Since unveiling teaser footage at this July’s San Diego Comic-Con, Guardians of the Galaxy has maintained a steady flow of buzz thanks to high-profile casting reports (see: Bradley Cooper & Vin Diesel) and scenes with aliens shot in a few public areas of London. While there is still so much we don’t know about the film’s story we do know Marvel Studios is very intentionally banking on the risky project.

Guardians of the Galaxy has an important role to play for the future of the franchise, being the first to fully explore the cosmic side of the Marvel universe. While writer and director James Gunn’s story is described as standalone, its characters and story arcs are building towards something bigger, something that may one day merge Chris Pratt and co. with the familiar heroes of The Avengers.

Speaking with IGN on the set of Parks and Recreation, Chris Pratt – who does have a role in the upcoming season despite is busy schedule in London with Guardians – spoke on the idea of his team of cosmic heroes one day joining Earth’s Mightiest here on Earth.

“Man, that would be really cool. What’s nice is that it is all the same universe. Because it falls under the Marvel umbrella, there is the possibility, just like in the comic books, that these stories could intersect.

… it’s exciting to think that. A lot of it’s just going to depend on what people think of the movie and if it makes sense for Marvel to keep making more of them. But I sure hope it does because I’ve never done anything like it. I hope they make ten of them.”

Like most (all?) Marvel Studios contracts, the stars of Guardians of the Galaxy (even Benicio Del Toro) have signed multi-picture deals to ensure their involvement should the film earn sequels, but how many pictures each signed for we don’t yet know. If they’re anything like the main heroes of The Avengers, options on their deal for future appearances could be as large as six (Chris Evans) or nine (Samuel L. Jackson) meaning not only would they be locked for future Guardians installments, but roles in potential spin-offs and future Avengers movies.

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And that is the plan. With the big bad villain Thanos only teased in The Avengers and having a larger role in Guardians of the Galaxy, it is the cosmic threat that may lead to the ultimate team-up of The Avengers and the Guardians down the road – perhaps as a concluding chapter to Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the untitled Avengers 3.

If Guardians of the Galaxy proves a viable franchise among fans and critics – and it performs well at the box office – the merging (or at least meeting) of the two franchises is inevitable.

Guardians of the Galaxy is directed by James Gunn off of his script co-written by Nicole Perlman. Chris Pratt is joined by Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, Benicio del Toro, John C. Reilly and Glenn Close.

Thor: The Dark World on November 8, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on November 6, 2015, and unannounced films for May 6 2016, July 8 2016 and May 5 2017.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for your Marvel movie news!

Source: IGN