At the top of the summer, Marvel Studios - having just released Iron Man 3 to great success - had marked their territory years in advance when it came to key summer release dates. Even with five confirmed films already with release dates, concluding with The Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man in 2015, they had secured three additional dates.
The beginnings of summer 2016 and 2017 are now also host to Phase Three installments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with an additional 2016 date in July. Although we know Doctor Strange is in Marvel's future, chances are there will be additional new franchises being launched over these years as well and Vin Diesel was almost part of one.
Diesel of course, has been the subject of Marvel-related headlines ever since June when he revealed that Marvel Studios had requested a meeting with him, one that he left impressed and thanked fans for making happen. Speculation put the star of the Fast & Furious and Riddick franchises in a variety of roles and Diesel hinted that character he could play involved "a different kind of love story," later hinting that he could be voicing a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy named Groot - an alien tree.
Speaking with THR, Diesel finally confirmed - without being vague - that he was in fact offered the role of voicing Groot. After complimenting Marvel for being creative, "I take my hat off to them for being so creative and thinking outside of the box," Diesel continues, explaining that his fans (46 million+ on Facebook alone) were pushing hard for him to work with Marvel and were "demanding an immediate answer," so much so that it changed his meetings with Marvel.
"What we were initially talking about was a fresh IP and that was the focus of our conversation, which was a fresh IP that would come out in 2016 or 2017, and potentially launch the third phase. And when we went to Comic-Con we realized that people wanted something a little more immediate... With my schedule, it was almost impossible to imagine I could do anything immediate. And I guess after they watched Iron Giant or whatever, they came up with this idea of taking the strangest Marvel character we know, or the strangest Marvel character that's ever hit film, and thought what I could do with that with motion capture and with my voice."
Diesel concludes by saying the Groot pitch is where his talks left off with Marvel Studios and going forward, it's up to his reps and Marvel to see if it can work out. With Guardians of the Galaxy in its latter half of shooting in London and still a year left before it hits theaters next August, the deal would need to be done soon. That is, assuming Diesel will in fact be involved with significant motion capture and not just doing the voice of Groot.
STYD's Ryan Turek asked him during the Riddick junket if his role would involve more than voice work to which Diesel responded, "It'll be voiceover, MoCap and all of that stuff. It's going to be super cool." The role would therefore be similar to Mark Ruffalo's take on Bruce Banner in The Avengers which saw him perform the motion capture of The Hulk as well.
As for the other animated character in Guardians of the Galaxy (meet the full team here), an offer has reportedly gone out to Bradley Cooper to voice Groot's friend Rocket Raccoon in the space opera, but there's nothing official on that front either.
Would you rather have seen Diesel play another (potentially live-action) character in one of the unannounced Marvel Studios productions for 2016-17 (that will be unveiled next year) or is Groot a good role for him? What character could he have played instead?
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.
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