Comic book movies are generally geared towards audiences with a broad knowledge of the source material, but in the case of Guardians of the Galaxy, director James Gunn was bringing out characters that the majority of the world wasn’t familiar with at all. And because Marvel Comics characters aren’t solely tethered to Marvel Studios, there were a few characters Gunn wanted to use that had to be left behind, and it should surprise absolutely no one that these characters are even more obscure. Their names? Bug and Rom: SpaceKnight, both of which were on the tip of your tongue, I’m sure.
In speaking with filmmakers Adam Green and Joe Lynch for their always informative podcast, The Movie Crypt, Gunn talked about all kinds of things involving his career, with the conversation spinning back to Guardians of the Galaxy time and again. At one point, Gunn answered a listener’s question with the two characters he couldn’t use, even if he was dead set on it. He said:
There’s characters that I’ve been interested in that I’m not allowed to use but I won’t go so far as to say I definitely would have had them. There was a really good chance Bug was going to show up in the first movie but we do not own him…but anyway, that was going to happen, perhaps.
Bug started life as the Takara toy Galactic Warrior, but he soon took on his newer nickname when Marvel bought the character’s rights and put him in the Micronauts comic series in 1979. He was brought into the Guardians of the Galaxy team in the comic series in the 2000s, and he also appears in the latest incarnation of the group. Apparently Bug even made it into an early draft of the script before someone balked. I’m not quite sure who owns the cinematic rights to the character at this point, but perhaps a deal can be made by the time the sequel comes around.
Here’s what Gunn had to say about Rom: SpaceKnight:
Listen, I really love Rom: SpaceKnight, as everyone at Marvel knows because they’ve given me Rom stuff…but we don’t own Rom. I would love for Rom: SpaceKnight to show up because I love his story, I love the way he looks, I love everything about him…
Rom, an alien cyborg, also first came to fame as a toy in the 1970s, when it was bought by Parker Brothers and licensed to Marvel for comic books. Marvel ended up losing the rights to the character years later, meaning he probably won’t show up in any Marvel projects any time soon. Unless Parker Brothers wants to make money, of course.
We also won’t see the Avengers making their way to the Guardians side of the universe any time soon. But as long as the central quintet keeps kicking ass across the cosmos, we’re not so angry about the characters who slipped through the cracks.