When Marvel Studios announced that they were making a "Guardians of the Galaxy" movie, a property not many people were familiar with, it was always assumed that the sci-fi flick would be unlike anything the superhero house had done before. But when the director, James Gunn, told MTV News at San Diego Comic-Con that his favorite character in the movie was a talking raccoon, fans learned just how different it would be.
Since then, the rough footage that Gunn screened at Comic-Con has leaked online, and even the most skeptical could kind of see why Rocket Raccoon might steal the show when "Guardians of the Galaxy" hits theaters in August 2014. But as a computer animated character, Rocket still needs a voice actor to bring him to live, and the latest rumor indicates that an A-lister might find himself playing the gun-toting, expert strategist, who also happens to be a raccoon.
According to Latino Review, Marvel has offered "The Hangover" star Bradley Cooper the part of Rocket Raccoon in "Guardians of the Galaxy," but don't get too excited just yet. Even if the rumor is true, the article indicates that only an offer has been made with no word on whether Cooper would accept or not.
So Who Is This Guy?
While the story may seem like a silly one, it may ultimately play a big part on how well "Guardians of the Galaxy" is received. The film already boasts a star-studded cast that includes Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, John C. Reilly, and Benicio Del Toro, but Gunn appears to banking a lot on Rocket connecting with audiences.
At Comic-Con, he explained why the little guy is his clear favorite among the alien ensemble. "You say, 'Oh, there's a talking raccoon. How does that exist?' You really take it backwards from there and say, 'How would that exist?' It's not about creating Bugs Bunny in the middle of the Avengers," Gunn said. "This is about creating a character that's a little animal that was taken and experimented on and pulled apart and put back together again and implanted with cybernetics. He's half machine and half raccoon, and he's a little gnarled, miserable, pretty angry creature because there's nothing else like him. It's not easy to be."
The History of Rocket Raccoon
Rocket first appeared in the pages of Marvel comics all the way back in 1976, and he has gone through a number of redesigns and reimaginings since then.
Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen are credited with creating Rocket, whose name comes from the Beatles song "Rocky Raccoon." In his debut, Rocket was joined by another talking animal, Wal Rus, a talking walrus and the first mate of his ship. Over the course of their short story arc, we learned that both were products of cruel lab experiments meant to heighten the intelligence of animals to that of humans.
The version closest to the one we'll see in Gunn's movie premiered 2008 when Marvel brought back many of their '70s-era heroes like Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax and Groot, the rest of the Guardians. Rocket first meets his future best buddy Groot, the sentient tree that will also appear in the film, during the "Annihilation: Conquest" story event when the two were both held prisoner by the Kree and set free, along with Star-Lord, to stop future "Avengers" villain Ultron.
"Guardians of the Galaxy" opens in theaters on August 1, 2014.