We’ve been hearing about Marvel Studios’ apparent interest in developing more superhero films for other, lesser-known characters such as Black Panther and Iron Fist, for years with no major movement forward. It’s not surprising, considering their current focus on establishing their core characters (Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, etc.)  for The Avengers brand, but with the next few years seemingly devoted to sequels to these characters, when will Dr. Strange and the Heroes for Hire, among others, get the spotlight?

Knowing that and seeing producers, writers, actors and even Marvel execs talk-up these fan-favorite comic book characters for film adaptations in endless repetition, made it almost impossible to believe Marvel President of Production, Kevin Feige, when almost exactly a year ago he listed the relatively obscure Guardians of the Galaxy among some of the titles mentioned above as a Marvel property that has realistic film potential. But then a few other things happened…

Let’s start with a little background on the Guardians of the Galaxy comics. They’re a team who first appeared in Marvel Comics back in 1969 and then in scattered appearances throughout different books in the ’70s and ’80s until getting their own ongoing series in the ’90s. They consisted of a human astronaut and a ragtag group of last-of-their-kind alien heroes, who band together to protect our solar system from an evil alien race. The kicker is that they’re from the future… and from another dimension. The Earthly astronaut got there by being put in suspended animation for around a thousand years on a quest to Alpha Centauri, and he and the Guardians travel back in time to the present to work with The Avengers and end the threat.

With the Thor movie, and even Captain America: The First Avenger delving into the cosmic Marvel Universe in the films, we can now start to see how the Guardians of the Galaxy can fit in, but more on that later.

When Kevin Feige referenced the Guardians as a film possibility last August, he was specifically referring to the “revamped” Guardians of the Galaxy comic series which began much more recently, in 2008. This new volume, similar to the first, involves a team of different species forming together to literally protect the galaxy (hence, the name) and this team involves some bigger names than the original such as Adam Warlock and Quasar.

Why is this interesting and why are we talking about it now? Well, Twitch is hearing from “sources” that Marvel is serious about Guardians of the Galaxy as a film and has placed it in “active development.” We’ve heard similar about a lot of Marvel properties but the other part of why this is so interesting puts us in *SPOILER* territory so beware if you read on…

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*POTENTIAL MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD*

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In Thor we see Odin’s vault, which for Marvel fans with a keen eye, contains plenty of very special Easter Eggs, not the least of which is the Infinity Gauntlet, a powerful glove worn by the cosmic character, Thanos. In May we learned that Thanos may be an additional villain for The Avengers movie (I’ve also heard this from another, separate source), which puts Marvel’s big team-up film even deeper into its cosmic lore. With Thanos comes other key characters like Nova and Adam Warlock (both instrumental characters in Guardians of the Galaxy) and in the current series, it’s the Guardians who are dealing with Thanos (there’s a lot of story behind this but we won’t dig into those details here).

Also of note is that the Guardians team has had plenty of tie-ins (and run-ins) with the Skrulls and the Kree, the two alien species long-rumored to be playing key roles in The Avengers as well. We’ve also heard rumors about certain related, other-worldly characters appearing in some capacity in The Avengers so it’s all starting to come together if the rumors are in fact, true.

Although not related to the films, I’ll also point out that the Guardians of the Galaxy will be appearing in season 2 of the animated The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and Marvel is strategic in their cross-promotion.

What I’m wondering now, is how director/writer Joss Whedon can possibly balance introducing all of these characters, story lines and more of the bigger Marvel Universe, while still keeping focus on a large team of superheroes who all need their own story arcs.

If The Avengers is indeed leading us down this cosmic path of the Marvel Universe, there are plenty of stories and characters to mine from for the sequels and spin-offs, one of which may now eventually be Guardians of the Galaxy.

Share your thoughts in the comments below and with me on Twitter @rob_keyes and be sure to check out these posts if you’re excited about the Marvel Studios films delving deeper into the cosmic universe.

Source: Twitch

Comic cover art by: #1 & #9 by Clint Langley, #20 & #25 by Alex Garner