The first (and last) new property in Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe opens in theaters worldwide in an unusual time for Marvel Studios, who are using the traditionally less lucrative late summer month of August for the first time to release Guardians of the Galaxy. Throw in the fact that very few filmgoers, even most comic book fans, haven’t read the books the film is based on – not to mention that the story takes place 95% not-on-Earth – and Marvel is banking hard on their brand appeal and marketing strength to try something new and different.
For that reason, fans have been eager and curious as ever to get their first look at writer and director James Gunn’s work on Guardians of the Galaxy, and Disney finally opened the blast doors this week, first with toy reveals at Toy Fair 2014, then several new photos and a 15-second teaser, followed by the first full-length Guardians of the Galaxy trailer reveal that aired during Jimmy Kimmel Live. With the movie’s first full trailer out, let’s take a deeper look into Marvel’s upcoming cosmic adventure.
From the 15-second teaser, our first true look at Guardians footage, we were able to pull out a few dozen interesting images and break down where they fit in the film and what they could mean. With the full trailer, we get much more on the visual front, but not too much on the main characters – since most of them don’t get a chance to speak in the teaser. But there is much more in there than what most will see on the first, second, third and tenth viewings.
Let’s start with an important element from the Marvel Cosmos that we first get to see here – the Nova Corps. Glenn Close is playing Nova Prime, the supreme leader of the organization in the film, and we’ve yet to see her character (she’ll debut in the second full trailer says Gunn), but featured prominently in the trailer (and Comic-Con footage) is another high-up in the Nova ranks, Rhomann Dey – played by John C. Reilly. Joining him in the scenes Peter Serafinowicz (“A-Holes”) who plays a Nova officer.
The trailer makes it seems that they capture the Guardians of the Galaxy on the planet Xandar – homeworld of the Nova Corps – then analyze them, discover their crimes before dropping them off at Kyln – the space station prison where much of what we’ve seen so far takes place. Note their uniforms. There are four main ranks in the Nova Corps and their uniforms will dictate their ranks.
The Big Battle
The stills above depict that aerial battle we’ve seen many shots of in the trailer, where Ronan the Accuser’s intimidating ship is attacking Xandar, the beautiful and pristine homeworld of the Nova Corps. The smaller units launching from it (Independence Day style) are “Necrocraft” which may be drawing inspiration from the Annihilation: Conquest space-based crossover event in Marvel Comics (by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning) that actually setup the Guardians of the Galaxy relaunch in 2008.
Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is seen flying his ship, the Milano (below), up towards it but in the bottom left of the first two images above (you may have to click to see them better) we can see one of the Nova star-shaped vessels with its wings folding inward. Many of these ships were shown in the very first official Guardians of the Galaxy concept art – compare here and look at the star-shaped objects in the background.
These scenes below also appear to occur on one of those Nova star-shaped vessels since there are several images where the ship schematic is displayed on screens in the background, including the one where Chris Pratt shows off his muscles:
It’s blurry since it’s a close-up action shot but here we see the “Milano” logo on Peter Quill’s personal star ship as he flies it into the skies to attack the invading ship. There’s a neat video game-esque third-person shot of the Milano in action that Disney released yesterday – James Gunn does like his video games (see: Lollipop Chainsaw):
Comic Book Character Origins
By now you’ve seen plenty of imagery of the five main characters on the Guardians of the Galaxy roster although we’ve year to hear the voices of anyone outside of Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) [Update: Watch the actors introduce their characters and hear Rocket's voice here.]. The teaser focuses on using Nova to offer some exposition in introducing the five but James Gunn and co. did more than that with the way the characters are introduced, by having them analyzed by Nova officers before being sent to prison. The little details on screen show that the five leads share the same origins as their counterparts in the comics.
- Gamora (Zoe Saldana) – She’s a deadly assassin (“Most Dangerous Woman in the Universe”), the last of her people known as the Zehoberi (“Zen Whoberis” in Marvel Comics). In the books she’s the adopted daughter of Thanos and we know in the movie she definitely has history with him and/or Ronan.
- Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) – Was once human, died, was put into a super-powered body as a weapon against Thanos. In the film, he’s after Ronan the Accuser instead, who works for Thanos. Note how the Nova system labels his species as “unknown.” We’re curious how much of his origin will be explained in the film.
- Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) – The list of crimes on Rocket’s rap sheet don’t sync with what’s in their database on screen but he steals a lot, blows a lot of things up. The readout reveals that the little guy is the result of cybernetic and genetic experimentation on a “lower life form.” He’s from Halfworld, just like he is in the books. Listed as one of his known associates is Lylla (see here), a talking Otter and love interest from the books. Will Wal Rus (yes, a walrus) and Cosmo the space dog appear in the film?
- Groot (Vin Diesel) – A “Flora Colossus” from planet X. No charges of murder for Groot, just lots of bodily harm dealt out. The description also lists that Groot is an inhabitant of “Taluhnia” but that’s not a location from Marvel canon. According to James Gunn, everyone feels bad for Groot because he’s the only truly innocent one of the group.
- Peter Jason Quill (Chris Pratt) – Quill’s description has the added detail that he has a universal translator embedded in his neck, a nice way to explain the language barriers between the alien species in the Marvel cosmos. Listed as one of his associates is Yondu Udonta, played by Michael Rooker in the film. We’re led to believe Yondu is a villain but perhaps he’s an ally of Quill since Yondu is actually one of the original Guardians in the comics. Quill’s species is listed as “Terran” but it remains unclear whether he’s half-human and half-alien like he is in the books (more on this later). There’s also an Easter Egg in there referencing the Gramosians who share history in the books with Thor, Asgard and Earth.
Now that you’ve seen Chris Pratt’s impressive Marvel movie physique (more on that here), let’s talk about his costume which while different than his traditional designs in the books, embraces most of his key characteristics. There’s the mask which Quill uses to breath in inhospitable environments and of course, the dual blasters.
Quill also carries around his Sony Walkman with him, his last remaining connection to life on Earth when he was younger. You’ll note that red is his color of choice when it comes to outerwear and he has a standard size leather jacket and the longer, techno-looking duster. There’s also the red Spartoi uniform but more on that later.
We don’t know what or who the fierce space pirate Nebula (Karen Gillan) is after but she shares a dark past with Gamora and as the trailer hints, they will face off. Below are shots of Nebula’s official first reveal and an image of her holding a Nova officer captive. Did she break into the Kyln prison or one of the Nova Corps spaceships? Who is she threatening on the other side of the camera?
Featured prominently in the trailer is Korath the Pursuer (Djimon Hounsou) and his scene involves him hunting down or capturing Peter Quill. He’s one of the few characters with dialogue in the teaser and with him are two faceless guards who appear to be Sakaaran troopers (judging by the toy figures). The Sakaaran are one of many races introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy and one reason they were used according to writer/director James Gunn is because Marvel Studios does not own the rights to the Badoon, a reptilian alien species who are very important in many Marvel cosmic storylines.
The MacGuffin & The Pursuit
Where Thor: The Dark World had its own universe-threatening MacGuffin so to does Guardians of the Galaxy in the mysterious orb we saw at Comic-Con, in the promo art and now in the first Guardians of the Galaxy trailer. It seems that early on in the film, when Peter Quill is alone and unsure of himself he somehow finds the location of this orb in a set piece inspired by Indiana Jones.
How Quill knows about it or what he wants with it, we don’t know but Korath the Pursuer and his henchmen prevent Quill from taking it. Judging by other stills we’ve grabbed from the trailer, he might escape with Korath in pursuit. We’re unclear at this point if the images on the dusty, rocky looking planet however are of the same location where the temple housing the orb is from.
In the books Korath can pursue any living being by their brain waves so we’re assuming he’s after Quill and not the Orb. Is Korath protecting the temple or is he simply after Quill (or both?). Is Korath a member of the Kree species in the film? Judging by his ship and henchmen, he might not be.
A human, or human-looking, person is shown touching buttons on a keypad embedded in their arm and some thought after this was shown in the Comic-Con footage that it was Peter Quill using the device to control his ship, the Milano. As we can see now, it’s actually a device used by guards on the prison station Kyln that’s used to operate doors. The fact that it’s shown in great detail to viewers might mean it’s relevant to the Guardians trying to escape the facility.
The Prison Brawl
The Kyln space station at the edge of the universe has a big part to play in Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s where many of the characters meet and it’s where a major action set piece occurs, possibly an escape plan concocted by the Guardians themselves.
A few of the images are from the scene where Quill notices a guard (or Nova Corps guard?) trying out his ’80s Sony Walkman and entering a confrontation.
Some suggested the explosions in the trailer preview where the “Tivan” logo was depicted could be on The Collector’s ship but the additional frames indicate otherwise with a warehouse looking structure on the right and hanging lanterns. We do however, get a new shot of Taneleer Tivan aka The Collector, played by Benicio Del Toro, who also appeared in the mid-credits sequence of Thor: The Dark World. He’s a big player in the background of the Marvel cosmic universe and Del Toro has a multipicture contract with the studio to appear in two more films.
Take a close look at the background behind The Collector – there are containment units/cages where he houses his vast collection of interesting things, creatures and people. We saw a brief look at this in the mid-credits button at the end of Thor: The Dark World as well. What is The Collector’s role in this film? Count on him trying to get that orb Quill is after and expect loads of Easter Eggs for Marvel Comics fans. How he plays into the main plot and what the Guardians of the Galaxy need from him remains a mystery.
Although we didn’t mention it before, the second official photo released by Marvel featuring the Guardians of the Galaxy roster had the five characters wearing matching red uniforms [Update: Check out the first GOTG poster!]. These uniforms featured a logo on the arm that comic readers may find familiar – it’s a symbol the represents the Spartoi. In the comics, Peter Quill is only half-human with his dad actually being the leader of the Spartoi known as J’son of Spartax. Note: Peter Quill’s middle name is “Jason” as revealed in the prison lineup image.
Look closely at the arms of Gamora and Star-Lord in the other the two images above. That’s the Spartoi symbol and there’s an unofficial set photo of Yondu (Michael Rooker) sporting one as well. Does Quill’s ancestry play an important part in the plot of Guardians of the Galaxy and do we get to meet his potentially alien father? Is that why the team is sporting Spartoi uniforms at some point in the film, after they form a team?
Ronan vs. Drax
Drax the Destroyer, previously a human named Arthur Douglas, witnessed his wife and daughter killed by Thanos in the comics. In the film, that plot might be different since here he’s on a quest to seek vengeance upon Ronan the Accuser – the primary antagonist of Guardians of the Galaxy – who works for Thanos. We’ve known for a while that the main story of the film adaptation would give more screen time to its humanoid characters so we may see Drax before he’s actually Drax, much like we know we’ll see younger Peter Quill on Earth in the ’80s before he’s taken into space.
While the trailer doesn’t fully reveal Lee Pace as Ronan the Accuser (check out the GOTG toys for a better look) we see him from the side here in a confrontation with Drax showing his strength. Note the head garb and the “Universal Weapon” in Ronan’s hand – both straight from the books. We’ve also included an image of Gamora here because we think (judging from the background aesthetic) that this may be the same set piece and because Gamora is wielding a special, unique weapon – the mighty “Godslayer” sword which just so happens to a weapon Gamora used to defeat Ronan in the comics. It’s no coincidence that Marvel.com put up a feature on their official site describing these weapons the day of the trailer release. In the books, Gamora is given the sword from her adopted father Thanos.
For a little more, check out the official Guardians of the Galaxy character introductions featuring the actors playing and voicing the five heroes.
Guardians of the Galaxy is directed by James Gunn off of his script co-written by Nicole Perlman. The film stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, Benicio del Toro, John C. Reilly, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel and Glenn Close.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier hits theaters April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014, The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on July 17, 2015, and unannounced films for May 6 2016, July 8 2016 and May 5 2017.
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