We always suspected that Michael Rooker would show up in James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy. The two have been friends for years, and Gunn gave Rooker a great role in Slither. I sort of thought he might be the voice of Rocket Raccoon, the diminutive mammalian member of the outer space team. I never imagined he'd be Yondu.
For one thing, Yondu wasn't in the concept art shown by Marvel in the past. That concept art included characters from the new, modern day version of Guardians of the Galaxy, not characters from the original 70s and 80s incarnation. And Yondu was a major player in that team.
The original Guardians were a space-faring team in the 31st century. American astronaut Vance Astro was sent to Centauri IV in cryosleep to explore; when he awoke he discovered humanity had gained faster than light technology and had beaten him to the stars. Centuari IV, home to the Zoatan tribe, had already been colonized. Vance met Yondu, a young hunter, and they struck up a friendship. Later the alien Badoon showed up and wiped out most life on Centauri IV; Vance and Yondu survived, and together with survivors of Badoon attacks on other worlds created the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Yondu didn't have any powers except his native abilities. He was the spiritual member of the group - he's totally a Space Indian, almost like the Na'vi. He's even the same color. He's not the Rooker-iest character in Guardians lore, and he's also from a thousand years in the future, so I'm not quite sure how this is going to tie into the modern-day Guardians. How big is Yondu's role? Will Rooker be in make-up or is Yondu CG?
The fact that Yondu is in the film excites me. I really wanted Vance Astro to be the leader of the Guardians (he eventually inherited Captain America's shield, which was cool), and the future Guardians were always 'my' team. There are so many strange and broad ideas in the larger Guardians lore that Gunn seems to be able to cherry pick all sorts of weird concepts.
This could be the single oddest mainstream 'superhero' movie yet. How exciting is that?