Guardians of the Galaxy hits theaters on August 1st, 2014, and we’ll continue reporting everything that comes our way. But until then, we’ve put everything we know about one of Marvel’s riskier films in one place for your reading convenience. The cast of Guardians of the Galaxy is pretty impressive for a movie based on a relatively unknown Marvel comic book. Since the Guardians’ roster has changed considerably (and constantly) since their introduction in 1969, this particular selection of members, while familiar to readers of recent Marvel Comics, may reveal a bit more about the film’s plot and the future of the Marvel Universe than you might expect. Don’t worry, though…this is entirely spoiler-free! We’ve seen Chris Pratt make a dramatic physical change in order to play the leader of the Guardians, Star-Lord. Michael Rooker is Yondu, one of the few Guardians characters that has been around since the concept was first introduced. Bradley Cooper is the voice of Rocket Raccoon, and Vin Diesel is Groot.The casting of John C. Reilly as Rhomann Dey (a heroic Nova Corps leader) and Glenn Close as Nova Prime increases both the scope of the film and the reach of the Marvel movie universe. The question is whether or not the Nova Corps still exists, or if they’ve been wiped out and John C. Reilly is playing a survivor of a bygone era. Still, San Diego Comic-Con attendees did at least get to see the Nova Corps uniforms up close, and nobody (and I mean NOBODY) ever thought that would happen. Just as Marvel has been positioning the Guardians of the Galaxy comic for big things over the last six months, they’ve been doing the same with Nova. Don’t be surprised if Nova is one of those mystery Marvel Phase Three projects released between 2016-2017. The presence of Zoe Saldana as Gamora, a green-skinned beauty known in the comics as “the most dangerous woman in the galaxy,” hints at another potential plot point. You see, Gamora is the adopted daughter of Thanos, the cosmic madman who was famously teased at the end of The Avengers. Gamora isn’t the only member of the Guardians with ties to Thanos. Drax the Destroyer (played by former WWE Superstar, Dave Bautista) has an origin which, at least in the comics, relies fairly heavily on Thanos’ involvement. As far as baddies go, Lee Pace is playing Ronan the Accuser and Djimon Hounsou is Korath the Pursuer, both of whom are members of the alien Kree (a race who have played quite heavily into the mythology of the Avengers comics). Another potential source of villainy for the film comes in the form of Karen Gillan as Nebula. Who is Nebula, you ask? She’s a ruthless space-pirate. Not high-stakes enough for you? She’s also the granddaughter of Thanos. Benicio del Toro as The Collector adds even more potential villainous firepower. Of course, if you stayed for that mid-credits sequence in Thor: The Dark World you got to see a little bit of del Toro’s Collector in action, and as for what he’s “collecting,” well…that’s something that comic fans will recognize as the cornerstone of Thanos’ most famous comic book story. How much that plays into the plot of Guardians of the Galaxy remains to be seen, but it’s worth keeping an eye on! In case this isn’t enough for you, the film’s director, James Gunn, recently stated that “Thanos is a character in our movie.” Whether that means this is a major speaking role or if he’s just in the background pulling the strings remains to be seen. If nothing else, Guardians of the Galaxy is going to make tremendous strides towards establishing Thanos as THE cosmic threat in the cinematic Marvel Universe. So, with all this Thanos talk, it might be best to let the experts speak. In a recent Empire Magazine interview (courtesy of ScreenCrush), Kevin Feige promised that “Ronan the Accuser is very much the main bad guy. Thanos is lurking above it all. You will learn more about Thanos in Guardians, for sure. Certainly you’ll get more than the one turn around and smirk! You’ll get much more than that!” Which still leaves the big question. If we’re getting “much more” than the brief glimpse in The Avengers, who will be wearing the makeup and/or providing the voice for the Mad Titan? It sounds like there’s still one more major casting announcement to be made.In other casting news, Gregg Henry, a veteran of several James Gunn projects has also joined the film. There’s been no word yet on what Henry’s role might be.
Guardians of the Galaxy is directed by James Gunn (Slither, Super), and written by Gunn and the relatively unknown (although not for much longer!) Nicole Perlman. Marvel Studios’ President, Kevin Feige is (unsurprisingly) producing, while Louis D’Esposito (you may know him from the recent Agent Carter short film), Victoria Alonso, Jeremy Latcham, Alan Fine, and Stan Lee all claim Executive Producer credit, with Nik Korda as co-producer. Tyler Bates has signed on to provide the film’s score. Guardians of the Galaxy is done shooting, and is now well into post-production.If the wait for that first teaser trailer is too much for you, you can see some set pics here and here.Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all news updates related to the world of geek. And Google+, if that’s your thing!