Welcome back to your biweekly voyage to Knowhere as we continue to mark GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY being 14 days closer to its August 1, 2014 release date! The past two weeks have been kind to GUARDIANS fans with official casting news and a hot, but unconfirmed rumor. In this edition of the countdown, we will also begin a more thorough examination of the source material to prep you for your cosmic adventure next year.
It’s official: Bradley Cooper will be the voice of Rocket Raccoon in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, as announced by Marvel just one day after the last edition of this countdown. Cooper adds name recognition to an unknown property that can certainly use the help in drawing mainstream awareness, but more importantly, he’s a great actor. Director James Gunn has maintained Rocket is the heart and soul of this movie, so expect Cooper to have a big, positive impact on the story being told. He may not be a fanboy favorite, but no one really was for this role and in general, seemingly unconventional casting choices tend to work out when the director feels as though he got his mammal. If Gunn is “stoked,” we can be, too.
Why Adam Warlock Matters
Normally, MMM does not bother itself or its readers with unconfirmed rumors, but I am going to make a rare exception in this week’s countdown due to how massive the latest GOTG rumor is, and where it’s coming from. El Mayimbe of Latino-Review, the site that first broke the story of Bradley Cooper being offered the role of Rocket Raccoon, tweeted the following earlier this week:
As El Mayimbe noted, he has not been able to confirm this rumor, but based on the influence the Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning 2008 run on GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY clearly has on this production, it would not be surprising to see Adam Warlock in the film. When Benecio Del Toro was cast as an unknown character that would appear in multiple Marvel films, my first thought was Adam Warlock. Marvel later announced Del Toro is playing The Collector, but perhaps this is a smokescreen.
The presence of Adam Warlock in multiple films makes a lot of sense in the current and impending state of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Warlock was one of the central in characters in the Abnett/Lanning 25-issue GOTG run and he is also one of the main characters in a little story called THE INFINITY GAUNTLET, one of the signature Marvel events starring Thanos, whose presence in the MCU has already been established. Adding Warlock into the MCU mix is hardly essential, but such a move would fit.
Superhero films are no stranger to intentionally misidentified or merged roles in order to keep major plot points hidden. Ducard, played by Liam Neeson, was really Ra’s al Ghul in BATMAN BEGINS despite Ken Watanabe being announced for the latter role. According to a Warner Bros. press release, Marion Cotillard was set to play Miranda Tate before a slow twist of the knife showed audiences she was actually Talia in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. Just this year, the Mandarin (Sir Ben Kingsley) and Alrdich Killian (Guy Pearce) were not all they were announced to be in IRON MAN 3.
None of this is to say Del Toro’s role of The Collector is definitely an attempt at misdirection. Even if it is a smokescreen, Del Toro could really be another character instead of Adam Warlock, like Thanos. This is, however, a rumor worth keeping an eye on, so stay tuned.
Ass-Kickers Of The Fantastic!
Roughly 14 months ago, when Marvel first announced GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY as one of the studio’s Phase Two films in the MCU, my knowledge of the property was only just beyond an awareness of its existence. As Marvel’s announcement shed more light on the concept of GOTG, however, I knew closer examination was needed. The first gem I uncovered was Volume 1 of the aforementioned Abnett/Lanning run from 2008, “Legacy.”
Following back-to-back cosmic catastrophes in Marvel’s ANNIHILATION crossover event, Peter Quill, also known as Star-Lord, feels a more proactive approach to intergalactic heroics is needed. With the goal of finding and eliminating threats before they grow into universal tragedies, Quill forms an initially unnamed team of seemingly misfit superheroes, some of whom have checkered pasts. Essentially, they are the Bad News Bears version of The Avengers.
The concept of unique characters with different backgrounds and resulting perspectives coming together to form an unlikely team is hardly new, but the execution makes “Legacy” worthwhile. The dialogue is laugh-out-loud funny, a rarity in superhero comics. All of the humor is woven seamlessly into the epic adventures so as to provide comic relief without deflating the danger. It is a difficult balancing act that pays off in wonderfully entertaining ways.
As wacky as the characters may be, their interaction with one another remains on a very relatable level. They fight with each other because of their differences. They fight for each other because no one else will. None of this comes automatically, as breakdowns in communication constantly threaten the implosion of the team, but the characters learn, adapt, and try to get along. As “Legacy” comes to a close, however, a secret as to how the odds of this unlikely alliance forming were intentionally inflated may prove to be a deal-breaker.
This six-issue collection is available in print and digital trade, making it a relatively inexpensive way to check out GOTG before deciding whether or not to commit to the remainder of the run. Check it out. You’ll be glad you did, if for no other reason than helping this countdown make a lot more sense.
Be sure to check back here in two weeks for more GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY goodness! For now, here’s Drax treating Star-Lord to a viewing of RIDDICK.