Marvel’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY from Comic Book to Screen

The latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe heads into space with GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY opening August 1, 2014.  Marvel’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY finds space adventurer Peter Quill the object of a bounty hunt after stealing an orb coveted by a treacherous villain, but when Quill discovers the power it holds, he must find a way to rally the quartet of ragtag rivals hot on his trail to save the universe.  In the Marvel Studios release below, director and screenplay writer James Gunn discusses the origins of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, and producer Kevin Feige describes why this particular story needed to be brought to the screen.  For all of our coverage of Marvel’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY including images, trailers, and news, click here.


Adapted from Marvel Studios’ press materials

Created by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan, the Guardians of the Galaxy were introduced in 1969 as a team of heroes in the 31st century—each member the last of his kind.  The idea of creating a cinematic project from that concept had much going for it—not only a remarkable group of characters, operating within an amazing universe, but also an opportunity to explore another side of the Marvel Universe, contemporaneous with The Avengers, maintaining the scope, action and humor, as well as a sense of the high stakes at its core, which made that film such a success.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 1969 comic cover

There was strong interest at Marvel Studios to do a space epic and to expand their Cinematic Universe in a new direction, despite the risks involved.  Says Producer Kevin Feige:  “GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is the riskiest movie we’ve done since IRON MAN but in many ways that makes it the most exciting movie we’ve done since IRON MAN.  It means we can surprise people and exceed expectations.  I love the notion of being able to introduce some originality, although all of it is based on the great work that was done in the comics yet few people are aware of them.  I hope it feels like something very new and very fresh.”

PHOTO by: Marion Curtis/

PHOTO by: Marion Curtis/


Getting the tone right was of paramount importance to the filmmakers, who wanted a balanced mix of humor, emotion and action.  This desire informed their search for the right director for the material.  Explains Feige, “It is important to us that a filmmaker bring a vision and have a handle on the characters and be able to bring them to life in an unexpected and unique and three-dimensional way.  We wanted a director who could bring those elements and a slightly skewed sense to the film, and James Gunn has that voice and that vision.”

After meeting with Kevin Feige, director James Gunn was hooked.  “I could see the film in my head, how it would look, what the shooting style should be,” says Gunn.

Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy

Director James Gunn, photo by Jay Maidment ©Marvel 2014


Gunn was also excited at the prospect of introducing the characters into Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, and introducing a global audience to the Guardians.  Acknowledging the freedom he had since they were relatively unknown, Gunn remarks,  “I think GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY gave me more freedom simply because there aren’t as many rabid fans of Guardians as there are of say The Avengers, or as many Guardians comic books, and so I have been able to recreate the Guardians more for the screen without worrying that the audience will have a different expectation of the characters.”

While there have been several incarnations of the Guardians over the years, Marvel had planned from the early development stages to draw from the Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning run of the comic 2008 for the film.  Gunn embraced that direction and comments, “We’re using the characters that Abnett and Lanning used and their tone is both humorous and dark, an interesting mix, which I think we have in the film too.”

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 2008 comic cover

Marvel’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, which first appeared in comic books in Marvel Super-Heroes, Issue #18 (January 1969), stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, featuring Vin Diesel as Groot, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, with John C. Reilly, Glenn Close as Nova Prime Rael and Benicio Del Toro as The Collector.

James Gunn is the director of the film with Kevin Feige, p.g.a., producing.  Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Jeremy Latcham, Alan Fine and Stan Lee serve as executive producers. Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” is written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman and releases in U.S. theaters on August 1, 2014.

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About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.