Joss Whedon Wasn’t Initially Sold on ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

Published 2 years ago by

Guardians of the Galaxy Script Joss Whedon Wasnt Initially Sold on Guardians of the Galaxy

Moviegoers around the world are familiarized Iron Man and The Avengers, now that the last two Marvel films featuring them both sit among the top five grossing movies of all-time. With Marvel Studios releasing two films per year theatrically, this fall will see the return of Thor and next spring will bring back Captain America.

After that, the Disney-owned studio heads into uncharted territory with the ambitious Guardians of the Galaxy. While the original Iron Man was considered a risk because – at the time – Tony Stark was a B-list character from the comics, Guardians of the Galaxy up until recently sat several levels deeper into obscurity which makes it the riskiest project from the studio yet.

At the Saturn awards this week, Collider caught up with Joss Whedon on the red carpet and asked him about his thoughts on Guardians of the Galaxy and whether or not – after the success of The Avengers and signing to not only write and direct the sequel, but oversee the films leading up to it – he had a part in greenlighting the project.

 “You know, it seemed out there to me too. I think it came from Kevin and I sort of went ‘I don’t know about this,’ and then they brought on James [Gunn] and he really turned it around… As soon as they said James the movie started to make sense to me in a way the movie hadn’t. ‘Oh, this isn’t a guy who’s going to chase Star Wars, he’s going to make a James Gunn movie, and for James the first thing was ‘I love Rocket. It’s all the raccoon’ and a lot of people were like “really, a raccoon?’ and he’s like ‘nah, the raccoon is the heart‘ and knowing that I felt very safe. And then casting Chris Pratt… I was just there before they started production, and seeing all the designs, I got really jealous. I was like ‘why can’t I make this movie?’ I really turned a 180 on that one.”

Guardians is part of Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for which Whedon is helping manage so there’s not much else he can say but praise the idea and people behind it, but his words – echoing previous statements about the film and James Gunn – do go to show just how instrumental Marvel Studios President of Production and film producer Kevin Feige has been in shaping the franchise. Another key point is how critical it is for such a risky project to be creator-driven and from every account, it seems to be the James Gunn show, since he is re-writing the script and helping handpick the right people for the role, and not the obvious bankable A-listers studios usually strive for. That being said, even though Guardians is a standalone film taking place 95% space, it is very connected to The Avengers 2 and Whedon has been there on the story side from the beginning. It’s the same reason Ant-Man is finally becoming a film. The only reason Feige even considered the idea is because of Edgar Wright.

Guardians of the Galaxy Concept Art 570x248 Joss Whedon Wasnt Initially Sold on Guardians of the Galaxy

If it weren’t for Feige, Marvel wouldn’t have cast actors into super-long contracts, allowing the studios and filmmakers to shape a bigger picture universe and if weren’t for him, risky “out there” films including Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy would never see the light of day. Moviegoers should applaud the creative minds for not just going with the safe bet and rushing sequels for The Avengers and instead aiming to continue expanding and exploring new ideas.

We know Doctor Strange is all but confirmed for a theatrical release sometime in 2016 or 2017 and Feige has been namedropping The Inhumans as another potential property up for an adaptation. It won’t be long before Disney brings Marvel Studios to Comic-Con and begins unveiling casting additions (Vin Diesel?) and hopefully, what the unannounced projects are that already have official 2016 and 2017 release dates.


Iron Man 3 is currently in theaters, 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 unannounced films for May 6 2016, July 8 2016 and May 5 2017.

Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes for your Marvel movie news.

Source: Collider

Follow Rob Keyes on Twitter @rob_keyes
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  1. Awesome, super pumped. I hope Inhumans happens that would kick ass. Fox needs to further expand their brand and make Alpha Flight.

    • Or Micronauts… or Rom the Spaceknight!

      • ROM would be amazing!

        • LOVE ROM. Surprised it never made a comeback in all these decades.

          • I think it’s a rights issue.

      • Hell ya, bring on ROM SPACEKNIGHT all we have to do is get Parker brothers off their a$$’s and get this done

        love me some SPACEKNIGHTS

    • Vin Diesel as one of the Inhumnas?? Well, whether or not, I am at any rate up for an Inhumans movie. Black Bolt, Triton, Lockjaw, Gorgon, Karnak, Medusa, Crystal…yep, I think I am ready to watch that. Upwards and onwards. As far as Guardians goes, tho, I am not sold on that one at all (mainly problem with Treeman and Racoonman). That one, I am afraid, will have to prove itself to me on the big screen, and if I am wrong about it with my doubts, I will gladly publically eat crow afterwards.

  2. James Gunn really is the perfect guy for the job though.

    • I looked up some of his works and couldn’t find any that had a rating over 6.8. Can you refer me to some of his works that impressed you?

      • I agree with Bellcure. Watch his 2010 film “Super” and read ONE issue of the 2008 Guardians of the Galaxy run by Abnett & Lanning. That’s all you need to see that the film is in perfect hands.

      • I’m not impressed either, but anything’s possible. They’re directors out there that had a terrible start and made their way into success.

      • @Marcos Pena, is that how you judge a Directors quality, by briefly looking at his rotten tomato scores. You should watch some of his actual movies and form your own opinion, don’t just go by random reviews.

        I would recommend Super, I personally thought it was fantastic, similar to Kick-ass but a lot more grounded and darker. More of these types of movies need to by made instead of the generic super hero blockbuster,

        James Gunn is the only reason I have hope for Guardians at all

  3. This movie will be amazing I can’t wait

    And Rob…. you the man bro!!

  4. Just do not see this one panning out. I could be wrong, but I get the same feeling about it that I had for Green Lantern. Of course, I reserve the right to be wrong.

    • Perhaps I am the last man standing, but despite a number of problems, I think all the criticizers did Green lantern wrong in ripping it to shreds the way they did. I do not think it was that bad; in fact, most of it I rather liked (except the cornball humor, which detracted from the scenes). We need something from DC/Warner besides hollow, stale Bats and Supes films (Man of Steel excepted), and GL was really all else we had. A bunch of band-wagon critics flapped their lips so hard that DC/Warner pretty much got scared off of GL #2 and the franchise, plus have sort of got cold feet on Flash as well. Sunshine rainy-day fans like all you yapper-flappers, the fact that we do not have GL #2, Flash, and will probably wait until “Heck” freezes and thaws out 3 times over before we see JLA, we only have you to blame (and the vacilliators over at DC/Warner, and that is a shame, as I would really like to see them succeed!).

    • Urgh hopefully it’s not like Green Lantern. Could not stand that movie. I’ll reserve judgement for Guardians of the Galaxy until I at least see a trailer. I’m excited but I’m also not a big fan of James Gunn, so i’m a bit iffy.

  5. I’m not to sure about this raccoon movie. We’ll see.

  6. Everyone make sure they get their comments in before Kryptonic comes in and blows his pretentious DC loving “Joss Wheadon sucks” load all over this thread.

    • What makes you more mature? Kryptonic brings up validpoints on why he dislikes the film. He doesn’t mindlessly “blow his DC loving load”. So, why bother wasting your time?

      • *valid points

        • Agreed, Kryptonic has valid points.

          Besides, I loved all Marvel movies EXCEPT FOR The Avengers because it was pretty weak in my view, I really wanted it to be the movie that changed my mind on Whedon’s output but it wasn’t. Same way Man Of Steel failed to be the movie to make me enjoy Zack Snyder as a director.

          We all have opinions Miles. Just because someone disagrees with yours, doesn’t make that person lesser or invalid as long as they don’t just troll with no rhyme or reason.

          • For those of you getting ready to catapult boulders at me for my pro-Green Lantern comment, toss a few more on the pile for this next comment as well, cuz overall, I admit it (oh, true confessions!!): I LIKED AVENGERS!! And I’m not ashamed!

            • Goldilocks I agree with everything you’ve said about GL and the Avengers. The only Marvel movie I dislike so far is IM3 I really can’t stand what Shane Black did to the Mandarin. As for GOTG I really hope it does well but I don think it will just because I think 90% of general movie goers have no clue who they are

  7. Wow that was a great seven min interview, for just right off the carpet.

    I’m now thinking that Avengers 2 will not be some epic scale war movie. It seems like they will now do a different approach with a more driven story. Seeing that Avengers 2 is still untitled, maybe it will be called, “Secret Avengers.” With that being said, that can be why the Guardians will be a standalone film from a Secret Avengers movie. Wanda and Pietro can work in nicely as antagonists in a movie like that.

    Plus in IM3, they hinted at the Iron Man Stealth Armor! We also know that Capt will be dawning the Secret Avengers uniform! So, Secret Avengers only seems logical with the given evidence so far.

    As to what was said about Guardians in this interview, I’m glad to here Whedon’s confidence in the movie! Can’t wait!! James Gunn is going to surprise us!!!

    • I’m glad to *hear* Whedon’s confidence in the movie!

    • I am a fan of Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch. As far as Avengers #2 goes, I am very glad to see they will be in there. If as some have speculated, at first Q & SW are gonna stand off The Avengers: Cap, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, maybe Hawkeye, Black Widow, and ole Eyepatch himself, well I would not be too quick to write them off as piddly pingers too soon. They must be able toi bring quite a bit to the fight to stand all those guys off, just the two of them. I wonder which villain(s) will induce them to battle The Avengers, if that is how this is going to start out?

      Nest up on my “want” list: let’s get Hank Pym/Goliath and Wasp in there!

      • Idk, I don’t think A2 will be a all out war this time around. From what Whedon was saying in the interview, it seems like this time it will be more mellowed out. Prob more story driven. An what better way to do a story with a covert ops type super hero story. There can be more thinking involved for our Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Now they know how to work as a team, let’s put their minds to the test.

        My gut is saying, we’re gonna get Secret Avengers. The battle at the end can be with the twins joining forces with the Avengers.

        Throughout the movie, it can be them setting up traps for them, scheming, evading, etc.

        Why rehash the 1st Avengers? If anything, save another invasion for the 3rd movie, when Thanos steps into the ring.

  8. really hoping this turns out great. i know nothing of the comic books for this. i was at 2 different comic book shops in town a few weeks ago and i was looking for any graphic novels/collections of GOTG, and neither had any.

      • I also recommend “The Thanos Imperative” for a great Guardians book. My copy is sitting proudly between “The Batman Adventures: Mad Love” and “New Avengers: Breakout”.

        • FYI (to those who don’t know) “The Thanos Imperative” is the conclusion to Guardians Vol.2. If you pick it up without reading anything before hand, it’ll be kind of confusing.

          As what Essex said, start with Annihilation Book One. It is $19.99 at the Marvel Digital Store. In the book one, you will 1st be introduced to Drax of the Guardians. Just by knowing him, I think you’ll be sold.

          Also, if you want to get to know James Gunn’s style, watch the movie “Super” bcuz you will be amazed. If Gunn is bringing that “twisted” style to the table, we will all be in for one hell of a ride.

          • Shut up, crime!

  9. You should read the new Marvel NOW stuff if you can.

    • @jeffro

    • I’m quite enjoying the Marvel NOW! stuff.

      I got back into comics for the New 52 but those stories got just as convoluted in 18 months than the original stories they technically rebooted.

      I jumped ship save for a few books and I am quite enjoying most of the new X-Men titles.

    • If Doc Ock is still Spider-Man, I’m sadly not coming back.

      I like Ben Reilly as Spidey. I enjoy Miles Morale as Spidey. But DOC OCK?! What a terrible way to end ASM! If Peter died in battle, it would’ve been honorable like USM. That was like a giant middle finger to the fans

      • Yeah, I’m choosing to ignore the new SM ’til it goes away.

      • Yeah, I heard about that, shrugged, and haven’t picked up any of those issues. I still reserve Ultimate Spider-Man at my comic shop but that’s all I get as far as Spidey goes. Which is a shame since Spider-Man is probably my favorite comic book character in the Marvel Universe.

        For now, I’m just sticking those X-Men titles that started at 001. I’ve heard the new Avengers series is good and that Thor is one of the best comics out there right now. I haven’t given them a chance yet, though. I’ll probably wait until they’re in graphic novel form.

      • When all else fails, watch the new Ultimate Spider-Man animated series. Only bcuz Guardians will be making an appearance very soon.

        Michael Clarke Duncan voiced Groot in the show, before he passed away.

      • Poorly formed decision to not give Superior Spider-man a try, IMO. It’s actually very well written, sets a good dynamic and themes, and serves as a better retrospective style look at peter parker/spider-man, through contrast and comparison of Peter’s approach to Spider-man and Ock’s, than most actual spidy titles have in a while, IMO. And personally, any idea that it’s completely permanent is a lie.

        I honest;y think if more people would get over the whole: “They replaced spidy with ock!!! What sh*t be this?” thing and gave it fresh look most people would either change their minds or atleast feel less negatively impacted by it and atleast keep up with the story at a distance untill it’s over.

        • I’ll just wait it out and read the collected volumes then.

      • Spider-Man is only one part of NOW! though (a part which I’m no longer reading ;))
        Admittedly, I wasn’t too keen on the relaunch, but there are some great titles out: Avengers, Guardians Of the Galaxy and Hawkeye are some of my favorites.

        • Don’t forget Nova or Thor: God of Thunder. If you give Sam a shot, you won’t be sorry and the God Butcher from Thor is out of control.

          • I forgot about Nova! I do enjoy that title, yah.

            Haven’t been reading Thor though. I tried the first few issues but it didn’t really grab me.

            • As they build up the God Butcher more, the story starts to really get better. It’s like the ultimate deicide.

  10. Good tokow that he’s excited for the movie

    • Yes…

      … in the same way Jerry Jones will tell us he is excited for the upcoming Dallas Cowboy season.

      … or having Ronald McDonald tell you about his delicious chicken mcnuggets.

      • I’m excited for this movie too, just making a point though.

  11. I was a bit surprised at Guardians of the Galaxy as well. I thought they would’ve gone with the original team with Vance Astro, Star Hawk…ect. Hell, I always thought we would’ve seen a Cloak & Dagger movie before Guardians.
    Would love to see Alex Proyas ( The Crow, Dark City) take on Cloak & Dagger because of it’s subject matter with drugs/ religious overtones…ect.

    • +1 to the Cloak & Dagger Alex Proyas idea. I’d love to see that too.

  12. The whole Doc Ock taking over Peter’s body has actually been a breath of fresh air. There’s so much potential with that whole scenario, it’s unreal. How often does something like this happen? When has an arch-nemesis taken control of his enemy’s body, and lived his life? It’s fun actually watching Doc Ock grow as a character. I understand why people don’t like the idea (hell, Peter/Spidey is my favorite Marvel character), but I think if more people gave it a chance, it would grow on them.

  13. Iam glad this movie is being made but i will hold my breath until i see final product. I find it funny that people keep saying gunn is the man for the job when this cat has yet to write a film that has made 100 million let alone direct one that
    Has made a 100 million. As long as he does not do stupid stunts like shane black pulled with the iron man 3 i wish him much success. Stay true to source material….

    • Why does making 100mil make a difference?

      Super was an amazing and funny movie.

    • Most of the directors of the Marvel movies had never directed a film that had made over 100 million, whedon included. In fact “The Avengers” was seen as Whedon’s first real success ($$$$ wise) in film.

  14. Not sold on this one. I’m sure Rocket it’s going to be the cliche small guy with the big gun and is tough as nails.

    • Nope, I don’t think they’ll go the cliche route with Rocket. In the comics he’s treated as an equal and sometimes stands in as the leader of the Guardians.

    • With the James Gunn approach, Rocket will be as sick in the head as Punisher.

  15. Glad to know I’m the only one who was skeptical about a Guardians movie hehehe (emphasis on WAS) 😉
    GOTG is going to be so much fun!

    • I’m only going to stop being sceptical about it when I see the trailers. 😉

  16. Spot on, Rob, Marvel absolutely should be applauded for taking risks and hiring the right people, not just the bankable ones. It’s moves like this that will prevent the Superhero Film bubble from popping.

    Love James Gunn. SUPER remains one of my favorite “superhero” movies to date.

    • Put a +1 on that. Just knowing James Gunn re-wrote the script to Guardians is good enough news for me. Super was darker than Dark Knight. Can’t wait to see what he will do with Rocket and Drax.

      The only thing that can make this movie better is if it’s rated R.

  17. I’m really excited for this movie. I’m sure it’s gonna be awesome! 😀

  18. I hope they resist the temptation to go Muppet Show/Episode I on Rocket Racoon. The voice actor has to play it straight, without doing a voice that probably would sound forced and ridiculous.

  19. GotG is only riskier for Marvel, in the sense that it’s sci-fi and not straight-up superhero fair. The fact that it’s little known to the outside public means about jack squat when it comes to Marvel. Marvel is now a brand like Pixar, and people flock to Marvel films because its a name they trust. It really doesn’t matter what characters they put on film, as long as they keep making good films. That’s pretty damn cool. I look forward to an Iron Fist film or an Inhumans film. The risk inherant in any of their comic properties is now gone. As long as they keep the audience on their side. It’s not even about the characters anymore. It’s the brand. Everyone seems to be an expert, talking about how risky it is for them, yet everyone seems to forget that ALL of Marvel Studies top films have starred characters that the average person new jack about. Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Avengers are now household names, but a few years ago the majority of the public knew next to nothing and cared little about them. NONE of Marvel Studies big films have starred their big characters – those are all owned by Fox and Sony. As long as Marvel keeps pumping out films that showcase all of their many different ideas, people will come. The only risk they face is if they keep going back to the same ideas/characters over and over and when they start rebooting/recasting. That’s when the tide will turn.

    • You’ve just about summed it up! Let’s hope you’re right and there’s an Inhumans movie before there’s an Iron Man 4.

  20. It could be Star Wars Cantina Awesome…or it could be Howard the Duck. I was an 80s and 90s marvel comics fan, and had never heard of GoTG. Gotta hand it to Feige, though. One single dud and his strategy implodes. Yet the momentum keeps building as, incredibly, he’s built a Hollywood business model based on the way the comic studios used to have a stable of talent. The actors are like artists for continuity, and the directors/screenwriters are like guest editors and writers.

    • What, no middle ground? There’s no WAY it’ll be another Howard The Duck!

  21. “Tony Stark was a B-list character”?????? Are you out of your frak’n skull?

    • Until RDJ played Iron Man and put that character on the map, Iron Man was very much a bench player in the Marvel Universe. Most people had heard of the character but that’s about it.

      Marvel is basically a machine now and they’re doing it with a lot of second-tier characters. It’s sad considering DC can’t even figure out what to do with their more prestigious ones.

  22. I am very thankful. I ALWAYS thought the stories should at least be in the same universe. Now we can tell what others are doing and it can only get better. I always said marvel comics would be a gold mine in the movies…

  23. I’m excited. Just hope the general public is. If a guy who writes comics is initially unsure about it, what makes them think everyone else will get hyped? Especially with an obscure director.

  24. I’m not sure about this project. Yeah, I’m not too familiar with any comic books, I just happen to like the films. So it’s probably not my place to judge the potential of any of these projects before I see them on the silver screen. But a racoon?

    GOOD IDEA for a Pixar or Dreamworks endeavour…3D animated films are grand, and I even love crossover movies like The Smurfs or Alvin and the Chipmunks. But these are freakin’ COMEDIES! Could I imagine an animated Racoon firing a bazooka in an upcoming serious Marvel picture? Well…nope…not yet. I’m looking forward to it nonetheless. I wish to be stood corrected…

    • Envision the potential of multi-franchise crossovers… Rocket, the Raccoon teaming up with a Rancor from a galaxy far, far away to stop a Zombie outbreak at Raccoon city…okay, yeah, I’m pissed and should go to bed now…nuff said…

      • I like the comics. The Raccoon is pretty funny, but that doesn’t mean I want to see him in a movie.

    • I once had some inner ‘coon. I was told it was human meat. It made me crazed. Turns out it gave me worms.

  25. Just started reading Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 which is part of the new Marvel NOW! line. They’re only four or five issues in so it’s easy to catch up. I must admit, I’m enjoying it thus far. Plus, Iron Man is there which is good for familiarity. I’m already looking forward to Zoe Saldana as Gamora.

  26. Liam Neeson should be Dr Strange

    • yes, yes he should!

  27. “If it weren’t for Feige, Marvel wouldn’t have cast actors into super-long contracts, allowing the studios and filmmakers to shape a bigger picture universe and if weren’t for him, risky “out there” films including Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy would never see the light of day. Moviegoers should applaud the creative minds for not just going with the safe bet and rushing sequels for The Avengers and instead aiming to continue expanding and exploring new ideas.”

    Feige is the brains behind Marvel, clearly. CBM fan everywhere should be thankful for this guy. He’s a visionary, a risk taker, and whether you’re a Marvel fan or a DC fan, you can thank him for pushing the boundaries in CBM’s to new limits.

    I, for one, am very grateful for this guy. I would love to see DC get a guy in charge that knows what he’s doing like Fiege.