We’ve long speculated about how “Phase 2″ of the Marvel Movie Universe will take form, with the popular theory being that films like Iron Man 3 and Captain America 2 will continue the superhero drama on Earth, while films like Thor 2 will explore events in the Marvel cosmic universe. Part of the reasoning behind that speculation has been the longtime rumor that Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy would be getting their own film – and today, that rumor is taking another step closer to being truth.

Marvel has apparently filed various trademark applications for its Guardians of the Galaxy brand; Bleeding Cool states that everything from, ” jewelery to beverages to furniture  to cosmetics” has been covered in the applications, which span numerous international classes and also cover the usual merchandising materials (toys, video games, food, retails services, etc).

This step is a standard practice for Marvel: since the movie branch of the company got started, merchandising has been secured lock-step with the rollout of their various films. While this is pretty much true of any studio looking to launch a franchise, in the case of Marvel Studios, the legal pre-work may also be a tip of the hat in regards to the studio’s often secretive plans.

Right now there are still open spots in the 2014 Marvel movie slate. We know that Captain America 2 will arrive in April of that year, but there has been much debate over what other film(s) will be unveiled. So far, the most likely (and speculated) possibilities have been Edgar Wrights gestating Ant-Man movie; the long-rumored Black Panther movie, and, of course, Guardians of the Galaxy.

For those who don’t know: GotG is a Marvel Comics team that dates all the way back to 1969. The story follows a look into the 31st Century at a team of eclectic alien beings who (as their team name would suggest) defend the cosmos against evil threats. The series was relaunched in 2008, with an updated team roster and an origin story that revolved around interplanetary policeman Star-Lord (pictured above, in the funky helmet) forming a team of intergalactic beings who will proactively eliminate cosmic threats before they become threats. That team includes a battle-hardened raccoon, a telepathic dog, a couple of green-skinned warriors, among others.

A Guardians of the Galaxy movie would be an exciting departure for Marvel Studios – a film that would plunge us headlong into Star Wars-style sci-fi territory. While it would be a hard sell as, say, a companion piece to Iron Man or The Avengers, there’s still time for some of the upcoming films – looking at you, Thor 2 – to lay the groundwork for other galactic settings and beings to be implemented into the MMU in a smooth, organic way. In any event, the marketing dept. would have to learn some new tricks, if a Guardians of the Galaxy movie is truly what Marvel has in the cards.

With DC/Warner Bros. going down some radically different routes with their superhero films – see Barry Sonnenfeld’s Metal Men movie, or the rumored Suicide Squad movie – it would also behoove Marvel Studios to change up the formula a bit, and offer audiences some more variety.

We’ll keep you updated on any Guardians of the Galaxy updates; look for some official word on Marvel’s film plans during Comic-Con 2012 in a few weeks.

Source: Bleeding Cool