The upcoming sequels Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier all have their principal casts locked down, and in some cases, are mostly done filming, but joining them in the next two years of Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is newcomer Guardians of the Galaxy.

James Gunn is rewriting the screenplay and directing Guardians but the casting process is just beginning and there five names up for the lead role of Peter Quill, including Lee Pace.

Pace earned a lot of recognition for his starring role in the short-lived Pushing Daisies and has since being bolstering his profile in increasingly larger film projects, the latest of which include Lincoln, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 and next week’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

On the red carpet doing press for The HobbitMTV caught up with Pace and asked him about being a contender for part of Peter Quill/Star-Lord in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

“I go in on Monday to meet them all and audition for it, so wish me luck. I’m very excited about it. The script is great. The character is a lot of fun.”

“I have been [reading up on Star-Lord]. You want to know what you’re doing. The character is a lot of fun. I hope it works out… I’ve got to audition. I’ve got to go get it. I actually love auditioning, so I’m happy to go meet them all and do it.”

The film will be drawing inspiration from the 2008 Marvel Comics relaunch of the Guardians of the Galaxy written by sci-fi specialists Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning who began paving the path for the team (re)formation in the two space-faring miniseries Annihilation and Annihilation: Conquest (highly recommended reads).

The team which includes – from the concept art – Drax the Destroyer, Groot, Rocket Racoon and Gamora will be lead by Star-Lord, who from the Guardians of the Galaxy logline, is “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.”

In addition to Pace, the reported shortlist for the role of Peter Quill/Star-Lord includes Joel Edgerton, Jack Huston, Jim Sturgess and Eddie Redmayne. Other names, including James Marsden, were mentioned but we do not know for what roles. It’s important to note that some of these talents could secretly be audition for other roles as well, potentially even in other films. We previously listed Pace and Edgerton as suggestions for the role as Ant-Man.

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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 and Ant-Man on November 6, 2015.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Source: MTV

Lee Pace image from Listal