As the calendar switched from 2012 to 2013, Marvel Studios’ search for a new face to lead the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy and their efforts to explore the cosmic realm of the Marvel Comics universe dominated the headlines. In a similar frenzy of rumors and reports to the audition processes behind the search for Thor and Captain America, over a dozen names surfaced as contenders to play Star-Lord, the leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy cosmic Avengers.

Now, that search has discovered the first talent to join the cast of James Gunn’s “twisted” sci-fi superhero blockbuster.

Deadline has the scoop that Marvel Studios has finally cast Peter Quill AKA Star-Lord and that Chris Pratt is going to be the face of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Pratt, more recognizable for his characters than his real name, is most commonly known for playing Andy Dwyer in Parks and Recreation, but in recent years has made a significant mark in Hollywood for scene-stealing roles in Moneyball, The Five-Year Engagement and most recently, Zero Dark Thirty.

Chris Pratt (center) and Joel Edgerton (right) in Zero Dark Thirty

This unexpected casting choice does fit in with James Gunn’s style of comedic movies and the previous rumors about the studio expressing interest in the likes of Adam Sandler and Jim Carrey for an unspecified role in Guardians of the Galaxy. There’s a clear intent here to make these otherworldly characters likable through Gunn’s style of humor. Pratt can do drama, comedy and action and he’s incredibly charming on screen, making him a smart pick for Marvel.

Ignoring the rumors about Robert Downey Jr. potentially meeting the Guardians team in a post-credits scene for Iron Man 3 and the possibility of him making an appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy, Pratt is the first member of what’s going to be a large roster of newcomers to the franchise.

In addition to beating out his Zero Dark Thirty co-star Joel Edgerton – who’s also been rumored for Doctor Strange – Pratt won the role over Wes Bentley, Chris Lowell, Cam Gigandet, Jack Huston, Jim Sturgess, Lee Pace, Eddie Redmayne, Garrett Hedlund, James Marsden, Sullivan Stapleton, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zachary Levi, Michael Rosenbaum and John Krasinski.

While not embracing a superhero physique in many of his on-screen roles, Pratt did skinny down for Moneyball and muscle up for Zero Dark Thirty. Check out this pic… if you didn’t think Pratt were fit for the part:

Iron Man 3 releases May 3, 2013, 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 2 on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on November 6, 2015, and Doctor Strange sometime after that.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for all your Marvel movie needs.

Sources: Deadline, E! Online