Now that Marvel Studios has been wildly successful at turning some of their most popular comic book properties into hugely profitable feature film series, the publisher turned movie house is taking the next step in their development by trying to prop up one of their more off-the-beaten-path properties as the next big thing. Said property is a ragtag team of intergalactic superheroes known as the Guardians of the Galaxy. The team, which includes characters like Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, and Gamora, is going to be brought to the big screen by director James Gunn (Super) in a big budget feature that’s scheduled for an August 1, 2014 release.
Now, here’s where things get messy. Depending on who you’re willing to believe, the casting process to fill the role of the Guardians’ leader, Star-Lord, has either come down to a small handful of possible actors, or hasn’t, or who knows. The story going around was that five actors, Joel Edgerton, Jack Huston, Jim Sturgess, Lee Pace, and Eddie Redmayne, were all brought in to test for the role, of the five Jim Sturgess was the only one who made it through the trials still a contender, and in addition to Sturgess as a possibility, Marvel was also looking at another actor, Zachary Levi, for the role because they’re such big fans of what he’s doing with a smaller part in Thor 2: The Dark World.
Sounds pretty straightforward, right? It would, except for the fact that, after these reports came out, Gunn took to his Facebook page and made the claim that, “Almost everything in that Variety article on the Guardians of the Galaxy casting (and all the following articles based on it) was/is completely inaccurate. Just for the record.” To make matters even more confusing, he later took the message down, and when talking to IGN about all of the rumors, he clarified his position by saying, “I didn’t deny (or confirm) specifics. I just said the majority of the Variety article was inaccurate. So your headline is off.”
So what’s causing all of these rumors, denials, and then denial clarifications? Could it be that Gunn and Marvel really were down to two possibilities, but then something exciting happened last minute and their process got thrown into upheaval? Or that they had a longshot they were still pinning their hopes on, and they wanted to see how it played out before casting reports started circulating? A new report from Deadline hints that something like this might be the case. Apparently big-name and big-talent talent Joseph Gordon-Levitt is now in the running to play Peter Quill, the Lord of the Stars and the leader of the Guardians. The trade claims that they’re not sure if Gordon-Levitt has been officially offered the role yet, but that he’s definitely now in the running. With Gordon-Levitt available, does this suddenly make second-tier names like Jim Sturgess and Zachary Levi obsolete? Well, you know, probably—but time will tell.
Of course, Gordon-Levitt was recently seen backing up Batman in this summer’s The Dark Knight Rises, and has even been the subject of some rumors regarding who would be the new Batman in Warner Bros’ upcoming Justice League movie, so if the actor were to sign on to play Star-Lord here, it would not only make those rumors look completely off-base, it would also prove that he’s something of a comic book universe slut. We already saw the disastrous results of Ryan Reynolds trying to bridge the universe gap by playing both Deadpool and the Green Lantern… could Gordon-Levitt prove to be a powerful enough screen presence to make the jump with his talent and integrity intact? Despite already being a Gotham City cop, might he be the perfect choice for Star-Lord? Here’s where his experience playing an alien in 3rd Rock From the Sun could really come in handy.