Guardians of the Galaxy were introduced in 1969 as a team of heroes in the 31st century—each member the last of his kind. The idea of creating a cinematic project from that concept had much going for it—not only a remarkable group of characters, operating within an amazing universe, but also an opportunity to explore another side of the Marvel Universe, contemporaneous with The Avengers, maintaining the scope, action and humor, as well as a sense of the high stakes at its core, which made that film such a success.
There was strong interest at Marvel Studios to do a space epic and to expand their Cinematic Universe in a new direction, despite the risks involved. Says Producer Kevin Feige: “‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ is the riskiest movie we’ve done since ‘Iron Man’ but in many ways that makes it the most exciting movie we’ve done since ‘Iron Man.’ It means we can surprise people and exceed expectations. I love the notion of being able to introduce some originality, although all of it is based on the great work that was done in the comics yet few people are aware of them. I hope it feels like something very new and very fresh.”
Getting the tone right was of paramount importance to the filmmakers, who wanted a balanced mix of humor, emotion and action. This desire informed their search for the right director for the material. Explains Feige, “It is important to us that a filmmaker bring a vision and have a handle on the characters and be able to bring them to life in an unexpected and unique and three-dimensional way. We wanted a director who could bring those elements and a slightly skewed sense to the film, and James Gunn has that voice and that vision.”
After meeting with Kevin Feige, director James Gunn was hooked. “I could see the film in my head, how it would look, what the shooting style should be,” says Gunn.
Gunn was also excited at the prospect of introducing the characters into Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, and introducing a global audience to the Guardians. Acknowledging the freedom he had since they were relatively unknown, Gunn remarks, “I think ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ gave me more freedom simply because there aren’t as many rabid fans of Guardians as there are of say The Avengers, or as many Guardians comic books, and so I have been able to recreate the Guardians more for the screen without worrying that the audience will have a different expectation of the characters.”
While there have been several incarnations of the Guardians over the years, Marvel had planned from the early development stages to draw from the Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning run of the comic 2008 for the film. Gunn embraced that direction and comments, “We’re using the characters that Abnett and Lanning used and their tone is both humorous and dark, an interesting mix, which I think we have in the film too.”