‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Actor Shortlist Narrows; Zachary Levi Being Considered

Published 2 years ago by , Updated February 16th, 2014 at 9:23 am,

Guardians of the Galaxy Script Guardians of the Galaxy Actor Shortlist Narrows; Zachary Levi Being Considered

The wild card in Marvel Cinematic Universe’s second wave of movies (“Phase Two,” as it’s commonly referenced) is Guardians of the Galaxy; not just in terms of co-writer and director James Gunn’s twisted take on the comic book property, but also because it’s the installment lacking any pre-established characters in the MCU – be they displaced human pilots or raccoons wearing rocket boots.

Marvel has been testing actors for Guardians‘ human lead (Peter “Star-Lord” Quill), with the shortlist composed of up-and-comers and fan-favorites. Today, we have an update on the situation, which includes the announcement of another (and unexpected) contestant joining the race.

Variety is confirming that Eddie Redmayne and Joel Edgerton are no longer in the running, following on the heels of Redmayne joining the Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending and Edgerton signing a deal to play the villain in the Natalie Portman western Jane Got a Gun. In fact, the sole previously-shortlisted candidate explicitly mentioned in Variety‘s report is Jim Sturgess, who’s fresh off multiple roles in the Wachowskis’ genre-blending Cloud Atlas.

The new addition is Zachary Levi, the fan-favorite alum of NBC’s geek-friendly spy action/comedy TV series Chuck. What’s curious about this revelation is that Levi already has a part in the shared MCU, playing Warriors Three member Fandral in next fall’s Thor: The Dark World. He’s taking over for Josh Dallas, who portrayed the character in Thor after Levi was forced to step aside (thanks to Chuck being renewed for a fifth season).

Chuck season 5 renewal nbc Yvonne Strahovski Zachary Levi Guardians of the Galaxy Actor Shortlist Narrows; Zachary Levi Being Considered

Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski from ‘Chuck’

Levi is said to have impressed Marvel with his Guardians audition and thus, that studio is giving serious thought to expanding its working relationship with the actor (beyond the Thor franchise). However, if Levi signs on, that would open the door for other minor MCU actors to follow suit. Hence, it risks complicating the cross-over approach that Marvel favors – though, it would also free up stars who’re stuck with a small role, despite having become a bigger name (see: Idris Elba).

Sources are urging caution when it concerns Guardians, as a third (and currently unnamed) actor could be testing shortly after the Winter Holiday ends. That seems to discount Lee Pace as the mystery competitor, given that he already tested for Star-Lord this month; previously-named candidate Jack Huston likewise does not appear to be an option, for similar reasons. Then again: is it possible one of these gentlemen is re-testing for the role after the New Year?

Lee Pace tested for ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

Pace was among the names Screen Rant Underground Podcast contributor Rob Keyes nominated in his “10 Actors Marvel Should Consider For Ant-Man”, in the scenario where he does not land the Guardians job. Many fans regard him as a natural fit for the MCU somewhere down the line – though, obviously, that does not guarantee anything. Either way, the casting process is ongoing and it’s best not to completely write off anyone yet (save for those signed onto other projects).

Here is the (unofficial) logline for Guardians of the Galaxy:

About a U.S. pilot who ends up in space in the middle of a universal conflict and goes on the run with futuristic ex-cons who have something everyone wants.


Iron Man 3 releases on May 3rd, 2013, Thor: The Dark World on November 8th, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4th, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1st, 2014The Avengers 2 on May 1st, 2015 and Ant-Man on November 6th, 2015.

Source: Variety

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  1. That always sounds like that one TV Show FarScape !
    Or Buck Rogers…anyway,should be cool !

    • Haha farscape ftw

      Lets hope they’re not on the run becsuse they have “wormhole” tech… Aka having a tesseract. That would just be too close to farscape lol.

      • Lol…yeah,totally with u there ! Haha..

        • Coem to think of it the chitauri reminded me of the scarren and thanos’s lacky had the same vibe as Scorpius. Hmmm lol

          • If u look at the team of the respective properties.. You also get alot of similarities… Each team has a sentient plant, a badass warrior alien dude, a small loud mouth character, a tough female warrior type alien and the human thrust into the middle of it all.

  2. Just get another actor, We don’t need to confuse the average movie goers anymore then we already have with lighter Iron man’s buddy and edward nortan hulk that doesn’t seem to be in continuity anymore

    • Of course Norton’s Hulk and the ‘Incredible Hulk’ movie forms part of the continuity.
      They just recast the actor – it’s not that confusing at all mate…

  3. Zachary Levi NO NO NO!!!!!!!

    • +1,000

  4. Isnt Zachary Levi supposed to play Fandral of the warriors 3 in Thor the dark world??

    • Yup

      • And they want him to play star lord too????

    • Didn’t you read the article??

    • did you not even read the article?

      • I skimmed…hehe

  5. I like Zachary Levi but casting him would cause some problems.

    It would be interesting to see if they would address that issue of the same actor playing 2 characters. Like if Fandral is cloned or goes off on his own to join the Guardians (sorry if completely impractical, i dont read comics). I could see them trying to pull that. Like then Guardians of the Galaxy would work as a spin-off of Thor and have characters introduced in Thor be in guardians. This would make the transistion to an unknown property smoother for the general audience.

    Otherwise just give the job to Lee Pace or jim Sturges. (or any decent actor, i’m not picky on this one since i know nothing about him)

    • If its the case and hes cast, i think theyd just wouldnt mention it at all, just move on as nothings changed. possible his role in thor2 should he be cast for galaxy could be reduced or reshot depending on where they are schedule wise. possible his scenes havent come up yet. If hes both, then in thor 3 the character will prob be recast again to mizime overlap.

  6. I like Levi but he’s taken and it be a very bad idea if they use him. Jim Sturgess is OK but just that I don’t really see him in a Star-Lord role. I was hoping for Joel Edgerton but it’s sad to see he isn’t in the run anymore. Lee Pace is cool and I’d rather have him than Sturgess but NO Levi it be confusing and it wouldn’t work. Maybe Benedict Cumberbatch is the mystery actor? I’m still hoping for Pace or Edgerton!!!I’m pretty sure the role will go to the mysterious third actor. The same thing happened when they cast Crossbones two other guys where in the running then Frank Grillo auditioned later and he got cast so I’m sure it’ll go to him! IMHO

    • Suppose it depends how gunn has “envisioned” star lord to be. Though i doubt it would stray far from his current comics interpretation (not that marvel would let gunn tweak him all that much). Edgerton would have been good, has that rough, serious look to him. Someone u could see take charge. That always my worry when casting these alpha type/ team leader characters, that they get somebody i just dont beleive could pull it off.. Kinda had that issue with cyclops in xmen.. He was not wolverines equal of sorts, wolverine just overpowered marden, phisically and presence wise. If ur gonna have criminals on the run, and some badass warriors and assasins in the group, starlord has to look the part. You have to look at the guy playin him and be, yeah he could take charge type deal. Its surprising how fast one can form a subconcious opinion of a character, if people get the wrong vibe it would then be an uphill battle for them to accept all the other craziness the movies promises to showcase. So starlord casting is prett crucial in my opinion.

  7. nice cast .. looking foreword for this one :)

    • There is not cast yet.

  8. he may be in the running but I dont see marvel casting an actor that already plays a pert in another movie!! unless the fandral makeup is decent enough so that he will not look like he is the same guy that plays robin hood…lol What happened to josh dallas?? another cocky actor like norton? or was mad because he was not getting paid enough, WAHH WAHHH at least he has a job! IDK why he did not come back but I cant see that he was such an actor in demand that he could not come back and play fandral in another blockbuster!! HE DOES NOT EVEN LOOK LIKE STAR LORD!! IMO

    • He couldn’t come back because of his commitment to ABC’s ‘Once Upon a Time.’ You don’t seem to have any idea what you’re talking about.

      • Why could he not do A Movie, for Marvel/Disney. Since ABC is Owned by Disney, any comittments he has could be worked around.

    • Technically.

      Did not stop Marvel/Disney from casting Chris Evans, few years removed from playing Johnny Blaze for Fantastic Four and Fox.

      • what u talking about Fantastic Four getting reboot so Chris Evans was not going to be cast in the role again so it made him a free agent to do what he want

        • Mace, allow me to explain it to you.

          When Chris Evans was cast as Captain America/Steve Rogers. He was a few years removed from Fantastic Four Johnny Storm/Human Torch.

          People made comments, but it did not matter about him playing both characters in the Marvel Universe.

          I said nothing about him being a “free agent” to do whatever movie he could do. It was in reference to an actor playing two different roles in the Shared Marvel Universe. That is what I was commenting on.

          Perhaps if you read the comments above, you would have understood better?

          • the people complain about Chris Evans was silly cause F4 was own by FOX Studio and not Marvel Studio/Disney.

            in this cause for Zachary Levi i doubt he will be playing Star Lord cause he already been casted in Thor 2.

            • This, exactly. The difference here is that unlike the situation with Evans, these films will be taking place within the same universe. While I doubt Fandral and Star-Lord will actually appear in the same film, it will still be confusing and/or distracting for people to differentiate between the two characters being played by the same actor.

              Despite this, I think Mr. Levi is one hell of an actor and is more than deserving of both parts. It’ll be interesting to see how this turns out.

          • The thing is Jeff, the FF movies aren’t part of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe).
            Those movies were made by Fox and has nothing to do with anything Marvel Studios has done.

            So basically, the Fantastic Four don’t exist in the universe Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Cap, etc. live in.

              • Honestly, I don’t think Marvel WANTS to acknowledge them lol ;)

                So far the only mentions of Fox’s “universe” merging with Marvel’s MCU has been from the people over at Fox… what does that tell you?
                To me it says Fox knew they screwed up and now they want to get in on what Marvel’s done – while across the street, Marvel’s more than happy doing what they’re doing with the characters and story-lines that they have availible (as said by Kevin Feige).

                So until Marvel Studios officially announces it (which I very much doubt they will), the FF movies have absolutely nothing to do with Marvel’s Cinematic Universe.

                (And even if Fox and Marvel come to an agreement, I’m fairly sure the FF reboot would then form part of the MCU, not the old movies starring Chris Evans).

                • I totally agree, but think about the advantages Marvel could bennefit from this type of team up. The “Fab 4″ has a universe all to themselves that dabbles in exactly what the MCU is looking foward to incorporating themselves in the next phase, The Cosmic Universe.

                  Using characters from that side of the Marvel world says A+ in my book all the time.

      • Not to be the schmucky fanboy that points this out, but… Johnny Blaze is Ghost Rider.

        • Yeah, I know. I said Johnny Storm in the other comment. Since there is no edit feature, I corrected myself in another comment.

          Not to Schmucky about it.

  9. hmmm well ought to be interesting either way, we just got to wait and see. Now what I am curious about is if any further news has been released on Nova, and the guy actor who already Asked to play him!

    • Scott Porter will be to old for Nova once this movie hits with squeals or spin-offs starring Nova. You would need someone in their mid to late 20s to grow into the role to pull it off. Garrett Hedlund would pull off Nova smoothly.

  10. I would not like that casting choice.

  11. Personally, I wouldn’t mind him as Star-Lord but not if he’s also playing Fandral

    • It’s like casting Robert Downey Jr. to play Ant-Man

      • LMFAO so true. W

      • Id say its not cause i for one didnt care to learn who the actors for the warriors 3. Im sure many are the same way. We know hemsworth, hiddleston, portman and hopkins thats enough

  12. Jack Huston was very funny in the MTV interview. He would be the one to pull off Pete, out of the shortlist provided.

    That picture of Yvonne Strahovski made me think they were looking at her for Gamora. That would of been an awesome decision. Hannah McKay as Gamora, the most dangerous woman in the universe!!

  13. The most curious part about this movie is how they’ll make this team a formidable opponent against Thanos. If he’s going to be the biggest threat for The Avengers, then obviously he’ll have no problem disposing of these guys.

    • I would have to disagree from you there, despite the fact they arent as well known, both Gamora, Drax, and Rocket racoon are old timers, with lots of experience, and most of them have faced a number of powerful foes. also Rocket is a ranger, and is a bigger threat than you think, though I doubt we will see his partner Wal Russ

      • That maybe be true, but I’m looking at it from a common sense point of view. Think about it, why would Marvel choose a villian to go toe to toe with their most powerful group of heroes when he could be easily defeated by a lesser powerful group of characters?

    • @ Broadway.

      Whoa! You mean a Talking Space Raccoon does not strike fear into evildoers????

      • @Jeff. HAHAHAHA!!! No, & neither does any talking cat, dog, lion, guerilla, or the whole darn zoo for that matter. On the surface this team looks pretty weak, but I’ll keep an open mind & hope for the best. Shockingly though this does happen to be my most anticipated film of the MCU:Phase Two line up. Mostly due to curiosity than anything else. We already have an Iron Man, Thor, Captain A.,& Avengers film. This will be a brand new franchise just getting started where as the others are just sequels to characters we’ve already seen. Not that it’s a bad thing, but I do want to see something new.

        • Hey what about antman? that ought to be interesting, anybody else want to see him as giant-man and at 200feet tall step on the hulk XD now that would be amusing

        • @ Broadway.

          I hear you man, I am also going to keep an open mind.

          Just find it funny that a hero is a space raccoon lol.

          It is Disney however, so I guess a Heroic Space Mouse would not to far behind????

        • @ Broadway.

          Actually a Talking ape would strike fear into evildoers.

          I know as a good guy, a talking ape would scare the crap out of me. Then I am thinking


          Yeah, I Would be scared. Just saying.

          • Dude, its happened in the comics, ever heard of the Red Ghost and the super Apes

            • Umm?

              I was talking as if a Talking ape was something to be scared about. From a Hypothetical stand point.

              • from a serious standpoint they exist in the marvel universe, are not a fan of humanity, and hate the fantasic four, go look them up :p

                • @Mando.

                  Did you just say “from a serious standpoint” in regard to something in existence in “The Marvel Universe”?

                  How serious do you take comic books?

                  Because I was stating in ACTUAL LIFE. As in a Talking Ape, Primate you see at the Zoo actually talking, eg as Koko The Gorilla can use sign language.

                  That is what I was referring to.

    • @Broadway, Out of all the cosmic heroes, the Guardians of the Galaxy do not consist of any of the heavy hitters. Pete banded together a group of misfits who would do better in a bar fight cuz none of the heavy hitters wanted part in the team. They’re indeed bound to fail, this isn’t uncommon for them. Most of the time, they’re cleaning up the mess they failed to neutralize.

      At one point, to neutralize a raging Thanos, it took 3 of their psychics and Pete’s broken cosmic cube. So far confirmed, only one of those 3 psychics will be in the movie and that’s Cosmo the psychic dog. Most likely the team will fail (like they sometimes do) and Thanos will then aim toward Earth which will lead to Avengers 2.

  14. Well, putting aside the unknown third actor, I’d pick Sturgess over Levi.

  15. i loved chuck!! one of my fav shows ever would love to see levi in guardians

  16. Thorin oakinshield could fly a space ship

    • Only with a booster seat and blocks on the pedals so his feet can reach.

  17. I really think that Zachary Levi is awesome, but one actor playing two characters in the same shared universe would be really strange.

    I don’t know. They would have to make him look VERY different if they want to pull this off.

    Same goes for Idris. I heard people saying that he would be an awesome Black Panther and I agree, but he is Heimdall so… I don’t know. It may very well confuse things, but it could work too. Depends on how they do it.

    Even if it’s almost hard to recognize Idris as Heimdall with the contacts and that big helmet, so they could maybe make him different enough.

    I really don’t know if this would work or not.

    • I feel like they could just as easily substitute Josh Dallas back in for Fandral if the crossover ever actually happened. That said, are they actually planning a crossover between this and Thor? Because if not, it’s kind of a moot point.

      Zachary Levi for the win. No one loves Marvel more than he does, which guarantees he’ll put in all of the effort he can to make this an awesome franchise.

    • If they pulled it off, Chris Evans could return as Johnny Storm!

  18. Yvonne Strahovski should be signed up to be Ms. Marvel

    • +1
      She’s the absolute perfect person to play that character.


  20. I still say Josh Holloway for Star-Lord

  21. For me, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ is my most anticipated “Phase 2″ picture, YES – even more than Avengers 2.

    • personaly I am psyced about Ant-Man, but Guardians are high up there too, though I am excited about Ironman 3 as well, I wonder if MODOC might show up, or Baron Zemo in Captian America 2, just some thoughts here

      • @Mando.

        I doubt any of them will be in it considering that the “Winter Soldier” is supposed to be Caps’ arch nemesis this time around. If there’s someone pulling his strings like a puppet then it most likely will be the villian with the “Red” face. (You know who I’m talking about)

        • Now that is a point have to debate, from what I remember, the brainwashing scheme was done by a hydra faction that was ‘helping’ russia, and while Red Skull may be the most recognizable, last we saw of him he was going through a worm hole, so that leaves 3 existing options(they could make a new one, but its unlikely), and that is, android armin zola(possible, but he’s not a leader), Baron Strucker(he created hydra in the comics, and even in other timelines he is still the leader), or Baron Zemo(another scientest who worked for hydra, in the original timeline he gained fighting skills after the war, and founded the masters of evil, after his death his son took the mantel; in other timelines he has survived to modern day like cap. he would be awesome to see), all 3 of these have ties to the red skull and hydra and are potential canidates, and there were talks of Batroc the Leaper showing up too, however he is no leader

          • @Mando.

            As far as Skulls’ fate in “The First Avenger” film is concerned, yes he’s gone, but definitely not forgotten. If the explanation for his departure sounds reasonable enough for him to make a comeback then don’t rule out his return so soon just yet. As you stated before in your comments “Red Skull may be the most recognizable”. So I would assume that Marvel would want to go on using one of their more popular guys especially since he’s been on the big screen already.

            However, if they do decide to go & use one of your choices chances are it would be Zemo. Marvel already stated that their films will be closely related to The Avengers animated series. Which by the way has already introduced Zemo in several episodes of season 1.

  22. Chianna as Gamora, Chrichton as Starlord, D’argo as Drax, and so on…

    • Well, that’s awkward…

  23. I actually wouldn’t mind Levi playing Star-Lord for a number of reasons:
    1. He’s awesome and he deserves more than to have a few minutes’ screen-time as Fandral.
    2. When playing Fandral, he’ll most likely have an accent and dyed hair (and a mustache) so he’ll be fairly unrecognizable – I’m assuming.
    3. Star-Lord wears a helmet most of the time (as he should in the movie)
    4. These are two characters that I doubt will ever “meet” in the MCU and their closest connection might only be Thor (assuming the GotG team up with Thor or The Avengers at some point) – if that’s the case, then and only then, would it be weird to have the same actor play two characters (because what’s Thor gonna say? “Verily! You look’ith just like my friend Fandral the Dashing! How strange…ith”)

    Levi’s not my first pick for Star-Lord, but I’d pick him over Sturgess or Pace.
    … but according to James Gunn, everything I just said is moot since Variety got it wrong, soooooo, yeah :(