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Guardians of the Galaxy is an American science-fiction superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is intended to be the tenth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The film is directed by James Gunn, with the screenplay written by Nicole Perlman, Chris McCoy, and Gunn. The film stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Batista, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel as the eponymous heroes. Filming was scheduled to begin in June 2013 at Shepperton Studios in London, England. The film was released on August 1, 2014, and released in 3D and IMAX 3D.
In 1988 Missouri, a young boy named Peter Quill stands by his mother, Meredith, as she lies dying in a hospital bed. Close to death, Meredith describes to Peter his father and tries to give Peter a present she had saved for him. When Meredith finally dies, a distraught Peter flees from the hospital. In a field outside the vicinity, a spaceship suddenly appears and abducts Peter, where the occupants—the Ravagers, a group of space pirates led by Yondu Udonta—raise him as their own.
26 years later, Quill, now an adult, arrives at the planet Morag to collect a mysterious orb-like artifact to sell to a Xandarian merchant called the Broker. Although the entire Ravager crew was hired to procure it, Quill, bitter towards the Ravagers for abducting him and ruining his childhood, travels to Morag alone and steals the Orb for himself, only to be intercepted by Korath the Pursuer, a Kree subordinate to the fanatical Kree admiral, Ronan the Accuser. Although Quill escapes with the orb, Yondu discovers his theft and issues a bounty for his capture. Meanwhile, Ronan is revealed to be searching for the Orb as part of a deal with the galactic lord Thanos in exchange for the annihilation of Xandar. To aid in the hunt, Thanos has lent Ronan his two daughters, Gamora and Nebula. By tracking the Ravagers' brokers and past dealings, the group learns of Yondu's deal with the Broker and send Gamora to the Nova Corps homeworld Xandar to intercept Quill.
On Xandar, Quill attempts to sell the Orb to the Broker, but upon learning that Korath was working for Ronan, the Broker refuses to become involved with the Orb and turns Quill away. Suddenly, Quill is ambushed by Gamora, who takes the Orb and flees into the streets. A fight ensues, drawing in two bounty hunters: the genetically-engineered raccoon Rocket, and the humanoid tree Groot, who both seek to collect Yondu's bounty.
The Nova Corps arrive and arrest the group, imprisoning them in the Kyln. The prisoners, aware of Gamora's relationship with Ronan, threaten her life. A powerful inmate, Drax, attempts to kill Gamora for the murder of his wife and daughter, but Quill convinces him that he can get to Ronan through Gamora. Gamora reveals that she intended to betray Ronan and keep the Orb, having deemed him insane and a risk to galactic stability. Learning that Gamora has a buyer who is willing to pay a very hefty fee for the Orb, Rocket, Quill, Groot and Gamora work together to escape the Kyln.
Elsewhere, Ronan meets with the titan Thanos to discuss his daughter Gamora's betrayal and the loss of the orb. When the Other, Thanos' vizier, scolds Ronan for disrespecting the warlord, Ronan angrily breaks the Other's neck, killing him. Undaunted by Ronan's complaints, Thanos waves the Kree away, and while Gamora's betrayal is an issue, Thanos entrusts both Ronan and Nebula with fixing that problem.
Accompanied by Drax, Quill's group escapes the Kyln in his ship—the Milano—and flee to Knowhere, a remote criminal outpost in space built in the giant severed-head of a celestial. A drunken Drax summons Ronan, while the rest of the group meet Gamora's contact, Taneleer Tivan. Tivan opens the orb, revealing an Infinity Stone, an item of immeasurable power that destroys all but the most powerful beings who wield it. Tivan prepares the give the outlaws their payment but Tivan's tormented assistant Carina grabs the Stone, triggering an explosion that engulfs the museum.
Gamora, finally understanding the full extent of the danger the Orb holds, attempts to convince the others to hand it over to the Nova Corps for protection, when Ronan and his forces suddenly arrive. While Drax battles Ronan (who easily defeats Drax), the others flee by ship and are pursued by Ronan's minions, led by Nebula. Nebula destroys Gamora's ship, leaving her floating in space while Ronan's forces leave with the Orb. To save her life, Quill contacts Yondu before following Gamora into space, giving her his helmet to survive; Yondu arrives and retrieves the pair before they succumb to exposure. Groot convinces Rocket and Drax to rescue Quill and Gamora, and the three attack Yondu's ship to recover their friends, but Quill negotiates a truce by convincing Yondu that they can recover the orb. The group agrees that facing Ronan means certain death, but that they must stop him from using the Infinity Stone to destroy the galaxy. On Ronan's ship, the Dark Aster, Ronan embeds the Stone in his warhammer, taking its power for himself. He contacts Thanos and defies their deal, threatening to kill him after the destruction of Xandar; hateful of her adopted father, Nebula allies with Ronan.
Quil's group and the Ravagers send a message to Rhomann Dey, a Nova Corps officer and old friend of Quill's, warning him of Ronan's attack. When the Dark Aster arrives at Xandar, Quill's group, the Ravagers, and a Nova Corps fleet arrive and confront the Dark Aster. While Rocket assists the Nova Corps fleet, the rest of Quill's team breach the Aster and move towards Ronan. Gamora battles Nebula (who escapes) while Quill, Drax, and Groot battle and kill Korath and the crew. Ronan uses his empowered warhammer to destroy the Nova Corps fleet, and easily overpowers Quill's team. Right as he gloats before he can kill the team, Rocket flies the Milano into the Aster and into Ronan, seemingly killing him. The damage causes the Dark Aster to crash land on Xandar, with Groot sacrificing himself to shield the group. Quill's team survive the crash, but Ronan, unscathed by the crash, emerges from the wreck and prepares to destroy Xander. Quill suddenly starts dancing to distract Ronan long enough for Drax to destroy the Kree's hammer with Rocket's Hadron Enforcer. The Infinity Stone flies from the hammer, and Quill grabs it, but its power begins to destroy him until he joins hands with Gamora, Drax, and Rocket, who share its burden. The four then direct the stone's power towards Ronan, destroying Ronan for good.
In the aftermath, Gamora then places the stone in a makeshift orb, and Yondu takes it as part of their deal. Yondu and the Ravagers then leave Xandar, commenting that they made a wise choice in not delivering Quill to his father. Once they have left, Quill reveals that he had switched the containers. Quill's group, now calling themselves the "Guardians of the Galaxy" after a mockery created by Ronan, are praised by the Nova-Prime, Irani Rael, who expunges their criminal histories. She reveals to Quill that, based on medical reports, they have deciphered that he is only half-human, his father being part of an ancient, unknown species. Quill finally opens the last present he received from his mother; a cassette tape filled with a continuation of her favorite songs. The Guardians then leave Xandar in the Milano, which was repaired by the Nova Corps, and venture out into the galaxy in search of adventure, accompanied by a recovered twig from Groot, which is already beginning to regrow.
- Chris Pratt as Peter Quill / Star-Lord: The leader of the Guardians who left Earth in the year 1988. Describing his character, Pratt said, "He had a hard time as a kid, and now he goes around space, making out with hot alien girls and just being a rogue and a bit of a jerk, and through teaming up with these guys, finds a higher purpose for himself."
- Zoe Saldana as Gamora: The adopted daughter of Thanos and an associate of Ronan, Nebula and Korath who tries to find a new path for herself. Saldana said that she would become Gamora through make-up rather than CGI or performance capture. On taking the role, Saldana said, "I was just excited to be asked to join by James Gunn and to also play someone green. I've been blue before [in Avatar]."
- Dave Batista as Drax the Destroyer: A warrior in search of vengeance against Ronan. "There’s a point where I go to set every day and I still can’t freaking believe I got this job,” said Bautista. “It’s something that I wanted more than anything I ever wanted in my life. When I got it, I broke down and cried like a little baby."
- Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon: A genetically engineered raccoon who is an expert marksman and master tactician. Gunn worked with live raccoons to get the correct feel for the character and to make sure the CGI raccoon used was "not a cartoon character," saying "it's not Bugs Bunny in the middle of The Avengers, it’s a real, little, somewhat mangled beast that’s alone. There’s no one else in the universe quite like him, he’s been created by these guys to be a mean-ass fighting machine." Cooper will voice Rocket Raccoon, while Sean Gunn was the stand-in for the CGI character during filming.
- Vin Diesel as Groot: A hyper-intelligent tree-like creature that can absorb wood to gain strength and recover from injuries as well as control trees. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Diesel stated that he was originally in talks to star in a new Phase Three Marvel film, but after hearing fan reaction at Comic-Con, Marvel presented him with the opportunity to portray Groot. The character will be voiced and motion captured by Diesel himself.
- Lee Pace as Ronan the Accuser: Thanos' admiral who hunts down the Guardians. Pace originally auditioned for Star-Lord. On the character, Pace said, "He’s a psycho...a real monster.[sic] I’ve had the best time playing this character."
- Michael Rooker as Yondu: The blue-skinned leader of the Ravagers with an intuitive "sixth sense" perception.
- Karen Gillan as Nebula: An employee of Thanos who "has an interesting and complex relationship with Gamora". Describing her character, Gillan said, "She is the female villain of the film. She teams up with Lee Pace who is the male villain. She is very sadistic and evil, but I like to think for a very valid reason." Gillan shaved off her hair for the role.
- Djimon Hounsou as Korath: An ally to Ronan and Thanos. Hounsou took the role because of his son, stating "I wanna begin saying a story about my son. I have a four-year old son who loves superheroes from Spider-Man to Iron Man to Batman. He’s got all the costumes. One day he looks at me and says ‘Dad, I want to be light-skinned so I could be Spider-Man. Spider-Man has light skin.’ That was sort of a shock. This is why I am excited to be a part of the Marvel Universe, so I could be hopefully provide that diversity in the role of the superhero."
- Benicio del Toro as Taneleer Tivan / The Collector: A powerful member of the Elders of the Universe. Describing del Toro's performance, Gunn said, "...he's like an outer-space Liberace. That's what it says in the script, which he's kind of doing. He really came in prepared and doing something utterly unique, and he's mesmerizing the whole time he's in the movie."
- John C. Reilly as Rhomann Dey: A member of Nova Corps, and an acquintance of Star-Lord.
- Glenn Close as Commander Rael: The leader of Nova Corps.
- Ophelia Lovibond as Carina: A red female Krylorian who helps the Collector.
- Josh Brolin as Thanos: A powerful cosmic being who is on a mad quest to find all six Infinity Stones so he can use the Infinity Gauntlet to conquer the universe.
- Alexis Denisof as The Other: an elder god that serves Thanos and aids him in his quest to find the Infinity Stones.
- Peter Serafinowicz as Denarian Saal: A member of the Nova Corps.
- Seth Green as Howard the Duck.
Laura Haddock, Gregg Henry, Stephen Blackehart, Sean Gunn, Marama Corlett, Alexis Rodney, Melia Kreiling, and Spencer Wilding have been cast in unspecified supporting roles. Director James Gunn stated that Sean Gunn's role will be an "integral" part of the film. Lloyd Kaufman will have a cameo in the film.
|"I think anybody -- I don't care how devoted a Star-Lord or Rocket Raccoon fan you were even two years ago -- who would have said that this would make a great main movie would have been laughed off. It's such an unlikely thing to do. So I think it's lovely to work on something and expose its potential to the point where a company like Marvel will say, 'Yes, this makes sense.'"|
——Dan Abnett, co-writer of the 2008 Guardians of the Galaxy relaunch, on the project
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige first mentioned Guardians of the Galaxy as a potential film during an interview at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International, stating, "There are some obscure titles, too, like Guardians of the Galaxy. I think they've been revamped recently in a fun way in the book." In a September 2011 issue of Entertainment Weekly, Feige reiterated that sentiment, going on to say, "There's an opportunity to do a big space epic, which Thor sort of hints at, in the cosmic side of the [Marvel] universe."
In June 2012 Marvel filed eleven trademark applications for Guardians of the Galaxy, covering a variety of consumer products, from video games to cosmetics. This was shortly followed by rumors that the film had been greenlit, and would involve the supervillain Thanos as a potential lead-in to an Avengers sequel. Variety chimed in, stating that a script for the film, which the studio was high on, had been written by Nicole Perlman.
The film was officially announced as being in active development at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con International Marvel Studios panel by Feige, with an intended release date of August 1, 2014. He stated that the film's titular team would consist of the characters Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Groot, and Rocket Raccoon; while two pieces of concept art were displayed, one of Rocket Raccoon, and one featuring the full team. In August 2012 Marvel Studios hired writer Chris McCoy to rewrite Perlman's script.
Later that month James Gunn entered talks to direct the film, beating out other contenders, including Peyton Reed and the duo Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden. The Avengers director Joss Whedon, who signed a deal to creatively consult on all of the films leading into The Avengers sequel, including Guardians of the Galaxy, was enthusiastic about the selection of Gunn to direct, saying "James [Gunn] is what makes me think it will work... He is so off the wall, and so crazy, but so smart, such a craftsman and he builds from his heart. He loves the raccoon. Needs the raccoon... He has a very twisted take on it, but it all comes from a real love for the material. It's going to be hard for [the human characters] to keep up."
On September 18, 2012, Gunn confirmed in a post on his official Facebook page that he had signed on to direct the film and rewrite the script. In November, it was reported that Joel Edgerton, Jack Huston, Jim Sturgess, Lee Pace and Eddie Redmayne signed deals to test for the role of Peter Quill / Star-Lord. A week later Pace confirmed that he was auditioning for the role. Other actors who were reportedly considered for the role including Thor: The Dark World's Zachary Levi, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Michael Rosenbaum. In February 2013, Chris Pratt was cast in the role.
In January 2013, it was reported that filming would take place at Shepperton Studios in London, England, and Marvel Studios announced that the film would be released in 3D. Victoria Alonso, an executive producer on the film, said that filming would begin in June. She also said that both Rocket Raccoon and Groot would be created through a combination of CGI and motion capture, going on to say that "You can’t do any motion capture with a raccoon – they won’t let you put the suit on [laughs]. But we will do rotomation, probably, for some of the behavior... we definitely will have performers to emulate what James Gunn will lead to be, the behavior and the performance. He’s very clear on where he wants to take the characters."
In an interview published in a March 2013 issue of SFX, Kevin Feige discussed Guardians of the Galaxy in relation to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. "It’s much more of a standalone film," said Feige. "It takes place in the same universe. And when we’ve been on the other side of that universe in other movies, you might see those characteristics in Guardians, but the Avengers are not involved with what’s happening out there at this time." Feige also stated that 95% of the film would take place in space. In mid-March, Dave Bautista was signed to play Drax the Destroyer. Other actors who had been considered for the role included Isaiah Mustafa, Brian Patrick Wade and Jason Momoa. A week later it was reported that sculptor Brian Muir, who sculpted Darth Vader's mask for the Star Wars films, was working on the film.
In April 2013, Zoe Saldana entered into negotiations to star as Gamora in the film. A few weeks later, Michael Rooker joined the film's cast, as Yondu. Later in the month, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Saldana would star in the film, and reported that Ophelia Lovibond had been cast in a supporting role. The next day, it was reported that Lee Pace was in final negotiations to play the villain of the film. In May, HitFix reported that Marvel had offered John C. Reilly the role of Rhomann Dey, a character who the site described as a "human agent who serves as a go-between, keeping the Guardians in line and reporting to S.H.I.E.L.D. about their activities."
The site also reported that the filmmakers were looking at actors, including Hugh Laurie, Alan Rickman, and Ken Watanabe, for another role, and that Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely were polishing the script. A few days later, Glenn Close was cast as the head of the Nova Corps in the film, followed shortly after by the casting of Karen Gillan as the film's lead female villain. In June 2013, it was reported that Benicio del Toro was cast in the film. Later in the month, Deadline.com confirmed that Reilly had been cast as Rhomann Dey.
Filming began on July 6, 2013 under the supposed working title of "Full Tilt". On July 20, 2013, James Gunn and the film's cast flew from London to attend the San Diego Comic-Con International, where it was revealed that Lee Pace would play Ronan the Accuser, Karen Gillan would be Nebula, Benicio del Toro as The Collector, and that Djimon Hounsou had been cast as Korath the Pursuer. It was later revealed that Glenn Close would play Nova Prime. Also at San Diego Comic-Con, Kevin Feige stated that Thanos would be a part of the film as the "mastermind". On August 11 2013, filming began at London's Millennium Bridge. On the same day, Deadline.com reported that Vin Diesel is in talks to voice Groot, after being approached in early July by Marvel for a role in one of their films.
On August 22, 2013, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Marvel Studios is in talks with Bradley Cooper to voice Rocket Raccoon. On August 27, 2013, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Diesel stated that he was originally in talks to star in a new Phase 3 Marvel film, but after hearing fan reaction at Comic-Con, Marvel presented him with the opportunity to voice Groot, as well as provide the motion capture for the character. On August 30, 2013, Marvel officially confirmed Cooper as the voice of Rocket Raccoon. On September 3, Gunn tweeted that 66.3% of filming has been completed. On September 5, 2013, Diesel confirmed in a interview with Maria Menounos on her YouTube channel that he's voicing Groot.
In November 2013, Gunn stated that he attempted to use as many practical effects as possible when filming to aid in the use of CGI, saying, "Our sets are enormous. We have a prison that is 350,000 pounds of steel. Anybody who knows me knows I love the mix of practical and CGI effects... I can't wait for people to see it, because it's astonishingly beautiful." After it was revealed in Thor: The Dark World that the Tesseract and Aether were Infinity Stones, Feige stated that the Stones would be a focus in the film, as well as going forward into Phase Three. In a separate interview for The Dark World, Feige added that a third, unknown Infinity Stone would be revealed in the film.
In August 2013, Gunn posted on this Facebook page that Tyler Bates would be composing the film's score. Gunn stated that Bates will write some of the score first so that he can film to the music, opposed to scoring to the film.
In July 2013, producer Kevin Feige, director James Gunn, and cast members Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker, Dave Bautista, Benicio Del Toro, Lee Pace and Djimon Hounsou held a panel at 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International and presented footage from the film.
In August, Feige presented the same footage at Disney's D23 Expo. Also in August, Disney partnered with Mad Engine, C-Life and New Era to produce merchandise for the film. Mad Engine and C-Life were partnered as the core apparel outfitters, producing a line of t-shirts and fleece jackets, while New Era will produce headwear and hats. The companies were joined by Hasbro, Disguise, and Sideshow Collectibles, who will produce toys, costumes and collectibles for the film.
- Rocket Raccoon: Why would you want you save "the galaxy"?
- Star-Lord: BECAUSE I'M ONE OF THE IDIOTS WHO LIVES IN IT!
In May 2014, Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, noted the potential of making Guardians of the Galaxy into a franchise, saying, "We’re looking forward to introducing the world to more fantastic Marvel storytelling, with a great cast of new characters in Guardians of the Galaxy, which we screened last week and we believe it has strong franchise potential." He added, "I'm not going to predict that we've got another Avengers on our hands, but that's certainly the goal." Later in the month, Gunn revealed that, should a sequel film be made, he would like to return, in addition to being contractually obligated if asked. In June 2014, Feige added, "should this film work, should the audience come out for this one, there are definitely places we can take [the franchise] and we have ideas of where we'd like to go with it," due to the wide array of characters, worlds and story lines from Guardians comics.
In July 2014, co-screenwriter Nicole Perlman confirmed a sequel, saying it was "going to happen" due to the positive response, and confirmed that Gunn would write and direct. At San Diego Comic-Con 2014, a sequel was confirmed to be in development, with a release date of July 28, 2017. Also in July, Gunn said he knew "a lot of where I want to go [in the sequel]. I have a lot of ideas for stories and characters that are going to appear, and there are documents written up." Gunn added he hoped to explore more about Quill's father, Yondu, Drax and Nebula, as well as expand on Xandarian, Kree, Krylorian and the Ravager culture. Gunn also said he was exploring a potential crossover with the Avengers, saying, "We talked about all sorts of possibilities [for a crossover] and I kind of know what the basic plan is. It could always change at any minute. That could or could not include a couple of Avengers and a couple of Guardians meeting up, or all of the Avengers and all of the Guardians. But, we do inhabit the same universe and they’re pretty big personalities that are likely to, at some point or another, run into each other." In August, Gunn stated that "at least one more Guardian from the comics" should appear in the sequel, and revealed that he had started working on the film. Gunn stated later in the month that Quill's father would not be J'son of Spartax as in the comics. On October 28, 2014, Marvel announced that the sequel's release date had been moved up to May 5, 2017.
- It is the first non-Avengers Marvel property developed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.
- Although the Guardians of the Galaxy were created way back in 1969 by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan, the movie is primarily focused on the 2008 reinvention of the team by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. However, the film features Yondu, a member of the original 1969 team.
- Joel Edgerton, Glenn Howerton, Eddie Redmayne, Jensen Ackles, Lee Pace, Wes Bentley, Jack Huston, Cam Gigandet, Sullivan Stapleton, Logan Marshall-Green, Garrett Hedlund, Chris Lowell, James Marsden, Jim Sturgess, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Aaron Paul, Michael Rosenbaum and John Krasinski auditioned and/or screen tested for the role of Peter Quill / Star-Lord. Pace was cast as Ronan the Accuser.
- Olivia Wilde turned down the role of Gamora, while Gina Carano, Rachel Nichols and Adrianne Palicki auditioned before the role went to Zoe Saldana.
- According to producer Victoria Alonso, Rocket Raccoon and Groot were created through a mix of motion-capture and rotomation VFX.
- Iron Man was planned to have a cameo role in this film (in homage to his being the Guardians' latest member in the comics), but this was scrapped when Robert Downey Jr. said he may not reprise his role as Tony Stark in any non-Avengers film. Despite this, he is playable in the Disney Infinity playset once you collect 10 tokens of him.
- According to the filmmakers, Rocket Raccoon in this film is a unique product of experimentation: "He's a little animal that was taken and experimented on and pulled apart and put back together again and implanted with cybernetics and he's half-machine and half-raccoon. And he's a gnarled, miserable, angry creature because there's nothing else like him. And that's something not easy to be."
- Director James Gunn cites "Iron Man" as an influence on the film: "we are starting Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is Marvel Cosmic. And we're doing exactly what they did with the first Iron Man film."
- When attending the 18th Nantucket Film Festival, Glenn Close stated that she only agreed to star in the film since "it will then afford me to go do the other kind of movies that I really love". However, she followed it up by saying; "And hopefully I will have a great time. It'll be a new experience for me, but practically speaking it will mean that I can do those smaller movies and it'll be okay."
- Regarding the villains, Kevin Feige stated that Ronan the Accuser is intended to be the main villain of the film yet Thanos is lurking above it all.
- Adam Sandler, David Tennant, Sharlto Copley, Jim Carrey and H. Jon Benjamin were amongst the actors considered to voice Rocket Raccoon.
- When Karen Gillan was announced to star in the film, It was initially rumored that was she was going to play Angela, a sword wielding bounty hunter from the "Guardians of the Galaxy" comic books.
- All characters are new in the cinematic universe, except for Thanos and The Collector, both of whom first appeared making cameos in The Avengers and Thor: The Dark World, respectively.
- This is the first apparence of Howard the Duck in a feature film since his cult classic 1986 film.
- At the very end of the film, as Quill's ship is taking off, you can see three suns in the distance; looking very much like silhouette of Mickey Mouse's head.
- This is the currently the highest-grossing film of 2014 in the US, with over $319 million, having passed fellow Marvel film Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Warner Brothers' The Lego Movie within a couple days of each other.
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