[Update: Trades confirm Cooper in talks with Marvel.]
With Guardians of the Galaxy opening up the Marvel Cinematic Universe to the cosmic lore of the comics with an entirely new set of characters, and The Avengers: Age of Ultron introducing at least a few new heroes to moviegoers the following year, Marvel Studios is about to propel the careers of several new faces to the franchise.
Guardians of the Galaxy has been shooting in London since earlier this summer and while the principal cast - introduced on stage at Comic-Con in July - is cast, two of the most important (yet animated) characters have yet to find their voices. Is it possible we already know who's voicing Rocket Raccoon and Groot?
The Guardians of the Galaxy comics have featured varied rosters of characters in the books but since officially confirmed at last year's Comic-Con with the following concept art, we've know that two of the five heroes would be animated - Groot (the tree) & Rocket (the little furry guy).
Another high-profile star in Vin Diesel has been the center of much recent buzz surrounding Guardians of the Galaxy with confirmed news that he's met with Marvel combined with his use of an image of Groot on his Facebook page. He's even discussed the character and why he'd be interesting to play so it's possible we already know who are playing the pair who in the story become best friends.
As for finding the right voice for Rocket Raccoon, the "heart" of the Guardians of the Galaxy team and film, writer and director James Gunn previously explained at the Iron Man 3 London premiere:
"I think there’s – here’s the thing: there are a lot of people who have a lot of ideas of who is right for Rocket Raccoon Rocket Raccoon has been slightly different over the years, in the comic books, and within my scripts he is a very, very specific guy, and I think people are going to have to wait for a few weeks before they see."
Is Cooper the right guy to voice Rocket or would he make for a better live-action characters from the Marvel cosmos, like Adam Warlock (pictured in center of below image alongside Ronan the Accuser and several members of the Guardians)?
In other Marvel casting rumors, Elizabeth Olsen is apparently the frontrunner to play Scarlet Witch for Joss Whedon's Avengers sequel.
Guardians of the Galaxy is directed by James Gunn off of his script co-written by Nicole Perlman. It stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, Benicio del Toro, John C. Reilly, and Glenn Close.
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.
Let me know on Twitter @rob_keyes who you think should voice Rocket!