UPDATED (AUG. 30, 2013): Marvel Studios has had a habit of occasionally casting out-of-the-box actors for its movies. Kat Dennings in Thor and Robert Redford in 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier aren’t the sort of actors one might expect to see in a comic book movie. Most famously, pre-Iron Man Robert Downey, Jr. was a quirky character actor with zero box office cred.
With Guardians of the Galaxy, however, co-writer-director James Gunn (Slither) has apparently been given carte blanche to cast his movie pretty much entirely with actors you would never expect to see in a modern comic book movie — or, at least, never in the way he’s cast them. With each new casting notice, this movie — which started production in July — just gets more and more koo-koo-brains exciting.
3. Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon
The latest addition to the cast would make a huge amount of sense as a superhero — just not this one. Cooper will lend his voice to play the genetically engineered talking raccoon who hails from a planet of the insane. Yup. Really. It’s glorious.
4. Vin Diesel as Groot, maybe
The Fast & Furious star has been dropping a lot of contradictory hints as to who in the Marvel universe he may be playing soon, and the latest is that he’s in talks to lend his unmistakable baritone to the tree creature Groot, one of the five main Guardians. Since all anyone usually can hear him say is “I am Groot,” it shouldn’t too taxing of a gig.
5. Chris Pratt as Star-Lord
He’s playing the lead role of Peter Quill, a.k.a Star-Lord, a.k.a. “a half-human, half-alien intergalactic sheriff whose special combat suit protects him in deep space as he draws his twin guns on evildoers,” according to Marvel’s official description. Hey, we know the guy can get ripped. Multiple times, in fact.
6. Zoe Saldana as Gamora
Saldana is probably the least out-of-place actor on this list — she’s already starring in two other huge sci-fi franchises: Star Trek and Avatar. Apparently, she wants to own Comic-Con for the foreseeable future.
Interesting fact: Saldana says she’ll be playing the green alien master assassin by wearing makeup, rather than relying on computerized performance capture.
7. Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer
A former WWE wrestler, Bautista’s nascent film career (that fantastic photo is from a screening of 2012’s The Man with the Iron Fists) got a major boost when he landed the role of Drax. He’ll likely have to bulk up in order to fill the role.
8. Benicio Del Toro as The Collector
When Del Toro was initially cast, the geekosphere hoped it was as Thanos — i.e. the menacing purple alien who appears at the very end of The Avengers and has a fetish for death.
Instead, he’s playing The Collector, a.k.a. Taneleer Tivan, “one of the oldest living beings in the universe,” as Marvel.com puts it, a being determined to great a vast archive of every living being in the universe — basically, the biggest hoarder ever.
9. Glenn Close as the head of Nova Corps
10. Michael Rooker as Yondu
It’s no real surprise that Rooker made it into Guardians given his long partnership with director James Gunn. But I thought he’d be playing Drax, the resurrected human-turned-green-warrior at the far left of the top image above. Instead, Rooker will play Yondu, who led the Guardians in their first comic book incarnation in 1969, but who in comic lore is actually from the future. (Got that?) And there are reports that in this incarnation, Yondu may also be some kind of villain? Well, it’s Rooker, so yeah, that makes sense.
11. Lee Pace as Ronan the Accuser
He’s an elf king in The Hobbit, and he’s playing the main villain in Guardians, a high ranking member of the Kree, a highly advanced and quite militaristic alien race.
Most know Pace from gone-before-their-time TV shows Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies. Or maybe Marmaduke.
12. Karen Gillan as Nebula
Gillan’s also not too out of place in the genre, given her recent stint on Doctor Who. She’s playing the (often) bald and ruthless pirate, so she cut off all her gorgeous red hair for the role. That is dedication!
13. John C. Reilly as Rhomann Dey
Wait, what? HitFix’s Drew McWeeny asserted that Dey will eventually serve as the liaison between S.H.I.E.L.D. on Earth and the Guardians in…the…galaxy. But in the comics, Rhomann Dey is a member of the Nova Corps. Maybe he’s both?
14. Djimon Hounsou as Korath the Pursuer
The Oscar nominee is another Kree who works with Korath, which I’m just going to go ahead and assume means he’ll be spending most of the movie looking like this, because when you have Vin Diesel playing a tree and Bradley Cooper playing a raccoon, why not?!