Now that Marvel has formally announced a Guardians of the Galaxy movie for 2014 we get our first glimpse at new characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). With every other formally announced phase 2 movie being sequels (I’m excluding Ant-Man, as he doesn’t have specified date yet) it's time we get to see something new. The below image was officially released concept art during the Marvel Panel at San Diego Comic Con.
If you don’t know who the Guardians of the Galaxy are, go here for a character overview. With the inclusion of Thanos at the end of The Avengers it’s clear Marvel wants to pursue the Infinity Gauntlet story arc. In order to get even closer to the magnitude and urgency of that story arc you need more than just The Avengers to take on the mad titan. Since Marvel doesn’t own all its characters (i.e. - Spider-man, X-Men, Fantastic Four, etc.) it needs to place as many characters up against Thanos as possible. Having the mad titan take on six Avengers and lose is rather insulting to the original character, in my opinion. Having at least two teams working together makes more sense. I still think that we need to wait until The Avengers 3 before having an all out war with Thanos. With each passing movie there is a matter of escalation and once you battle Thanos for the Infinity Gauntlet there isn’t many arcs bigger, so you better save him. So how do you introduce another team of heroes without spending time giving Groot or Drax the Destroyer their own movies?
So we will need to tweak some details when it comes to why the team joined together. In the comics, after stopping an invasion by a group of aliens called the Phalanx, Star-Lord decides that he should put together a team to be proactive in preventing this sort of thing in the future. While Marvel could go with that storyline they would be making too much work for themselves. They would need to explain who the Phalanx are and also the Kree. That is way too much to try and get through while still developing the characters of the core team, and somehow tying them to Thanos for a future conflict. A better way is to have the team join up because of Thanos himself.
Starting off with giving a few minutes to each team member is the best way to pull this off. I would start with Star-Lord, and introduce him in the middle of some fight. This doesn’t need to be some intergalactic mega-war, but rather something small that shows off his skill set and teases the audience about how much of a badass he is. Frankly, Star-Lord is the leader so he will need to be given some real time to shine. Any good light comic book movie needs a comedic element, and Rocket Raccoon and Groot are it. Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon are very close friends so building that relationship should be simple. A straight laced gun-toting badass and a wisecracking anthropomorphized raccoon, who loves giant guns, should be an easy sell. Put Star-Lord in a predicament that he can’t get out of easily by himself and bring in Rocket Raccoon and Groot to save the day. That’s three down, two to go. Gamora is up next, she is the only female on the team and she has even been called “the deadliest woman in the universe.” Her involvement helps to squash the issues with a sausage party scenario. In order to get her to join the team in the comics, Gamora gets captured and basically becomes a part of a hive mind. Once she is saved from that existence she still desires to be apart of something and joins the Guardians. While I think that could actually work here, it leaves a lot of her history out. If we gave her some more grounded moments about being incomplete (think 7 of 9 from Star Trek Voyager) then she could be a great addition as far as personalities dynamics. Last but certainly not least, there is Drax the Destroyer. He only has one purpose and that is to kill Thanos. He even has the ability to track the mad titan across massive distances. Drax doesn’t really have much of a personality just anger when it comes to Thanos’s existence. He can basically play the big silent type. Just give him something to punch, stab, and/or shoot. You can have him battle with Star-Lord when he gets in his way to getting to Thanos. Just a minor intergalactic misunderstanding.
After the team is formed for the most part in the first 45 minutes, we can then get to the large action moments. If Thanos is the reason the team gets together than he is going to need a middleman (or middle men) to take on the team. He will be to busy working on getting the Infinity Gauntlet to deal with these guys. Since we want to save Thanos for the third Avengers movie we can have the Guardians take on the Phalanx which could help to illustrate Gamora’s story better and give homage to their comic book origins. A new cybernetic alien race would help to open up the cosmic side of the universe even more and would make for a great villain for the Guardians. You could have an all out war with the Phalanx. Space wars plus a ragtag team of badasses...yes please. If you are going to do cosmic than you need to show a real epic scope in this space opera like setting. I think a multi-ship space battle would be cool to see. It could feel very Star Trek or Serenity-esque. Frankly, Serenity might be the best type of format to use in this movie.
So there is my idea for getting this complicated team together. This will undoubtedly be Marvel Studios hardest job. While Avengers was an insane task, Guardians of the Galaxy takes the audience out of its comfort zone and really pushes the envelope. Its got a talking tree for goodness sake! I think the guys over at Marvel have earned enough trust from audiences to go to the limit on this and it might just be the next big thing.