Marvel-in-Space: Who Are the Guardians of the Galaxy?
02.26.14 by BJSprecher
"Ooga-Chaka, Ooga-Ooga Ooga-Chaka."
It's been smooth sailing for Marvel Studios as it cruises through "Phase 2" of its grand scheme to perpetually dominate the global box office. Admittedly, the post-Avengers line-up of movies is pretty safe, dedicated primarily to the solo adventures of old friends in Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. But, Marvel's also taking a gamble that audiences will embrace the new kids on the block, the rag-tag team of interstellar heroes at the heart of Guardians of the Galaxy, despite the characters having no direct connection to The Avengers.
Many are already predicting that Guardians will be Marvel's first flop, but people have been predicting Marvel's doom for years and the studio keeps on defying expectations. Now that the hilarious, outrageous first trailer for the movie has been released, we're pretty confident that fans are going to be lining up to see what other subversive hijinks director James Gunn has in store for Marvel's newbies. The trailer has been so popular, in fact, that downloads of the track "Hooked on a Feeling" by Blue Swede saw a 700% boost in sales after its release. Gunn was even prompted to release a new movie poster, this one written completely in "Ooga-Chaka!" But, just who are these surly, slacker-ish, space-faring heroes, you ask? Read on, true believers, and all will be revealed.
In addition to being the most 'sci-fi' movie that Marvel has produced to date, Guardians of the Galaxy is also the first movie without a well-established publication history. Sure, the Guardians of the Galaxy have been around since 1969, but the team that debuted in Marvel Super Heroes #18 is a completely different line-up of characters from a future, alternate timeline. This version bopped around the Marvel Universe for more than 25 years, but they never really caught on and disappeared from comic shop shelves altogether for more than a decade. When the Guardians finally returned in 2008, they had a whole new roster and their exploits took place in the modern day. It's this second version that Gunn mined for his Guardians of the Galaxy movie.
First appearing in comic books in 1976, Rocket was originally an anthropomorphic racoon ranger from a planet filled with talking animals. The movie Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) is a "cybernetic/genetic experiment on a lower life form" with a bad attitude, a penchant for theft, and a plant for a bodyguard (see Groot).
Originally depicted as an alien invader seeking to capture and experiment on humans in Tales to Astonish vol. 1 #13 (Nov. 1960), the Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) in the movie is an indestructible monster with a heart of gold. Gunn describes Groot as "a hundred percent deadly and a hundred percent sweet." Groot can only say, "I am Groot!"
Drax "the Destroyer" first debuted in the pages of Iron Man
#55 (Feb. 1973) as a human spirit in possession of a powerful hulking body with the sole desire to exact revenge upon Thanos (yep, that smiling purple dude from the very end of The Avengers
) for killing his family. The movie Drax has shed his connection to Earth (and some of his restraint, apparently), but retains his Hulk-like strength and likely his hatred of Thanos, as well. Oh, and he likes knives.
The "most dangerous woman in the Universe" first appeared in Strange Tales #180 (June 1975). The last member of her species, the super-strong, super-agile Gamora was adopted by Thanos (yep, ol' purple mug again) and trained to be an assassin. Likewise, the movie Gamora (Zoe Saldana) is the last of her race, the Zenwhoberi, but any connection to Thanos is only speculation at this point.
Peter Quill, son of a human mother and an alien father, assumed the mantle of Star-Lord, interplanetary policeman, in the pages of Marvel Preview #4 (Jan. 1976). He would eventually gain cybernetic implants that enhanced his senses and memory, but the most recent incarnation of the character has no powers of his own. The movie Quill (Chris Pratt) left Earth as a child, hence his strong attachment to his Walkman and his Blue Swede tape, but it's unclear whether he has alien blood or not.
An action-packed epic space adventure, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits — Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Peter discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand — with the galaxy’s fate in the balance.