The most mysterious and interesting of Marvel Studios' upcoming "Phase Two" slate is that of the risky and ambitious Guardians of the Galaxy. Marvel Comics fans have a rough idea of who the new main characters will be, from official artwork released during last summer's Iron Man 3 Comic-Con panel and pre-production concept art since, but what other space-faring characters and alien races of the cosmos will be included remains a mystery as James Gunn slowly casts his roster.
Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista are playing three of the leads, and some of the many supporting roles are being played by Michael Rooker, Ophelia Lovibond, Enzo Cilenti and Lee Pace, the latter of which is reportedly playing the unnamed feature villain of Guardians of the Galaxy.
Rumors upon unverified rumors, fueled mostly by speculation have listed characters ranging from Thanos' Henchman, The Controller to more ancient foes like The Collector, and the latest character to be namedropped as a potential antagonist is one from one of the most notable alien races in the Marvel universe: Ronan the Accuser.
Ronan is a key member of the Kree, one of the alien races rumored years ago to potentially be a part of the story of The Avengers. The Kree are enemies of the Skrulls, and Ronan is a super powerful judge, jury and executioner type figure who began as a villain but turned out to be a hero of his people.
In the Ultimate Marvel Comics universe, for which many of the X-Men and Marvel movies have drawn inspiration from, Ronan is actually the son of Thanos - the villain from the end of The Avengers who will return for Guardians and The Avengers 2 - so there are easy connections to be made for James Gunn without having to help moviegoers navigate through the detailed and complex universe established over decades of Marvel Comics stories.
By the time the film finishes shooting in London we'll have gone through all of the space-faring villains who've appeared in the multiple Marvel Comics iterations of Guardians of the Galaxy and other space-focused stories. The film is being rewritten and directed by James Gunn and begins shooting this summer (to be released in 3D) so it won't be long until we start learning legitimate details. Even if Ronan isn't the main "bad guy," he would be an important character to at least introduce if Marvel Studios and producer/president Kevin Feige are looking to make use of the Kree at some point. We also need to point out that Ronan and the Kree have big history with The Inhumans and their leader Black Bolt - another property Feige is looking to bring to the big screen, possibly in Phase Three.
Interested readers should check out Marvel's 2006-07 Annihilation and Annihilation Conquest miniseries, which include Ronan, Thanos, Nova and the origins of the Guardians of the Galaxy relaunch. It could very well be the best source of stories Marvel Studios can pull from for the Guardians of the Galaxy series.
Iron Man 3 releases May 3, 2013, 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 2 on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on November 6, 2015, and Doctor Strange sometime after that.
Let me know on Twitter @rob_keyes who you'd like to see in Guardians of the Galaxy!