Chances are you didn’t know much about Guardians of the Galaxy before its 2014 release date. That’s okay, no one really did. It was a strange film based on a largely unknown Marvel comic series and no one knew quite what to expect of this colorful space epic starring Parks and Rec’s Chris Pratt. But then the film was released to the tune of a $773 million worldwide box office and anyone who didn’t know about Guardians of the Galaxy soon found out all they needed to know; it was a kick-ass movie and one of the most entertainingly original superhero films in years.
With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 set to be released a year from now, it’s safe to say that we’re all eagerly looking forward to learning more about our favorite misfit team of space guardians. In the meantime, what don’t you about Guardians of the Galaxy that you can find out right now? Which facts about the film will make you appreciate the awesomeness that is Guardians even more? Take a look at our list of 12 Things You Didn’t Know About Guardians of the Galaxy to find out.
12 Peter Quill’s Ship is Called The Milano
If you thought Peter Quill’s – A.K.A. Star Lord’s – ship was just some bad-ass flying machine that he used to loot treasures around the galaxy, you’d be right. But you would also be missing one of the coolest things about it; it’s called the Milano, and it’s named after every kid of the 80s' first crush, Alyssa Milano, then known best from the sitcom Who's The Boss?.
While Quill’s 80s upbringing is spread all over the DNA of Guardians of the Galaxy, from the soundtrack to the bright colors and cinematography, it’s so good to see little nods like this popping up in the background of the film to give it extra life. Though many may not know that the ship is called the Milano or credit the name to 80s teen sensation Alyssa Milano, the fact that it’s there really gives those who pay attention an extra insight into Peter Quill and a stronger sense of enjoyment as they re-watch the film and discover new things to love about it each time.
11 Iron Man Almost Made an Appearance
Back when Guardians of the Galaxy was being written, it was considered a huge commercial risk to bring the Marvel Cinematic Universe into such strange territory, while also ignoring everything else that had been going on in the MCU since. This was a space epic that, aside from the opening scene, didn’t have a single scene on Earth and didn’t contain even a glimpse of any of our favorite Avengers. But that wasn’t initially the plan.
Before cameras rolled, the plan was to put Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man in the film for a cameo role to boost the commercial appeal of Guardians. With the figurehead of the MCU passing the gauntlet to the Guardians, Marvel figured they could get audiences on-board with their risky concept. However, that cameo never came to be, as Marvel and director James Gunn ultimately decided to live or die based on their weird little (sorry, "little") film, and after audiences embraced everything about it sans-Iron Man, it looked like all involved made the right call.
10 It Took 5 Hours a Day to Apply Dave Bautista’s Makeup
Despite all the incredible make-up work on Guardians – from bringing to live alien species and transforming well-known actors into unrecognizable creatures – the most time-consuming makeup job was on Dave Bautista. Playing Drax the Destroyer, Bautista’s makeup required five makeup artists working for five hours a day to apply 18 prosthetic pieces.
Since Drax wasn’t a single color, like Gamora or Ronan, Bautista’s makeup job required various paint layers and chemicals to be added to his skin, which meant he couldn’t sit for the entire five hours. With his arms out to his sides resting on posts, Bautista would get ready for his scenes every day while waiting patiently, and then cap off the day with another hour and a half of makeup removal. The most amazing part of all of this is that, according to co-star Chris Pratt, he never once complained.
9 Jason Momoa Turned Down the Role of Drax
While critics praised Dave Bautista’s turn as Drax as one of the highlights of the film – bringing exceptional comedic timing and a compelling physicality to the role – Guardians of the Galaxy was almost a completely different film considering that Jason Momoa was all set to star as Drax before cameras rolled. With deals in place and negotiations ongoing, Momoa eventually dropped out at the last second. Though it’s not sure why, some reports have claimed that negotiations for a higher pay fell through, while others say that Momoa didn’t want to get typecast as the big brute following his role as Drogo in Game of Thrones.
Though Momoa eventually accepted the role of Aquaman for Warner Bros.’ DC Universe, his role in the Marvel film got far enough that official concept art was even created with him playing Drax. While the final design looks different – and in our opinion, worse – than what we saw with Bautista, it’s interesting to think of what could’ve been had Momoa not turned down the role.
8 Vin Diesel Recorded "I am Groot" 1000 Times
It may have seemed like Vin Diesel had the easiest role in Guardians of the Galaxy, just showing up in a cozy recording studio, recording “I Am Groot” once or twice, and collecting his paycheck, but as it turns out that wasn’t the case. In reality, Diesel took his role as Groot very seriously, putting a ton of unnecessary work into the character that ended up stealing the show, and proving how committed someone can be to a giant sentient CGI tree character.
By the time filming (or recording) was complete, Diesel recorded the line “I am Groot” over 1000 times, and what’s more, he did it in multiple languages. Since Groot only ever says the one line (and “We are Groot” if you want to get picky about it in the comments), Diesel decided to record the line in 15 different languages for all the releases of the film, rather than having another actor come in to do the dub of his character. And if, at the end of the day, all of that wasn’t enough, Vin Diesel stood on stilts to record his lines, because, method actor that he is, he wanted to get a sense of the character’s height and emotional state when saying “I am Groot.”
7 Director James Gunn Played Baby Groot
Ask most fans of Guardian of the Galaxy what their favorite moment of the film was and they’ll tell you it was dancing baby Groot. The post-credits scene was so popular that it eventually turned into the gif seen across the world, which then turned into the gift given across the world as Disney smartly capitalized on baby Groot to turn him into a Christmas toy. Maybe director James Gunn knew this would happen, and maybe he wanted to steal his own show, because dancing baby Groot was all him.
According to Gunn, he taped his own dance moves – in an empty room, to spare himself the embarrassment – and gave the video to the animators. The animators then perfectly encapsulated Gunn’s moves into baby Groot, so perfectly in fact that Gunn’s friends came up to him after a screening of the film to say that the baby tree’s dance moves looked suspiciously familiar.
6 NASA Has Approved One of the Film’s Most Controversial Scenes
Do you remember the scene where Star-Lord watched as Gamora floated through space, ready to die, after her ship was destroyed? Sure you do, it was an emotional moment followed by a potentially infuriating moment, depending on your understanding of space science. As Star-Lord flew across space and gave her his breathing mask, thus saving her life and coming back onto his ship in time for them to both be rescued, many felt that this was the most unrealistic part of a film that featured a best friend duo of a sentient tree and a murderous talking raccoon.
However, NASA – seemingly with nothing more important to do – has since confirmed that it would have been theoretically possible for Quill to survive the vacuum of space for the few seconds that he was exposed to it. Citing tests on animals in the 1960s that were carried out in space (those poor chimps!), NASA confirmed that Quill could’ve been revived after his trip to the outskirts of Nowhere, it just wouldn’t have been a fun time for him. So while NASA helped fight a flame war in the comment threads of various movie websites, the one thing that also seemed to help Marvel’s case is the fact that Peter Quill is also revealed to be half-alien, which makes his unprotected space romp a little more believable.
5 None of the Guardians Team from the Film Were In the Original Comic Book Series
When you’re adapting a superhero comic, the best way to ensure that the film is a hit with audiences is to take the comic’s most recognizable (and often original) characters. Take Peter Parker, or Tony Stark, or Steve Rogers; other characters have been Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Captain America respectively, but Marvel knew enough to make their first on-screen iterations their most famous alter egos. But this wasn’t the case with Guardians of the Galaxy.
Knowing they were already gambling by making a risky Guardians film, Marvel largely ignored all of the original run of Guardians of the Galaxy comics, despite their team existing in the pages of Marvel history since 1969. While that original team shares little similarities with the team from the film, the interesting thing is that not one of the main characters even made an appearance in Marvel’s first Guardians film. Between Major Victory, Martinex T’Naga, Starhawk, Aleta, and Nikki, none of these characters are known among even the most well-versed Marvel nerds despite part of the original Guardians team, and Marvel decided to embrace the weird and jump straight into the Guardians’ most obscure (but marketable) characters: Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Groot, and Rocket.
4 Adam Sandler and Jim Carrey Were Seriously Considered For the Role of Rocket
When you are creating a film where one of the pivotal characters is a sociopathic CGI talking raccoon, you better get a big name to voice that raccoon. That was initially Marvel’s thinking, as the first people they went after to voice Rocket were Jim Carrey and Adam Sandler, two of the (once) biggest names in comedy that would’ve leant some high-energy shenanigans to the character. While it may be tough to imagine anyone other than Bradley Cooper voicing the lovable but insane genetically modified raccoon, these castings actually aren’t that weird when we look at the finished product.
Both Carrey and Sandler have great dramatic roles under their belts and they have the unique ability to make an off-the-wall character sympathetic. This is something that Cooper ended up doing so well in Guardians, giving a hard-edged humanity to the scraggly little raccoon that the whole world seemed to neglect. So while Sandler and Carrey ultimately didn’t make Rocket Raccoon their own, we’re still hoping that they’ll pop up in another Marvel film to lend their unique skills to a character that would feel uniquely Marvel.
3 Nearly Everyone in Hollywood Auditioned For Star-Lord/ Peter Quill
2013 was a very different time, as at that point Iron Man 3 hadn’t even come out to prove that Marvel’s success with the previous summer’s Avengers film wasn’t just an aberration. Because of this, Guardians was coming at a strange time in Marvel’s history as they didn’t exactly have a strong brand-aesthetic to guide them, and their newest endeavor was facing increased speculation as to what the tone would be. Despite all of this, nearly everyone in Hollywood wanted on board, and it’s fascinating to see who auditioned for the role of Peter Quill and how the film ultimately would have turned out had Chris Pratt not gotten the part.
Eddie Redmayne, Lee Pace, Garrett Hedlund, James Marsden, Jim Sturgess, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Aaron Paul, and John Krasinski were all rumoured to be strongly considered for Quill at one point or another during pre-production. While many names came and went, it’s cool to see a through-line here with some of these actors having serious comedic abilities. Something about Gordon-Levitt, Paul, and Krasinski – what with their abilities to handle comedy and drama – would’ve made for a compelling Star-Lord, and based on these choices it looks like Marvel and Gunn were always heading for comedy. But perhaps the most shocking name, and the one that James Gunn himself said would’ve gotten the role had it not been for Pratt, was Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Glenn Howerton, who would’ve been a spectacular choice for the wisecracking Quill, and one that seems equally primed to break out as Pratt did following his role in Guardians.
2 James Gunn’s Brother, Sean, Played Rocket
Although Marvel animators can largely do anything these days, including giving life to Groot and making him the heart and soul of the entire Guardians film, the one thing they needed a bit of help with was Rocket. Seeing as he’s such an integral part of the film – and considering how Bradley Cooper wasn’t available during filming to work with his co-stars – director James Gunn had to call in an unlikely source to play the motion-capture part of Rocket on set; his brother Sean.
Getting the call just a week before a five month shoot, Sean Gunn was tasked with reading Rocket’s lines on set and wearing a form-fitting green onesie. The actor said that he was game for whatever it was that his brother wanted him to do, which at first was just simulating a walking raccoon on set. So Sean Gunn walked around on his hands and knees, became an integral part of scenes, and eventually started improvising lines as Rocket. In fact, a line that James Gunn credits as being his favorite in the entire movie – the one where Rocket says the Guardians are “a bunch of jackasses standing in a circle” – was one that came from his brother on-set and was then re-recorded by Bradley Cooper to be included in the completed film.
1 Rocket Originally Had a Cockney Accent
When Bradley Cooper signed on for the role of Rocket no one knew exactly what he’d bring to the little raccoon. Specifically, his accent was a point of contention as speculation ran wild on how he would voice a character that is known in the comics as having a Cockney accent. Though Cooper admitted that he wasn’t familiar with the character or the comic when he signed on for the role, he also revealed that there was discussion about whether or not he should bring the British twang into the film or adapt Rocket for his own sensibilities.
While it’s tough to pin down exactly what accent Cooper is doing in the finished Guardians film, the one thing we do know is that it’s not a Cockney accent. Bringing a bit of a New York City vibe to Rocket while also falling back into his own natural accent at times, it’s fun to watch the film and speculate where exactly Bradley Cooper’s Rocket came from. While we don’t know much about the background of Rocket, here’s hoping we get some more info in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 about why Rocket talks the way he does, and whether or not he spent any time in London or New York in the past.
Which of these facts did you find most interesting? Is there anything we missed? Let us know in the comments!