The search of a lead in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy has been narrowed down to either Zachary Levi or Jim Sturgess.
Referenced at the end of last summer’s The Avengers, the space-faring movie is going to be directed by James Gunn and is among Marvel’s “Phase Two” projects, meaning everything set after the events of the aforementioned superhero ensemble.
Towards the end of The Avengers, after the original credits but before the surprise shwarma scene, there was a small appearance by Thanos, the villain for the Marvel franchise Guardians of the Galaxy. Therefore, it is safe to say that as obscure as the Guardians may be, they have been effectively shoehorned into the series.
Of course, as we saw with Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man, even a relatively obscure property can be made a household name with a convincing performance. Therefore, whether Guardians is a hit or a flop will depend largely on whether Sturgess or Levi can be the protagonist, Star-Lord.
Jim Sturgess has recently risen to fame with Cloud Atlas but doesn’t quite have any AAA hits in his career, so marketability will be a concern. And while that is also true for Zachary Levi, he is still the more interesting option.
As the star of NBC’s Chuck, Levi gained a cult following. And we can’t discredit Levi’s existing association with Marvel, where he plays Fandral in Thor: The Dark World. If given the chance, Levi is more than capable of stealing the show from Chris Hemsworth’s golden, wavy hair.
Amidst all this, though, the more interesting question is not who but why. As in, why is this movie being made before so many other wonderful properties?
In a world where Marvel is sitting on wonderful characters such as Black Panther and Cable, why is this the property that is being used to launch a second generation of Avengers lead-ins? It is a sad world indeed when Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk cannot find a home but a movie starring a raccoon named Rocket gets the green light.
Perhaps part of it is the fact that Marvel’s best properties (X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Spider-Man) are all locked away in other studios and Guardians was a last resort type of affair. Also, judging by the enthusiasm shown by Joss Whedon, Avengers head honcho and perpetual Marvel consultant for Phase Two, it may have been his influence that brought this to fruition. It is as if Whedon wasn’t content with making one unsuccessful space drama in Firefly and thus wanted to make another.
The movie already seems to have hit a sour note after the reemergence of a homophobic, misogynistic blog by current director James Gunn. Interestingly, Whedon’s enthusiasm was largely based on his belief in Gunn’s twisted vision for Guardians.
Either way, regardless of whether Guardians of the Galaxy will be pathetic or awesome, it just doesn’t make sense that Marvel is bringing this franchise to the table, especially when DC Comics is currently prepping up the Man of Steel, a hero that makes the entire superhero industry seem obscure by comparison.