Update: Confirmation comes today that James Gunn will indeed be directing the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film for Marvel Studios. This news comes a full month after negotiations began to get the Slither helmer behind-the-camera on this project and just a week after Avengers universe EP Joss Whedon told MTV that getting Gunn behind the camera was a good decision. In other words, this was largely expected to be a done deal and today’s news is not exactly a shock to anyone other than the fact that it needed to be said. If you were interested in the seldom-known director’s work, check out my Slither review from last month.
Original 8/18/12: And now every single Marvel Studios film in-development now has a director. Reports have surfaced today that the group behind The Avengers and its respective properties is in heavy negotiations exclusively with James Gunn to direct Guardians of the Galaxy. The man behind the camera has previous works that include the well-received Slither and the low-budget Super. While the latter is an actual turn on the genre, Slither deals with some zany alien elements that might be what landed Gunn this gig (working with Joss Whedon pal Nathan Fillion on the project certainly did not hurt either.)
This news follows the revelation earlier in the month that the film was set to undergo rewrites from black list scribe Chris McCoy. There should not be much of a worry in this regard though as the film is not set to come out for another two years, so filming does not have to take place until next summer. What this means is that the project probably has a set framework that Marvel is working with, but the specifics are not all fleshed out at this time.
Thanos is presumably going to play a key role in the franchise launcher as Guardians of the Galaxy will seek to introduce the villain for The Avengers sequel prior to its release the following May. Also, an allegedly leaked logline for the project says that the superhero group interacts with a U.S. pilot who ends up in the middle of space. A bit reminiscent of Green Lantern, but since Joss Whedon has some creative control over this effort expect it to not be nearly as mediocre.
If that comparison was not enough, the central characters are unique races which we certainly saw a lot of in the Ryan Reynolds-led blockbuster. More specifically, the cast list will include a giant tree-man, a human/alien hybrid, a genetically engineered racoon, and a green warrior. None of these roles have been cast yet.
Guardians of the Galaxy is set for a theatrical release on August 1, 2014. At that point, audiences will have seen three sequels from Marvel Studios between now and then. The first comes in May 2013 via Iron Man 3 with the other two (Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier) bowing in November 2013 and April 2014 respectively.