With San Diego Comic-Con now over, all that’s left to do is sift through all the news unleashed over the past few days. From Joss Whedon announcing The Avengers: Age of Ultron (and that actor Vin Diesel will play the evil robot Ultron), to the newly ignited X-Men: Days of Future Past buzz, it’s pretty clear that Marvel Studios won Comic-Con this year. The biggest question mark on Marvel’s cinematic slate going into Comic-Con was James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Marvel Studios introduced the cast and even showed some footage from the film, which has been in production for only 14 days.
According to our sister site Cinema Blend, Marvel officially announced that Benicio del Toro will play the film’s villain, The Collector, Lee Pace will play Ronan the Accuser, and Doctor Who‘s Karen Gillan will play the space pirate Nebula. This all tracked with recent rumors, but Gillan did surprise Comic-Con audiences by yanking off a wig, revealing she had shaved her head for the role.
Karen Gillan shaved her head to play Nebula pic.twitter.com/N7z7myoW3w
— Mike Sampson (@mjsamps) July 21, 2013
Michael Rooker was confirmed to play Yondu, while actor Djimon Hounsou will join del Toro, Pace, and Gillan as the film’s villains. Hounsou will play Korath the Pursuer, a member of the Starforce and ally of Ronan the Accuser. Marvel is introducing the Kree Empire into the Marvel Cinematic Universe!
Immediately after the Marvel panel, the studio released new concept art of Guardians of the Galaxy team. (Seen up top — click it for a larger version.) It showcases a new look for the cosmic peacekeeping team, depicting the actors in character as the Guardians. Parks & Recreation‘s Chris Pratt looks great as Star-Lord (with undertones of Adam Warlock, if you ask me), while Zoe Saldana looks absolutely amazing as Gamora. Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer looks huge, while it’s interesting to note that Groot has been scaled down quite a bit. In the comic books, Groot towers over everyone in the team, but it appears as if Marvel went for a more “realistic” approach with the walking tree alien. [Realism is paramount when dealing with walking tree aliens. – Ed.] Unfortunately, Marvel still hasn’t announced who will voice the aforementioned Groot and his best friend, Rocket Raccoon.
As a consolation, Marvel did screen some footage exclusively for the crowd in Comic-Con’s massive Hall H. It was almost a highlight reel of what Guardians of the Galaxy will look like in action. Actor John C. Reilly also appeared in the footage as his character Rhomann Dey. Cinema Blend writes:
As for the footage, it’s staggering what Guardians was able to show, given that they’ve been in production for about two weeks. The clip starts with Star Lord (Pratt) breaking into a non-descript but definitely alien room. He’s holding a glowing blue orb, and he appears to trade it for another when suddenly, men with guns demand he puts the ball down. They ask Pratt who he is. ‘I’m Star Lord.’ ‘Who?’ Hounsou’s character asks. ‘Aw, c’mon guys. Star Lord?!’ Pratt says, incredulously.
That sets the tone for the rest of Guardians which has a very casual, slacker vibe, and anti-hero tone that works very well. The clip plays out with Rhomann Dey (John C. Reilly) going through a police-line-up type of description of each character. We start with Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), move to Gamora (whom Zoe Saldana describes as ‘an assassin’), fit in Rocket Raccoon and Groot before ending on Star Lord (Pratt). ‘They call themselves The Guardians of the Galaxy,’ Dey says, with disdain. ‘What a bunch of a__holes,’ his second in command says.
Yep, this is a James Gunn movie! When Star-Lord is introduced, he’s doing this down-with-authority pose that ends with him flipping his middle finger at the camera. This isn’t Family Marvel, that’s for sure. The CGI for Rocket looked fantastic. (His intro ends with him spitting on the floor like a bad ass.) There were fight scenes and fully produced sequences that rattled by in a montage. And the clip ended with ‘Hooked on a Feeling’ by Blue Swede, which continued the party atmosphere tone of the footage. Guardians had the best clip of a jam-packed Marvel panel.
This footage sounds great, and if the reception for Guardians of the Galaxy in Hall H is any indication of its box office potential, it has a good chance to be a hit. It also sounds like the new movie is very much like a James Gunn film, full of profanity and stylized violence. Let’s hope he tones it down for the PG-13 rating.
As Marvel released the new concept art, they also revealed some of the props used in Guardians of the Galaxy at the Marvel booth on the Comic-Con show floor. Unveiled in a displayed guarded by members of the Nova Corps were Star-Lord’s helmet, boots, and his Element Guns, which have the ability to project any of the four elements (wind, water, fire, and earth). Fans could also check out Star-Lord’s Walkman, which was featured in the footage Marvel screened for the Hall H audience.
With a Guardians of the Galaxy animated series rumored for Disney XD, Marvel is working hard to place the cosmic team front-and-center of their Cinematic Universe. This is the best way to build awareness for a property that is admittedly pretty weird compared to more familiar properties such as The Avengers. In fact, the Guardians of the Galaxy were featured in the latest episode of Disney XD’s Ultimate Spider-Man.
Guardians of the Galaxy will hit theaters everywhere on August 1, 2014, in 3D.