When Marvel announced that they were initiating “Phase 2” of their shared-universe cinematic saga, there weren’t too many surprises. A Captain America sequel, a Thor sequel, an Avengers sequel — check, check, checkeroo! And then there was the wild-card project Guardians of the Galaxy, a spacefaring adventure based on a decidedly off-mainstream comic book series featuring a warrior tree and a gun-toting raccoon. Well, the Guardians of the Galaxy movie just got even more interesting: Director James Gunn just announced on his Facebook page that he will be directing the film. Gunn has a devoted cult following for his films, including the horror-comedy Slither and the superhero riff Super. But Guardians will be his largest undertaking yet — by comparison, Super had a budget of $2.5 million, which will presumably pay for about three minutes of Guardians screen time.
Here’s Gunn’s Facebook post, where he also mentions that he’ll be doing a rewrite on the Guardians script, presumably to add in more tentacles:
For a month or so there’s been a lot of Internet speculation about my involvement with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Until now I haven’t said anything, because I’m trying to be less expulsive about this project than I am about the rest of my life. But last night I got the go-ahead from Kevin Feige to let you all know that, yes, indeed, I am rewriting and directing Guardians of the Galaxy. As a lifelong lover of Marvel comics, space epics, AND raccoons, this is the movie I’ve been waiting to make since I was nine years old. Kevin, Joss, and all the folks at Marvel have been amazing collaborators so far, and we’re committed to bringing you something majestic, beautiful, and unique. I am incredibly excited. I am also incredibly grateful to the fans and the press for all their words of encouragement and support regarding my involvement with this project since the news first leaked. Thanks – you have, honestly, touched and overwhelmed me. And that’s it for now. Other than the occasional photos of my dog and cat here on Facebook, I’ll talk to you again in August 2014 when Guardians is released!
This is very exciting news, since the last time Marvel handed the reins of a mega-franchise over to a beloved cult auteur, the result was The Avengers. It’ll be interesting to see how Gunn’s eccentric vision and the intrinsic weirdness of the original Guardians comic book will mesh with the natural urge to set up the Guardians movie as a blockbuster franchise kickstarter. But here’s the good news: The odds that Michael Rooker will play Rocket Raccoon just increased exponentially.
Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich