The Guardians of the Galaxy crew is back with three awesome new stills. And if that isn’t enough to sate your hunger for the upcoming cosmic adventure, director James Gunn also drops a few hints about how the film connects to the rapidly expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe. There is also news about a novel, yes a novel, that follows the continuing adventures of bestest buds Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel).
We know that part of the story of Guardians takes place in a space prison after Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) is arrested. This is, presumably where he hooks up with what eventually becomes his core crew: Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Rocket, and Groot. You get to see the crew modeling what appears to be some stylish intergalactic prison garb, as well as brandishing a collection of rather large guns.
In the trailers and clips, we’ve seen Star-Lord get pinched for stealing a mysterious orb, this very same ball that he shows off to Gamora here. The speculation is that this is one of the Infinity Gems, which kicks off a galaxy-wide manhunt, and gives him the power to maybe, just maybe, save the entire universe.
Guardians is sure to be heavy on the action, and this picture provides a little glimpse of that, with this behind-the-scenes shot of Star-Lord, wearing his trademark mask and trench coat (it gets cold in space), sprinting across the surface of some alien world.
Marvel is not all about making stand alone movies, so Guardians is going to fit into their larger strategy for universal cinematic domination. Thanks to a few comments by Gunn, we now know a little bit more about what that will look like. He confirmed that a motion-captured Thanos, also known as The Mad Titan, will be the “head of the snake” of the villains, and that the film is “definitely connected to Avengers 3.”
He goes on to dish about the back-story of some of the key characters. Star-Lord, also known as Peter Jason Quill, a half-human, half-alien hybrid, has terrestrial origins. According to Gunn, “he was abducted from Earth (Missouri) at age 8 and raised in a group of thieves and smugglers called the Ravagers. He’s good with the ladies and a little bit of a dick and very lucky.”
We’ve seen that Gamora has a nemesis in the person of Nebula (Karen Gillan), but their story goes much deeper than that. Gunn says, “Thanos slaughtered [Gamora’s] family and Nebula’s, then raised them together as siblings. They were bioengineered to become living weapons, so he’s really good at killing people.” So they don’t just dislike each other, it sounds like they have an entire lifetime of issues to work through. That’s going to be a good time.
And because there just aren’t enough Guardians of the Galaxy comics to read, soon we’ll have a supplemental novel to add to the canon. Anthropomorphic raccoon, Rocket, and seven-foot-tall alien tree Groot, are BFFs, and sound like a fearsome pair to be sure. Their further adventures will be the subject of the novel, titled Rocket Raccoon and Groot Steal the Galaxy. Marvel writer Dan Abnett, who wrote the book says:
So there is a sense of two guys on the make looking for what to do next with their lives, and when they see the opportunity, they think about it purely in monetary terms. It’s only when they realize what they’ve got hold of and what the implications are that they begin to get some kind of conscience about doing the right thing.
According to Abnett, the novel will show the scope and scale of the deep space world. He continues:
We meet many classic species and concepts: the Nova Corps, the Kree, and the Badoon, all have a part to play. So, to show that space is big, instead of having the Kree turn up and it be Ronan the Accuser or the Nova Corps turns up and it’s Rhomann Dey; a different Accuser and a different Centurion show up. That shows it’s a big universe and gives me some liberty to play around with these characters. They’re going to do things you’re not going to expect and their fates aren’t going to be what you expect because they’re not necessarily toys I have to put back in the box, so to speak.
Guardians of the Galaxy opens in theaters on August 1, while Rocket Raccoon and Groot Steal the Galaxy will be released in July, just ahead of the film.