When the casting was first announced, some fans scratched their heads at the unexpected choice of Chris Pratt for Guardians of the Galaxy‘s Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star-Lord. Best known for the goofy yet endearing Andy Dwyer on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, it was his role as a member of SEAL Team Six in Zero Dark Thirty that forced Hollywood to consider the actor as more than a charming chubby guy.

Playing a Navy Seal gave Pratt the confidence to break out of his funny, fat guy niche and begin searching for an action comedy that would suit him. Guardians proved to be that perfect movie, with a lead that was one part action-adventurer and one part cheeky scoundrel. The workout that followed, however, would be what finally transformed Pratt from overweight underachiever to superhero hunk.

In a profile of Pratt and his Star-Lord transformation over at Hero Complex, director James Gunn talks about how after Pratt’s audition there was never any question over who’d be Peter Quill:

“I’m not kidding, maybe 30 seconds he was doing his character, I knew he was the guy. I liked his performance so much that even if he stayed chubby I knew that we’d have to go with it; it would just have to be a new take on a superhero who was a little bit heftier … because his characterization was so great.”

But Pratt didn’t have any intention of playing a chubby superhero, choosing to work out diligently and drastically change his diet in order to give himself a physique that’d make any comic book hero jealous. Once on set, it was evident all his hard work and willpower had paid of:

“I was shooting on a set that they built that probably cost more than my house. And I was the guy on it, walking around with cameras following me. I’m like an action figure for some of the scenes. I’m just like walking through the scene or running through the scene or fighting or jumping or beeping or shooting. It was unbelievable.”

With Pratt in place, Gunn assembled the rest of his outlaws – Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer, and Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper as the voices of Groot and Rocket Raccoon, respectively. It’s an eclectic group, to say the least, but the team of misfits made quite the impact with their first trailer and its blend of heart-pounding action and hilarious gags.

Teasing fans a little more, Gunn tweeted a new image of Pratt in his Star-Lord gear. Check it out below:

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Along with the image, Gunn tweeted: “Knock knock. Who’s there?” There’s not much to the above image – it’s just another glimpse of Pratt as Star-Lord – but it’s nice to see the lived-in quality of the sets, which harken back to the original Star Wars.

As the release date for Guardians nears, Marvel will no doubt continue to share more peeks at Star-Lord and the rest of his gang of galactic wanderers.

Are you pleased with how the line-up has turned out? Do you agree with Gunn that Pratt is the perfect Peter Quill? Or will you need to see the final cut first? Sound off in the comments below!

Guardians of the Galaxy will release in theaters nationwide on August 1st, 2014.

Source: Hero Complex, Twitter