Marvel, the blockbusting movie powerhouse responsible for 'Iron Man', ‘Thor', 'Captain America', ‘Hulk', and 'The Avengers' is taking a different tack this summer – the studio are going sci-fi.
It’s a brave move considering they’ve made their names with capes, secret serums, and super-powered suits, but as fans of the comics will know, the cosmic is as much part of the Marvel world as the Earth-bound superheroes.
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The seeds were sown with ‘Thor’ with its alien world and planet-hopping storyline, while sequel ‘The Dark World’ cannily featured a ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ cameo in the mid-credit sequence (spoilers!), but now we’re going full-on space fantasy with the new film coming August 1.
But who are the ragtag band of disparate misfits known as the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and who are the many famous faces spotted in the trailer that you might not have recognized?
Peter Quill AKA Star-Lord – Chris Pratt
Quill is a human taken from Earth as a child who grows up to be a space-travelling rogue scavenger – think Han Solo meets Indiana Jones. He’s the unofficial leader of the ‘Guardians’.
Pratt, who signed a multi-picture deal with Marvel to play Quill, is currently hot property at the box office thanks to 'The LEGO Movie' in which he voiced the unassuming lead Emmett and he’s already a big name in the States thanks to the hit sitcom ‘Parks and Recreation’. He’ll be seen next in ‘Jurassic World’, the fourth ‘Jurassic Park’ film.
Gamora – Zoe Saldana
Gamora is a green-skinned alien, wanted for murder, who is known in the comics as "the deadliest woman in the whole galaxy". She’s also the adopted daughter of Thanos, the big bad behind Loki’s machinations in ‘Avengers Assemble’, and a former associate of the bad guys who are pursuing the Guardians in this film. Sounds tricksy to us.
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Saldana is no stranger to sci-fi having appeared in the new ‘Star Trek’ films as Uhura and as blue-skinned Na’vi princess Neytiri in ‘Avatar’.
Drax The Destroyer – Dave Bautista
As you can probably tell from the name, Drax is the muscle of the Guardians. He’s a warrior hell-bent of revenge against Ronan The Accuser – we’ll come to him shortly.
Dave Bautista is a WWE wrestler turned actor whose biggest roles to date came in the critically maligned kung-fu film ‘The Man With The Iron Fists’ and last year’s Vin Diesel vehicle ‘Riddick’. He’s the longest-reigning World Heavyweight Champion in WWE history.
Groot – Vin Diesel
Groot is a Stan Lee creation dating back to 1960, only joining the Guardians in comic lore relatively recently. He’s a sentient tree-creature, who is said to be highly intelligent, even if his vocabulary only stretches as far as saying “I am Groot”, which he repeats often.
Despite the giant creature’s limited lexicon 'Fast and Furious’ star Diesel was revealed as the voice behind the fully CGI character. He was spotted on the set of ‘Fast and Furious 6’ larking around on stilts in “preparation” for the role even though he won’t be mo-capping the part.
Rocket Raccoon – Bradley Cooper
Rocket is a genetically engineered raccoon who also happens to be an expert marksmen. Think Dolly the sheep with a sniper rifle and wisecracks. He’s close allies with Groot as you can see in the trailer, with Marvel boasting that the pair are likely to become “the biggest thing in pop culture since Chewbacca”.
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The Oscar-nominated Cooper joined the cast as the voice of the anthropomorphized mammal after a protracted casting process by director James Gunn, who realized that the film could live or die on the performance of the raccoon (I can’t believe I just typed that). Cooper says his Rocket is “dynamic, he’s the sort of Joe Pesci in ‘Goodfellas’ guy".
Taneleer Tivan AKA The Collector – Benicio Del Toro
The Collector is an intergalactic magpie and supervillian, who is seeking the orb stolen by Star-Lord in the trailer. Oh, and he’s said to be immortal too. We first glimpsed The Collector in the mid-credit sequence of ‘Thor: The Dark World’.
The Oscar-winning Del Toro, who portrayed Che Guevara in 2008’s ‘Che’, is said to have signed a multi-picture deal to play the mysterious Collector, who director James Gunn describes as “like an outer-space Liberace.”
Nebula – Karen Gillan
The blue-skinned female villain of the piece, Nebula is said to possess exemplary combat skills, and shares a complex history with Gamora. She works for Thanos and teams up with Ronan The Accuser to pursue the Guardians.
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Doctor Who star Gillan shaved her head for the role of Nebula who she describes as “sadistic and evil”. Gillan says her relationship with Saldana’s Gamora was the most interesting part to film saying there’s a kind of “sibling rivalry”.
Ronan The Accuser – Lee Pace
We’re yet to get a good look at Ronan in the trailer, but we do spy him holding man mountain Drax aloft in a Darth Vader-stylee, so we know he must be hugely powerful. Ronan is said to be Thanos’ admiral tasked with hunting the Guardians.
Lee Pace is well-known in America as Ned in comedy series ‘Pushing Daisies’ but Brits will know him best as ethereal elf-king Thranduil in Peter Jackson’s 'The Hobbit’ films.
Korath – Djimon Hounsou
Korath is another of the baddies working with Ronan and Thanos (who may or may not appear in the final film), chasing down the Guardians.
You may recognize Hounsou as Juba, Maximus’ ally in ‘Gladiator’, or from his Oscar-nominated turns in ‘In America’ and ‘Blood Diamond’.
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Elsewhere in the trailer you’ll also spot John C Reilly and British comic Peter Serafinowicz as a pair of Nova Corps troops, Nova Corps being a kind of intergalactic police force, who appear to have arrested the Guardians.
Also featuring in the film, but not in the trailer is Glenn Close as Nova Corps leader Nova Prime Rael, and Michael Rooker of ‘The Walking Dead’ fame as a blue-skinned hunter with telepathic skills. Hope that’s cleared it all for you?
‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ is out in cinemas worldwide on August 1.