Of the five upcoming Marvel Studios productions with confirmed release dates, there's only one that isn't a sequel and aims to introduce a roster of fresh faces. That unfamiliarity isn't the only reason why Guardians of the Galaxy may be the riskiest film from the young studio to date.
Introducing something new with obscure comic book characters and a spacefaring adventure unique to the franchise is one thing, having a team of heroes that includes a walking, talking tree and a rocket launcher-wielding raccoon is another. Reports from a few weeks ago had director James Gunn as the top pick by Marvel to helm Guardians and Joss Whedon has now confirmed it, in addition to offering his thoughts on the selection.
Joss Whedon was in Toronto this weekend to present Much Ado About Nothing at the Toronto International Film Festival and he took a moment to chat with MTV who inquired about Rocket Raccoon and the man rumored to direct him in Guardians of the Galaxy. Whedon both confirmed that Gunn is on the project and that the director of Slither and Super has his own story he's bringing to the table, one that's "twisted" but true to the source.
"You know, James is what makes me think it will work. I myself was sort of like, 'Well, I liked Rocket Raccoon as a kid, but I'm not sure how that plays [to a wider audience].' And then they said, 'Well, we're thinking about using James Gunn.' And I said, 'Oh, then no, you're fine.' He is so off the wall, and so crazy, but so smart, such a craftsman and he builds from his heart. He loves the raccoon. Needs the raccoon... This is the guy who wrote 'The Specials' which is one of the most important movies... People don't understand how influential that movie was about heroes, about taking heroes and making them mundane. And [he directed] 'Super'... He has a very twisted take on it, but it all comes from a real love of the material so you know he's going to make the Raccoon... It's going to be hard for the humans to keep up."
By "they," Whedon must be referring to the execs at Marvel Studios who undoubtedly requested input from Joss Whedon in selecting a director for Guardians of the Galaxy. As confirmed by the three-year exclusive deal Marvel Studios signed with Whedon, the man who realized The Avengers on the big screen will play an integral role in not only writing and directing The Avengers 2, but in shaping Phase Two of the franchise leading up to that point. He'll be ensuring the films adhere to the shared continuity and that each film takes the right steps in the road to the next big team-up.
Much like Whedon rewrote Zak Penn's script for The Avengers, Gunn may be doing the same for Guardians according to Whedon. He'll potentially rewrite or at the very least, co-write the screenplay with Chris McCoy who Marvel Studios signed three weeks ago to rewrite the original draft by Nicole Perlman. McCoy is an industry newcomer who has yet to have a script produced but he had several of his spec scripts land on the Black List (Hollywood's list of best unproduced scripts).
"James' barely started on it so I want him to take it and make it very much his because I know he's going to come from left field and I'm going to go, 'What?' And then, 'Of course, why didn't I think of that?' And then I'm going to beat him!"
The man in charge has good things to say about Gunn, the potential star of the film (Rocket Raccoon) and of the (twisted) story, and none of this should surprise moviegoers who've seen the twisted dark comedy, Super. With production beginning sometime in 2013 for a summer 2014 release, we're very anxious to see who Gunn, Whedon and Marvel Studios cast as voices and actors in Guardians of the Galaxy.
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 and The Avengers 2 on May 1, 2015.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.
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