Guardians of the Galaxy is an important installment in Marvel's Cinematic Universe. It's a standalone film based on an obscure comic book and set mostly in space. Written and directed by maverick filmmaker James Gunn - known mostly for violent, oddball indies - Guardians will be the final Phase II film before The Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2015.
Marvel has been able to swing attention back to their upcoming film slate with a series of high-profile casting updates: James Spader as Ultron in The Avengers sequel, Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy, and Vin Diesel in talks to voice fellow Guardian, living tree Groot. With all eyes currently trained on Marvel - specifically Guardians - we now have a report which tosses up some clues on what plans Marvel might have in store for the property.
The Walking Dead star Michael Rooker is currently filming his Guardians role of Yondu, the blue-skinned, mohawk'd alien hunter/mystic. Rooker recently spoke to SuperHeroHype about his role and just how much of the elements contained in the comic books will be featured in the movie:
"When I first got the role of Yondu, [director James] Gunn was like, 'Don't read any of the comics!' but It's beautiful stuff. Whenever you do a film of comic book characters and stuff you don't know how much you can show, you don't know how much is going to be brought out. Nowadays movies are done and they already have two or three others planned out. So stuff you do in this one, you ask "Why aren't we doing this?" and they say, "Well be patient!"
It's not terribly surprising that Gunn would ask his actors to stay away from the comic books, and it's fun to hear Rooker's enthusiasm about the role (and check out his look in some of the set photos), but the main point of interest is that last part of the quote: "Well be patient!"
This definitely sounds like a hint that Marvel has plenty in store for the Guardians down the line, and echoes co-star Chris "The Star Lord" Pratt's musing on the idea of the Guardians eventually joining the Avengers on Earth. There's also Marvel president and Cinematic Universe guru Kevin Feige's recent remarks concerning the studio's development slate: There are three or four slots. We've got six or seven things going. We've got to choose which four will go. It's a Battle Royale!"
Given the expansive universe associated with Guardians of the Galaxy, there is certainly material for a continuing franchise of its own, even without crossing over into the rest of the Marvel Universe at large (although it frequently does), but Marvel knows that this movie is their biggest risk yet, given that it's the only non-sequel (thus non-slam dunk) in it's pipeline until at least 2015.
The future of the cinematic Guardians will depend on Gunn's vision, and he's wisely kept many of his regular players - like the ever-reliable Rooker - on hand. We'll keep our eyes on GoTG, which is shaping up to be potentially the most interesting release of Marvel's Phase II line-up.
Thor: The Dark World on November 8, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014, The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on November 6, 2015, and unannounced films for May 6 2016, July 8 2016 and May 5 2017.