After months of rumors, half-truths and leaks, this past week Marvel confirmed that its next in-house team movie was going to be Guardians Of The Galaxy. And while it isn’t the original team from the 31st century, it is essentially the most recent GotG line-up and not some new conglomeration of heroes under that banner. Starlord. Gamora. Drax. Groot. Rocket Raccoon. Groot. Groot. Groot.
The idea of a live-action Guardians Of The Galaxy movie is a risky concept, but given Marvel’s recent movie track record you can see where they might think they have the momentum to make it happen. Factor in that the Avengers post-credit debut of Thanos will tie into this Guardians of the Galaxy movie, they’re well on their way. We’re told there’s at least one strong draft. Still waiting on a director, a cast, and a great special effects budget.
Okay, maybe they need our help.
Okay, you have the heroes and you have the villain – all you need is a way to introduce then and bring them into conflict.I’d have this all be instigated by Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord. Born of Earth (but with some extraterrestrial fiddling in his parentage), Quill becomes a intergalactic police man known as Star-Lord and a bit of a military advisor to the major races in space. In this movie, I’d have Quill debut as an advisor to the Kree Supreme Intelligence, warning him of the danger of an ages-old villain named Thanos re-emerging (last time, it took the combined forces of Odin and others to fell him). Seeing his warnings going unheeded, Quill assembles his own team — Ocean’s Eleven style — to try to stave off the rebirth of Thanos. This recruitment phase could really give each individual character their moment to shine, from Gamora to the mercernary Raccoon to the alien tree named Groot to Drax, the being born with the single-minded goal of killing Thanos.
With the team asembled, you could have them trying to intervene in Thanos’ clandestine attempts to amass his armies but be cut down pretty quickly. Where it’d get interesting is I’d reveal that this GotG movie is taking place simultaneous to The Avengers – the team being unable to stop Thanos allows him to supply Loki with the armies to attack Earth. Only after seeing his home world under threat could Quill mound a second assault and go after Thanos.Cutting through his armies and his space-bound fortres, the team could get face-to-face with Thanos and best him in battle, but leave him just enough of an opening for him to escape — Darth Vader style at the end of the first Star Wars. Looking for someone to blame, Quill could realize that someone in his team is a double-agent……. and end movie.
For the now customary post-credits scene, you could have the team realize Thanos is escaping to Earth and the team go in hot pursuit.
Directing this is a big challenge — arguably even bigger than Joss Whedon’s on The Avengers. For that, Whedon had the luxury of having a group of well-known characters with significant popularity on their own to give it some built-in interest for the movie. For Guardians of The Galaxy, they don’t have that. This needs to be space adventure but grounded in something us terrestial movie-goers can be invested in.
To do this, I’d enlist Andrew Stanton. Yes, John Carter didn’t perform near to what movie-goers and Hollywood bean counters were hoping but that doesn’t mean it was all his fault. I think putting Stanton to work with the well-known heavy-handed production style of Marvel Studios could squeeze out a real diamond here, and you need someone imaginative like Stanton to really think outside the box in terms of defining these heroes for the mainstream public. With the right oversight, Stanton could be just want this would-be franchise needs to take its place in the pantheon of Marvel movies.
Star-Lord – Nathan Fillion: Fans have been chomping at the bit for Fillion to be cast in a major superher movie, with his name bandied about for Green Lantern, Hawkeye, and most recently Ant-Man. Instead of all those, I’d love it for Fillion to strap on his raygun once more and become Peter Quill, Star-Lord. He’s brash, he’s emotive, and he knows how to anchor an ensemble cast. And I’d argue his role in Castle has made him more of a household name and more likely to be able to anchor a movie like this.
Drax The Destroyer – Dave Batista: While not all wrestlers are built for their big screen debut, the Rock has bucked the trend and I think former WWE wrestler Dave Batista could do the same. While I wouldn’t cast him in Shakespeare anytime soon, I believe the Drax character wouldn’t be a big stretch for the Animal and could play up to his inherent strengths. He’s already got small roles in the upcoming Riddick and The Man With The Iron Fists, and I could easily see him becoming this alien superhero.
Gamora – Olivia Wilde: A killer woman with killer looks. Olivia Wilde seems born for this part, and she stands head-and-shoulders ab ove any other would-be contenders for this role with her great run of movies where she demonstrates her acting ability.
Groot – Andy Serkis: Gollum. Caesar. Groot.
Rocket Raccoon – Peter Dinklage: This is the tough one to cast. At first I bandied around names like Steve Buscemi or Patton Oswalt, but once I imagined Game Of Thrones’ Dinklage in this role I couldn’t wipe it. Rocket Raccoon is the ace in the hole of the Guardians team, not unlike Wolverine in X-Men or Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Dinklage could positively kill it in this role, and do it without taking himself too seriously.
Thanos – Ron Perlman: In the post-credits scene of The Avengers, Thanos’ debut appearance was played by Damion Poitier but when it comes time for Thanos to have more screen time you’ll need someone with more….. everything. Although he’s already played a host of superhero roles from Hellboy to a bit part in Blade 2, I think Perlman is without-a-doubt the picture perfect man for this. He has the voice, he has the presence, and he knows how to act even behind heavy prosthetics.