It's getting hard to keep my inner Marvel fanboy separate from my cool, hunky, James Dean-esque public persona. That's because Marvel Studios keeps doing things that make me want to go "AAAAAAAH!!!!!" and do a little dance.
The latest? According to Latino Review, masters of the Marvel scoop, the studio will announce a Guardians of the Galaxy movie at Comic Con this year. The film will hit in 2014, will feature Thanos as the villain and will lead directly into The Avengers 2: Their First Assignment.
Why is this exciting? Because this is where Marvel tries something really big. Something Green Lantern tried to do and failed - a big space opera story within superhero conventions. When I talked to Kevin Feige at the junket for The Avengers this summer he said that he felt the time was right to go cosmic, that there was a generation who was in charge whose movie love was tied into big space epics. This is Marvel staking their claim in that area.
The Guardians of the Galaxy are an interesting C-level group in the Marvel Universe. They are originally from the future; astronaut Vance Astro is the first human to head to Alpha Centauri, but when he wakes from his cryosleep (the trip takes a thousand years) he discovered humanity had beaten him, having invented faster than light travel two hundred years earlier. He also discovers an alien threat called the Badoon has been conquering and wiping out star systems. He teams up with a bunch of aliens who are the last of their respective races and battles the Badoon; along the way he discovers he has telekinetic powers and, for good measure finds Captain America's shield.
That's one version of the Guardians, who live in a technically alternate future Earth (called Earth 619). In the present Marvel Universe (Earth 616) there is Guardians of the Galaxy, inspired by the future Guardians (time hopping happens) and made up of many of the cosmic heavy hitters of the current Marvel roster.
According to Latino Review the movie will have the future Guardians traveling back to our time. They don't know the line-up of characters, but at the junket Feige told me to expect a mix of old and new characters. I'd almost guarantee Vance Astro, aka Major Victory, shows up - I think the idea of Captain America learning his legacy exists a thousand years in the future is too good to pass up. Feige all but confirmed that Rocket Raccoon (a space-faring raccoon inspired by a Beatles song) will be on the team, as will Groot, a weird extraterrestrial tree guy. At the very least he mentioned them as the characters that will be the most fun to introduce to audiences.
As for the rest of the team? Who knows. Drax the Destroyer is a character with a big hate-on for Thanos, so he makes sense. Adam Warlock was also a modern day Guardian, and he's a key player in the Infinity Gauntlet story, which seems to be all but certainly the foundation for The Avengers 2. Moondragon is a hot bald woman who would be visually interesting and is a classic character from the 70s Marvel U. Starhawk, a semi-omniscient godlike alien might be a good, weird choice. Click here for a full rundown of all the previous Guardians members.