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One of the most surprising things about the evidently heated battle to see who is going to end up starring in Marvel's upcoming "Guardians Of The Galaxy" film is that there is a heated battle to see who is going to star in "Guardians Of The Galaxy."
James Gunn is directing the film, which is perhaps the riskiest of all the Marvel movies coming in the near future. At this point, I trust Marvel's development process, and I suspect this will fit neatly into the cinematic universe they've been building since 2008. When they were getting ready to launch "Iron Man," I remember seeing many outlets write about how it was unlikely Marvel was going to be able to sell a second-tier lesser-known hero like Iron Man to the general public, and I heard the same hesitations before the release of "Thor." Didn't really seem to pan out that way, though, and at this point, I think Marvel's name is enough of a stamp of quality for movie audiences that they can launch pretty much anything.
"Guardians Of The Galaxy" will definitely put that theory to the test. While I'm curious to see how it plays as a movie, this is the most obscure title they've put together as a film so far, and it's going to need one hell of a trailer, and it wouldn't hurt to throw a few movie stars into the mix. Peter Quill is the lead in the picture, also known as Star Lord, and the last few weeks has seen a flurry of rumors about who might end up suiting up and playing the part. So far, we've heard Joel Edgerton, Jack Huston, Jim Sturgess, Lee Pace, and Eddie Redmayne all mentioned, with Zachary Levi also rumored at one point. I'm not sure how that would work, though, since Levi stepped in to replace Josh Dallas for "Thor: The Dark World." It was strange enough when Marvel got Johnny Storm to play Captain America, but at least there's a hard line between the Fox Marvel movies and the films that Marvel is making and releasing themselves. In this case, characters from "Thor" are going to end up interacting with characters from "Guardians Of The Galaxy," so it seems like it would be very difficult to have one actor playing major roles in both films.
According to Deadline, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has now been added to the list of possible Peter Quills. I saw at least one site today say, "So I guess that proves that the 'Justice League' rumor is completely false!" and I'm not really sure I follow their logic. Gordon-Levitt is rapidly becoming a first choice for filmmakers, a guy who has proven himself repeatedly, a charismatic lead who has been able to work in both big-scale blockbusters and intimate indie films, and if Marvel wants to send him to deep space, that doesn't change Warner's plans for "Justice League" at all. Beyond that, if anyone has a first claim on him, it's Warner. When we reported on their interest in having him reprise his role from "The Dark Knight Rises" in "Justice League," there was already paperwork in motion, deals being made, and chances are those deals include some windows where Gordon-Levitt is unavailable to other filmmakers. If it's a huge problem for Warner, then I doubt they're going to let him play Star Lord. But playing a role in the DC universe doesn't automatically mean he can't be a Marvel character as well.
Really it all boils down to what Gordon-Levitt wants to do. He seems like someone who is drawn to creative challenges, who picks roles because of the filmmakers he wants to work with or parts that push him in some way, and whatever he ends up doing, he's one of the most interesting guys in his age range, and it is little wonder he's on wish lists for pretty much every film in town.
We'll see how this one comes together, and probably sooner rather than later. Marvel's got to make their choices soon so they can get the film up and running for a 2014 release date, while "Justice League" is currently scheduled for a 2015 release.